This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Meantime Laelius and Masinissa, after a fifteen days' march, entered Numidia, and the Maesulians, delighted to see their king whose absence they had so long regretted, placed him once more on his ancestral throne. All the garrisons with which Syphax had held the country were expelled and he was confined within the limits of his former dominions.  He had no intention, however, of remaining quiet;  he was goaded on by his wife, whom he passionately loved, and by her father, and he had such an abundance of men and horses that the mere sight of the resources afforded by a realm which had enjoyed many years of prosperity would have stimulated the ambition of even a less barbarous and impulsive nature than Syphax possessed.  He assembled all who were fit for war, and after distributing horses, armour and weapons amongst them he formed the mounted men into squadrons and the infantry into cohorts, a plan which he had learnt in the old days from the centurions.  With this army, quite as numerous as the one he had had before but consisting almost entirely of raw and untrained levies, he marched off to meet his enemies, and fixed his camp in their vicinity.  At first he sent small bodies of cavalry from the outposts to make a cautious reconnaissance; compelled to retire by showers of darts they galloped back to their comrades. Sorties were made on both sides alternately, and indignant at being repulsed, larger bodies came up.  This acts as an incentive in cavalry skirmishes when the winning side find their comrades flocking to them in hopes of victory and rage at the prospect of defeat brings supports to those who are losing.  So it was then, the fighting had been begun by a few, but the love of battle at last brought the whole of the cavalry on both sides into the field. As long as the cavalry only were engaged the Romans had great difficulty in withstanding the immense numbers of Maesulians whom Syphax was sending forward.  Suddenly, however, the Roman light infantry ran out between the cavalry who made way for them, and this gave steadiness to the line and checked the rush of the enemy.  The latter slackened speed and then came to a halt, and were soon thrown into confusion by this unaccustomed mode of fighting. At last they gave ground not only before the infantry but before the cavalry also, to whom the support of their infantry had given fresh courage.  By this time the legions were coming up, but the Maesulians did not wait for their attack, the mere sight of the standards and arms was enough, such was the effect either of the recollection of their past defeats or of the fear which the enemy now inspired.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.