1. P. Sittius
, of Nuceria in Campania, was one of the adventurers, bankrupt in character and fortune, but possessing considerable ability, who abounded in Rome during the latter years of the republic.
He was connected with Catiline, and went to Spain in B. C. 64, from which country he crossed over into Mauritania in the following year.
It was said that P. Sulla had sent him into Spain to excite an insurrection against the Roman government; and Cicero accordingly, when he defended Sulla, in B. C. 62, was obliged also to undertake the defence of his friend Sittius, and to deny the truth of the charges that had been brought against him.
The orator represented Sittius as his own friend, and pointed out how his father had remained true to the Romans during the Marsic war. (Cic. pro Sull.
20.) Sittius, however, did not return to Rome. His property in Italy was sold to pay his debts, and he continued in Africa, where he fought with great success in the wars of the kings of the country, selling his services first to one prince and then to another.
The reputation he had acquired gradually attracted troops to his standard; and at the time that Caesar landed in Africa, in B. C. 46, he was at the head of a considerable force both by land and by sea. Although Sittius had not previously had any connection with Caesar, he resolved to espouse his cause, foreseeing that Caesar would be victorious in Africa as elsewhere, and that he himself would be liberally rewarded for his services. Sittius came to the assistance of Caesar at the time when his aid was most needed, for he had landed in Africa with only a small number of his troops, and ran the risk of being overwhelmed by the superior number of the enemy. Joined by Bocchus, king of Mauritania, Sittius invaded Numidia, took Cirta, the capital of the kingdom, and laid waste the Gaetulian dominions of Juba.
The latter monarch, who was advancing with a large army to assist Scipio against Caesar, forthwith returned to the defence of his own dominions, contenting himself with sending thirty elephants to the support of Scipio.
This retreat of Juba saved Caesar from destruction, as the latter had no forces sufficient to resist the united armies of Scipio and Juba. Of the operations of Juba against Sittius and Bocchus, we know nothing; but the Numidian king soon after-wards joined Scipio, at the earnest request of the latter, leaving his general Saburra to oppose Sittius and Bocchus. While Caesar defeated Scipio and Juba in the decisive battle of Thapsus, Sittius was equally successful against Saburra, whom he defeated and slew. Shortly afterwards L. Afranius and Faustus Sulla, who had fled from Utica with 1500 cavalry into Mauritania, with the intention of crossing over into Spain, were intercepted by Sittius, who was marching with a small body of troops to join Caesar, were taken prisoners, and sent to Caesar. About the same time the fleet of Sittius, which was stationed at Hippo Regius, captured the ships in which Scipio and other fugitives were endeavouring to quit the country. On leaving Africa, Caesar rewarded the services of Sittius and Bocchus by granting to them the western part of Numidia, which had been previously under the sway of Masinissa, a friend and ally of Juba. Sittius settled down in the portion which had been assigned to him, and distributed the land among his soldiers.
After the death of Caesar, Arabio, the son of Masinissa, who had fought in Spain under the sons of Pompey. returned to Africa, drove Bocchus out of his hereditary dominions, and killed Sittius by stratagem. (Cic. pro Sull.
20 ; Sal. Cat. 21
; Hirt. B. Afr.
25, 30, 36, 93, 95, 96 ; D. C. 43.3
; Appian, App. BC 4.54
; Cic. Att. 15.17
, " Arabioni de Sitio nihil irascor.")