Learning of these things from many quarters, the Romans summoned Marius to the command. And he was appointed consul for the second time, 1
although the law forbade that a man in his absence and before the lapse of a specified time should be elected again; still, the people would not listen to those who opposed the election. For they considered that this would not be the first time that the law had given way before the demands of the general good, and that the present occasion demanded it no less imperatively than when they had made Scipio consul contrary to the laws, 2
although at that time they were not fearful of losing their own city, but desirous of destroying that of the Carthaginians.
This course was adopted, Marius came across the sea from Africa with his army, and on the very Calends of January, which with the Romans is the first day of the year, assumed the consulship and celebrated his triumph, exhibiting to the Romans Jugurtha in chains. This was a sight which they had despaired of beholding, nor could any one have expected, while Jugurtha was alive, to conquer the enemy; so versatile was he in adapting himself to the turns of fortune, and so great craft did he combine with his courage.
But we are told that when he had been led in triumph he lost his reason; and that when, after the triumph, he was cast into prison, where some tore his tunic from his body, and others were so eager to snatch away his golden earring that they tore off with it the lobe of his ear, and when he had been thrust down naked into the dungeon pit, in utter bewilderment and with a grin on his lips he said:
‘Hercules! How cold this Roman bath is!’
But the wretch, after struggling with hunger for six days and up to the last moment clinging to the desire of life, paid the penalty which his crimes deserved.
In the triumphal procession there were carried, we are told, three thousand and seven pounds of gold, of uncoined silver five thousand seven hundred and seventy-five, and in coined money two hundred and eighty-seven thousand drachmas.
After the procession was over, Marius called the senate into session on the Capitol, and made his entry, either through inadvertence or with a vulgar display of his good fortune, in his triumphal robes; but perceiving quickly that the senators were offended at this, he rose and went out, changed to the usual robe with purple border, and then came back.