These horsemen, having engaged in battle with the Carthaginian cavalry, slew a few in the actual engagement, many more as they pursued them in flight, among the number Hanno1
also, the commander, a young man of rank.
Scipio not only laid waste the farms all around but also captured the nearest city of the Africans, quite a prosperous place.
There, in addition to the other spoils which had been at once loaded on transports and sent to Sicily, eight thousand free persons and slaves were taken captive.
What brought the greatest joy, however, to the Romans at the beginning of the campaign was the [p. 321]
arrival of Masinissa.
Some authorities relate that2
he came with no more than two hundred horsemen, the majority say with two thousand cavalry.
But since he was far the greatest of all the kings of his time and gave the greatest aid to the Roman state, it seems worth while to digress a little to tell how checkered was the fortune he met with in losing and recovering his father's kingdom.3
While he was serving on the side of the Carthaginians in Spain his father died; Gala was his name. The kingdom came to the king's brother, Oezalces, a very aged man, such being the custom among the Numidians.
Not long after, upon the death of Oezalces also, the elder of his two sons, Capussa, succeeded to his father's throne, the other son being a mere boy.
But inasmuch as he held the kingship more by customary law of his people than by prestige among his countrymen or by his might, a man came forward named Mazaetullus, not unconnected by blood with the royal house and member of a family that had always been hostile and had contested the throne with different results against the house which was then in possession.
After rousing his countrymen, among whom he had great influence because of the unpopularity of the royal family, and openly pitching his camp, he compelled the king to go out into battle-line and fight for his kingdom.
In that battle Capussa fell with many of the leading men. The entire tribe of the Maesulii submitted to the sway and authority of Mazaetullus.
Nevertheless he refrained from using the kingly title and, contented with the modest style of guardian, he gave the royal title to the boy Lacumazes, who also belonged to the royal line.
He married a noble Carthaginian lady, [p. 323]
daughter of Hannibal's sister and lately wedded to4
He did so in the hope of an alliance with the Carthaginians, and with Syphax he renewed a guest-friendship of long standing, sending envoys for the purpose. All these advantages he was preparing against Masinissa.