Everything was speedily provided through such readiness as this, and a certain Belaeus furnished a ship for Marius. Belaeus afterwards had a painting made representing these scenes, and dedicated it in the temple at the spot where Marius embarked and put to sea. Favoured by the wind he was borne along by chance to the island of Aenaria, where he found Granius and the rest of his friends, and set sail with them for Africa.
But their supply of fresh water failed, and they were compelled to touch at Erycina in Sicily. In this neighbourhood, as it chanced, the Roman quaestor was on the watch, and almost captured Marius himself as he landed; he did kill about sixteen of his men who came ashore for water. Marius therefore put out to sea with all speed and crossed to the island of Meninx, where he first learned that his son had come off safely with Cethegus, and that they Were on their way to Iampsas the king of Numidia, intending to ask his aid.
At this news Marius was a little refreshed, and made bold to push on from the island to the neighbourhood of Carthage.
The Roman governor of Africa at this time was Sextilius, a man who had received neither good nor ill at he hands of Marius, but whom, as it was expected, pity alone would move to give him aid. Hardly, however, had Marius landed with a few companions, when an official met him, stood directly in front of him, and said:
‘Sextilius the governor forbids thee, Marius, to set foot in Africa; and if thou disobeyest, he declares that he will uphold the decrees of the senate and treat thee as an enemy of Rome.’
When he heard this, Marius was rendered speechless by grief and indignation, and for a long time kept quiet, looking sternly at the official. Then, when asked by him what he had to say, and what answer he would make to the governor, he answered with a deep groan:
‘Tell him, then, that thou hast seen Caius Marius a fugitive, seated amid the ruins of Carthage.’ And it was not inaptly that he compared the fate of that city with his own reversal of fortune.
Meanwhile Iampsas the king of Numidia, hesitating which course to take, did indeed treat the younger Marius and his party with respect, but always had some excuse for detaining them when they wished to go away, and clearly had no good end in view in thus postponing their departure. However, something occurred which, though not at all extraordinary, led to their escape. The younger Marius, that is, being a handsome fellow, one of the concubines of the king was pained to see him treated unworthily, and this feeling of compassion ripened into love.
At first, then, Marius repelled the woman's advances; but when he saw that there was no other way of escape for him and his friends, and that her behaviour was based on a genuine affection, he accepted her favours; whereupon she helped him in getting off, and he ran away with his friends and made his escape to his father. After father and son had embraced one another, they walked along the sea-shore, and there they saw some scorpions fighting, which the elder Marius regarded as a bad omen.
At once, therefore, they boarded a fishing-boat and crossed over to the island of Cercina, which was not far distant from the mainland; and scarcely had they put out from land when horsemen sent by the king were seen riding towards the spot whence they had sailed. It would seem that Marius never escaped a greater peril than this.