1. A king of Mauretania, who acted a prominent part in the war of the Romans against Jugurtha.
He was a barbarian without any principles, assuming alternately the appearance of a friend of Jugurtha and of the Romans, as his momentary inclination or avarice dictated; but he ended his prevarication by betraying Jugurtha to the Romans. In B. C. 108, Jugurtha, who was then hard pressed by the proconsul Q. Metellus, applied for assistance to Bocchus, whose daughter was his wife. Bocchus complied the more readily with this request, since at the beginning of the war he had made offers of alliance and friendship to the Romans, which had been rejected.
But when Q. Metellus also sent an embassy to him at the same time, Bocchus entered into negotiations with him likewise, and in consequence of this the war against Jugurtha was almost suspended so long as Q. Metellus had the command. When in B. C. 107, C. Marius came to Africa as the successor of Metellus, Bocchus sent several embassies to him, expressing his desire to enter into friendly relations with Rome; but when at the same time Jugurtha promised Bocchus the third part of Numidia, and C. Marius ravaged the portion of Bocchus's dominion which he had formerly taken from Jugurtha, Bocchus accepted the proposal of Jugurtha, and joined him with a large force.
The two kings thus united made an attack upon the Romans, but were defeated in two successive engagements. Hereupon, Bocchus again sent an embassy to Marius, requesting him to despatch two of his most trustworthy officers to him, that he might negotiate with them. Marius accordingly sent his quaestor, Sulla, and A. Manlius, who succeded in effecting a decided change in the king's mind. Soon after, Bocchus despatched ambassadors to Rome, but they fell into the hands of the Gaetuli, and having made their escape into the camp of Sulla, who received them very hospitably, they proceeded to Rome, where hopes of an ailiance and the friendship of the Roman people were held out to them. When Bocchus was informed of this, he requested an interview with Sulla.
This being granted, Sulla tried to persuade Bocchus to deliver up Jugurtha into the hands of the Romans.
At the same time, however, Jugurtha also endeavoured to induce him to betray Sulla, and these clashing proposals made Bocchus hesitate for a while; but he at last determined to comply with the wish of Sulla. Jugurtha was accordingly invited to negotiate for peace, and when he arrived, was treacherously taken prisoner, and delivered up to Sulla, B. C. 106.
According to some accounts, Jugurtha had come as a fugitive to Bocchus, and was then handed over to the Romans. Bocchus was rewarded for his treachery by an alliance with Rome, and he was even allowed to dedicate in the Capitol statues of Victory and golden images of Jugurtha representing him in the act of being delivered up to Sulla. (Sal. Jug. 19
-- 120; Appian, Numid.
3, 4; Liv. Epit. 66
; Dio Cass. Fragm. Reimar.
n. 168, 169; Eutrop. 4.27
; Florus, 3.1
; Oros. 5.15
; Vell. 2.12
; Plut. Mar. 10