Metellus remained four days in the same camp. He carefully provided for the recovery of the wounded, rewarded, in military fashion, such as had distinguished themselves in the engagements, and praised and thanked them all in a public address; exhorting them to maintain equal resolution in their future labors, which would be less arduous, as they had fought sufficiently for victory, and would now have to contend only for spoil. In the mean time he dispatched deserters, and other eligible persons, to ascertain where Jugurtha was, or what he was doing; whether he had but few followers, or a large army; and how he conducted himself under his defeat. The prince, he found, had retreated to places full of wood, well defended by nature, and was there collecting an army, which would be more numerous indeed than the former, but inactive and inefficient, as being composed of men better acquainted with husbandry and cattle than with war. This had happened from the circumstance, that, in case of flight, none of the Numidian troops, except the royal cavalry, follow their king; the rest disperse, wherever inclination leads them; nor is this thought any disgrace to them as soldiers, such being the custom of the people.
Metellus, therefore, seeing that Jugurtha's spirit was still unsubdued; that a war was being renewed, which could only be conducted1
according to the prince's pleasure; and that he was struggling with the enemy on unequal terms, as the Numidians suffered a defeat with less loss than his own men gained a victory, he resolved to manage the contest, not by pitched battles or regular warfare, but in another method. He accordingly marched into the richest parts of Numidia, captured and burned many fortresses and towns, which were insufficiently or wholly undefended, put the youth to the sword, and gave up every thing else as plunder to his soldiers. From the terror caused by these proceedings, many persons were given up as hostages to the Romans; corn, and other necessaries, were supplied in abundance; and garrisons were admitted wherever Metellus thought fit.
These measures alarmed Jugurtha much more than the loss of the late battle; for he, whose whole security lay in flight, was compelled to pursue; and he who could not defend his own part of the kingdom, was obliged to make war in that which was occupied by others. Under these circumstances, however,2
he adopted what seemed the most eligible plan. He ordered the main body of his army to continue stationary; while he himself, with a select troop of cavalry, went in pursuit of Metellus, and coming upon him unperceived, by means of night marches and by-roads, he fell upon such of the Roman as were straggling about, of whom the greater number, being unarmed, were slain, and several others made prisoners; not one of them, indeed, escaped unharmed; and the Numidians, before assistance could arrive from the camp, fled, as they had been ordered, to the nearest hills.