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Masinissa

Μασσανάσσης). A king of the Numidians, son of Gala, king of the Massylians, the easternmost of the two great tribes into which the Numidians were at that time divided. In the Second Punic War he at first fought on the side of the Carthaginians in Spain (B.C. 212), but afterwards deserted their cause and joined the Romans. On his return to Africa he was attacked by the Carthaginians and his neighbour Syphax, and with difficulty maintained his ground till the arrival of Scipio in Africa (B.C. 204). He rendered important service to Scipio, and reduced Cirta, the capital of Syphax. Among the captives that fell into his hands on this occasion was Sophonisba, the wife of Syphax, who had been formerly promised in marriage to Masinissa himself. The story of his hasty marriage with her, and its tragical termination, is related elsewhere. (See Sophonisba). In the decisive battle of Zama (B.C. 202) Masinissa commanded the cavalry of the right wing. On the conclusion of the peace between Rome and Carthage he was rewarded with the greater part of the territories which had belonged to Syphax, in addition to his hereditary dominions. For the next fifty years Masinissa reigned in peace. He died in the second year of the Third Punic War, B.C. 148, at the advanced age of 90, having retained in an extraordinary degree his bodily strength and activity to the last. He left three sons—Micipsa, Mastanabal, and Gulussa—among whom Scipio Africanus the Younger divided the kingdom.

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