, see Schweigh. ad App. Pun. 27
), a daughter of the Carthaginian general, Hasdrubal, the son of Gisco.
She had been betrothed by her father, at a very early age, to the Numidian prince Masinissa, but at a subsequent period Hasdrubal being desirous to gain over Syphax, the rival monarch of Numidia, to the Carthaginian alliance, offered him the hand of his daughter in marriage.
The beauty and accomplishments of Sophonisba prevailed over the influence of Scipio : Syphax married her (B. C. 206), and from that time became the zealous supporter and ally of Carthage. Sophonisba, on her part, was assiduous in her endeavours to secure his adherence to the cause of her countrymen, and it was almost entirely through her influence that Syphax was induced, even after the destruction of his camp by Scipio [SYPHAX], to assemble a new army, and to try his fortune once more.
But when his final defeat by Masinissa led to the capture of his capital city of Cirta, Sophonisba herself fell into the hands of the conqueror, upon whom, however, her beauty exercised so powerful an influence, that he not only promised to spare her from captivity, but, to prevent her falling into the power of the Romans, determined to marry her himself. Their nuptials were accordingly celebrated without delay, but Scipio (who was apprehensive lest she should exercise the same influence over Masinissa which she had previously done over Syphax) refused to ratify this arrangement, and upbraiding Masinissa with his weakness, insisted on the immediate surrender of the princess. Unable to resist this command, the Numidian king spared her the humiliation of captivity, by sending her a bowl of poison, which she drank without hesitation, and thus put an end to her own life. (Liv. 29.23
; Plb. 14.1
; Appian. Pun. 10, 27, 28 ;
Diod. xxvii. Exc. Vales. p. 571 ; Dio Cass. Fr. 61; Zonar. 9.11