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The republic, at this time was grievously distracted by the contentions of the tribunes. Two of them, Publius Lucullus and Lucius Annius, were struggling against the will of their colleagues, to prolong their term of office; and this dispute put off the comitia throughout the year.1 In consequence of this delay, Aulus, who, as I have just said, was left as proprætor in the camp, conceiving hopes either of finishing the war, or of extorting money from Jugurtha by the terror of his army, drew out his troops in the month of January, from their winter-quarters into the field, and by forced marches, during severe weather, made his way to the town of Suthul, where Jugurtha's treasures were deposited. And though this place, both from the inclemency of the season, and from its advantageous situation, could neither be taken nor besieged; for around its walls, which were built on the edge of a steep hill,2 a marshy plain, flooded by the rains of winter, had been converted into a lake; yet Aulus, either as a feint to strike terror into Jugurtha, or blinded by avarice, began to move forward his vineæ,3 to cast up a rampart, and to hasten all necessary preparations for a siege.

1 XXXVII. Throughout the year] “Totius anni.” That is, all that remained of the year.

2 On the edge of a steep hill] “In prærupti montis extremo.” "In extremo a scholiast rightly interprets in margine, Gerlach. Cortius, whom Langius follows, considers that in extremo means at the bottom; a notion which Kritzius justly condemns; for, as Gerlach asks, what would that have to do with the strength of the place ? Müller would have us believe that in extremo means at the top; but if Sallust had meant to say that the city was at the top, he would hardly have chosen the word extremus for the purpose. Doubtless, as Gerlach observes, the city was on the top of the hill, which was broad enough to hold it; but the words in extremo signify that the walls were even with the side of the hill. Of the site of the town of Suthul no traces are now to be found.

3 Vineæ] Defenses made of hurdles or other wood, and often covered with raw hides, to defend the soldies who worked the battering-ram. Tho word that comes nearest to vineœ in our language is mantelets. Before this word, in many editions, occurs the phrase ob thesauros oppidi potiundi, which Cortius, whom I follow, omits.

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