When he had crossed to Africa, Metellus, now become a victim of jealousy, and vexed because, after he had brought the war to an end and had nothing further to do except to seize the person of Jugurtha, Marius was coming to enjoy the crown and the triumph,—a man whose ingratitude towards his benefactor had raised him to power,—would not consent to meet him, but privately left the country while Rutilius, who had become his legate, handed over the army to Marius.
And in the end a retribution fell upon Marius; for Sulla robbed him of the glory of his success, as Marius had robbed Metellus. How this came to pass, I will narrate briefly, since the details are given more at length in my Life of Sulla. 1
Bocchus, the king of the Barbarians in the interior, was a son-in-law of Jugurtha, and apparently gave him little or no assistance in his war, alleging his faithlessness as an excuse, and fearing the growth of his power.
But when Jugurtha in his flight and wandering felt compelled to make him his last hope and sought haven with him, Bocchus received him, more out of regard for his position as a suppliant than from goodwill, and kept him in his hands. So far as his open acts were concerned, Bocchus entreated Marius in behalf of his father-in-law, writing that he would not give him up and assuming a bold tone; but secretly he planned to betray him, and sent for Lucius Sulla, who was quaestor for Marius and had been of some service to Bocchus during the campaign.
But when Sulla had come to him in all confidence, the Barbarian experienced a change of heart and felt repentant, and for many days wavered in his plans, deliberating whether to surrender Jugurtha or to hold Sulla also a prisoner. Finally however, he decided upon his first plan of treachery, and put Jugurtha alive into the hands of Sulla.
This was the first seed of that bitter and incurable hatred between Marius and Sulla, which nearly brought Rome to ruin. For many wished Sulla to have the glory of the affair because they hated Marius, and Sulla himself had a seal-ring made, which he used to wear, on which was engraved the surrender of Jugurtha to him by Bocchus.
By constantly using this ring Sulla provoked Marius, who was an ambitious man, loath to share his glory with another, and quarrelsome. And the enemies of Marius gave Sulla most encouragement, by attributing the first and greatest successes of the war to Metellus, but the last, and the termination of it, to Sulla, that so the people might cease admiring Marius and giving him their chief allegiance.