), king of Numidia, was the eldest of the sons of Masinissa who survived their father.
He is first mentioned in B. C. 150, as being sent by Masinissa, together with his brother Gulussa, ambassador to Carthage, to demand the restoration of the partisans of Masinissa who had been driven into exile: but the Carthaginians shut the gates of the city against them, and refused to listen to their proposals. (Appian, App. Pun. 70
After the death of Masinissa (B. C. 148), the sovereign power was divided by Scipio between Micipsa and his two brothers, Gulussa and Mastanabal, in such a manner that the possession of Cirta, the capital of Numidia, and the treasures accumulated there, together with the financial administration of the kingdom, fell to the share of Micipsa. (Id. ibid.
106; Liv. Epit. 1
.; Zonar. ix, 27.)
It was not long, however, before the death of both his brothers left him in possession of the undivided sovereignty of Numidia, which he held from that time without interruption till his death.
But few events of his long reign have been transmitted to us.
He appears indeed to have been of a peaceful disposition; and atter the fall of Carthage, he had no neighbours who could excite his jealousy.
With the Romans he took care to cultivate a good understanding; and we find him sending an auxiliary force to assist them in Spain against Viriathus (B. C. 142); and again in the more arduous war against Numantia. (Appian, App. Hisp. 67
; Sal. Jug. 7
.) On the latter occasion his auxiliaries were commanded by his nephew, Jugurtha, whom he had brought up with his own sons, and whom he was even induced to adopt; but the intrigues and ambition of the young man threw a cloud over the declining years of Micipsa, and filled him with apprehensions for the future. Jugurtha, however, was prudent enough to repress his ambitious projects during the lifetime of Micipsa: and the latter died at an advanced age in B. C. 118, having, on his death-bed, urged on his two sons, Adherbal and Hiempsal, and their adopted brother, the necessity of that harmony and concord which he but too well foresaw there was little chance of their preserving. (Sal. Jug. 5
; Liv. Epit.
lxii.; Oros. 5.15
; Florus, 3.2
Towards the close of the reign of Micipsa, Numidia was visited by a dreadful pestilence. which broke out in B. C. 125, and is said to have carried off not less than 800,000 persons. (Oros. 5.11
But notwithstanding this great calamity, that kingdom appears to have risen to a very flourishing condition under the mild and equitable rule of Micipsa. Diodorus calls him the most virtuous of all the kings of Africa, and tells us that he sought to attract Greek men of letters and philosophers to his court, and spent the latter part of his life chiefly in the study of philosophy. (Diod. xxxv. Exc. Vales.
p. 607.) We learn also that he bestowed especial care upon the improvement of his capital city of Cirta, which rose to a high pitch of power and prosperity.
He not only adorned it with many public edifices, but established there a number of Greek colonists. (Strab. xvii. p.832
According to Diodorus (l. c
), Micipsa left a son of his own name, but he is not mentioned by any other author.