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Jugurtha, seeing the proprætor's vanity and ignorance, artfully strengthened his infatuation; he sent him, from time to time, deputies with submissive messages, while he himself, as if desirous to escape, led his army away through woody defiles and cross-roads. At length he succeeded in alluring Aulus, by the prospect of a surrender on conditions, to leave Suthul, and pursue him, as if in full retreat, into the remoter parts of the country. Meanwhile, by means of skillful emissaries, he tampered night and day with our men, and prevailed on some of the officers, both of infantry and cavalry, to desert to him at once, and upon others to quit their posts at a given signal, that their defection might thus be less observed.1 Having prepared matters according to his wishes, he suddenly surrounded the camp of Aulus, in the dead of night, with a vast body of Numidians. The Roman soldiers were alarmed with an unusual disturbance; some of them seized their arms, others hid themselves, others encouraged those that were afraid; but consternation prevailed every where ; for the number of the enemy was great, the sky was thick with clouds and darkness, the danger was indiscernible, and it was uncertain whether it were safer to flee or to remain. Of those whom I have just mentioned as being bribed, one cohort of Ligurians, with two troops of Thracian horse, and a few common soldiers, went over to Jugurtha; and the chief centurion2 of the third legion allowed the enemy an entrance at the very post which he had been appointed to defend, and at which all the Numidians poured into the camp. Our men fled disgracefully, the greater part having thrown away their arms, and took possession of a neighboring hill. Night, and the spoils of the camp, prevented the enemy from making full use of this victory. On the following day, Jugurtha, coming to a conference with Aulus, told him, " that though he held him hemmed in by famine and the sword, yet that, being mindful of human vicissitudes, he would, if they would make a treaty with him, allow them to depart uninjured; only that they must pass under the yoke, and quit Numidia within ten days." These terms were severe and ignominious; but, as death was the alternative,3 peace was concluded as Jugurtha desired.

1 XXXVIII. That their defection might thus be less observed] “Ita delicta occultiora fore.” Cortius transferred these words to this place from the end of the preceding sentence; Kritzius and Dietsch have restored them to their former place. Gerlach thinks them an intruded gloss.

2 The chief centurion] “Centurio primi pili.” There were sixty centurions in a Roman legion; the one here meant was the first, or oldest, centurior of the Triarii, or Pilani.

3 As death was the alternative] “Quia mortis metu mutabant.” Neither manuscripts nor critics are agreed about this passage. Cortius, from a suggestion of Palmerius, adopted mutabant; most other editors have mutabantur; but both are to be taken in the same sense; for mutabant is equivalent to mutabant se. Cortius's interpretation appears the most eligible: "Permutabantur cum metuendâ morte," i.e. there were those conditions on one side, and death on the other, and if they did not accept the conditions, they must die. Kritzius fancifully and strangely interprets, propter mortis metum se mutabant, i.e., alia videbantur atque erant, or the acceptance of the terms appeared excusable to the soldiers, because they were threatened with death if they did not accept them. It is worth while to notice the variety of readings exhibited in the manuscripts collated by Cortius: ten exhibit mutabantur; three, minitabantur; three, multabantur; three, tenebantur; one, tenebatur; one, cogebantur; one, cogebatur; one, angustiabantur; one, urgebantur; and one, mortis metuebant pericula. There is also, he adds, in some copies, nutabant, which the Bipont editors and Müller absurdly adopted.

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