), king of Numidia, was son of Hiempsal, who was re-established on the throne by Pompey. [HIEMPSAL, No. 2.] (D. C. 41.41
; Suet. Jul. 71
.) We hear little of him during his father's lifetime, but Cicero incidentally mentions him in one of his orations as early as B. C. 63 (De Leg. Agrar.
Or. 2.22), and in the following year we find him at Rome, whither he had probably been sent by his father, to support their cause against a Numidian named Masintha, on which occasion a violent altercation took place between him and Caesar, then praetor. (Suet. Jul. 71
.) On the death of Hiempsal, Juba succeeded to all the power and privileges enjoyed by his father, whose authority appears to have extended not only over all Numidia but over many of the Gaetulian tribes of the interior (Hirt. B. Afr.
56), a circumstance which probably gave rise to the absurd exaggeration of Lucan, who represents him (4.670) as ruling over the whole of Africa, from the pillars of Hercules to the temple of Ammon. On the breaking out of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, Juba espoused the cause of the latter, a course to which he was impelled both by his hereditary attachment to Pompey himself, confirmed probably by the dispute with Caesar already adverted to, and by personal enmity to Curio, who in the year of his tribuneship (B. C. 50) had proposed a law for reducing the kingdom of Juba to the condition of a Roman province, Hence, when Curio landed in Africa (B. C. 49) with an army of only two legions, the king was prompted by private revenge, as well as general policy, to hasten to the support of P. Attius Varus, the Pompeian general in Africa.
Before, however, Juba could arrive to his succour, Varus had suffered a considerable defeat, and with difficulty maintained his ground under the walls of Utica. On the first news of the king's approach, at the head of a numerous army, Curio retreated to a strong position on the sea-coast, called the Castra Cornelia, but in order to draw him away from thence, Juba caused a report to be spread that he himself had retired into the interior, and had only detached a small force under Saburra to the relief of Utica. Curio fell easily into the snare, attacked the advanced guard of the Numidians at the river Bagradas, and drove it before him; nor did he discover his mistake until his little army was entirely surrounded and overwhelmed by the countless swarms of the Numidian cavalry. Curio himself fell in the action, with almost all his infantry : a few cohorts of cavalry, which had made their escape to the camp near Utica, and surrendered to Varus at discretion, were put to the sword in cold blood by Juba, in spite of the opposition of the Roman general. (Caes. Civ. 2.23
; D. C. 41.41
; Appian, App. BC 2.44
; Lucan, 4.581
; Liv. Epit.
cx.; Oros. 6.15
; Flor. 4.2
.) For these services, Juba was rewarded by the senate of the Pompeian party with the title of king, and other honours; while Caesar and the senate at Rome proclaimed him a public enemy. (D. C. 41.42
; Lucan, 5.56
He continued in undisturbed possession of his kingdom until the beginning of the year B. C. 46, when Caesar in person landed in Africa, where Scipio, Cato, and the remaining leaders of the Pompeian party, were now assembled. Juba was advancing in person, at the head of a large army, to the support of Scipio, when he received intelligence that his own dominions had been invaded from another quarter by Bocchus, king of Mauritania, and the Roman general P. Sitius, who had obtained considerable successes, and even made themselves masters of the important city of Cirta. Hereupon he returned with his army, to oppose this new enemy, contenting himself with sending thirty elephants to the assistance of Scipio. Of his operations against Sitius we know nothing, but it was not long before the urgent request of the Roman commander recalled him to his support; and leaving his general Saburra to make head against Bocchus and Sitius, he himself joined Scipio in his camp near Uzita, with three legions of regular infantry, 800 wellarmed cavalry, and thirty elephants, besides a countless swarm of light-armed infantry and Numidian horse. Yet he did not, after all, render any very important services to the cause of his allies.
A combat of cavalry took place soon after his arrival, in which, notwithstanding their superior numbers, the Numidians were defeated, and Juba himself, as well as Labienus, narrowly escaped falling into the hands of the enemy. Meanwhile he gave the greatest offence to the Romans with whom he was associated, by his haughty and arrogant bearing towards their officers, and even towards Scipio himself. The Gaetulians also quitted his standard in great numbers, being attracted to Caesar by his relationship to Marius, whose name still exercised a powerful influence over them.
In the final action at Thapsus, the elephants, on which both Scipio and Juba in great measure relied, having been once put to flight, the Numidians offered but little resistance, and their camp fell into the hands of the enemy almost without a struggle. Juba himself fled from the field of battle to the strong city of Zama, where he had deposited his wives and children, as well as his treasures and military stores, and in which he had prepared all things for a desperate defence; but the inhabitants, having already received tidings of Caesar's victory, shut the gates against him.
He now wandered about for some time, until at length, having learnt that his lieutenant Saburra had been utterly defeated by P. Sitius, and that Cato had perished by his own hand at Utica, he abandoned all hopes of safety, and put an end to his own life, having previously, it is said, dispatched the Roman general Petreius, who had been the companion of his flight. (Hirt. B. Afr.
25, 48, 52, 55-57, 66, 74, 80-86, 91-94; D. C. 42.56
; Appian, App. BC 2.95
; Plut. Caes. 52
; Liv. Epit.
cxiii. cxiv.; Oros. 6.16
; Flor. 4.2
; Eutrop. 6.23
; Suet. Jul. 35
There is nothing in any of the accounts transmitted to us of Juba which would lead us to rank him above the ordinary level of barbarians; but it must be admitted that these accounts are derived from his enemies; had the party of Pompey triumphed, we should perhaps have been led to form a more favourable estimate of the Numidian king.
The coins of Juba are numerous; they all bear his head on the obverse, and are accommodated to the same standard of weight with the Roman denarius: one of them is figured on the preceding page.