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During this period, Jugurtha, as he was bereft of his friends (of whom he had put to death the greater number, while the rest, under the influence of terror, had fled partly to the Romans, and partly to Bocchus), as the war, too, could not be carried on without officers, and as he thought it dangerous to try the faith of new ones after such perfidy among the old, was involved in doubt and perplexity; no scheme, no counsel, no person could satisfy him; he changed his route and his captains daily; he hurried sometimes against the enemy, and some-times toward the deserts; depended at one time on flight, and at another on resistance; and was unable to decide whether he could less trust the courage or the fidelity of his subjects. Thus, in whatever direction he turned his thoughts, the prospect was equally disheartening.

In the midst of his irresolution, Metellus suddenly made his appearance with his army. The Numidians were assembled and drawn up by Jugurtha, as well as time permitted; and a battle was at once commenced. Where the king commanded in person, the struggle was maintained for some time; but the rest of his force was routed and put to flight at the first onset. The Romans took a considerable number of standards and arms, but not many prisoners; for, in almost every battle, their feet afforded more security to the Numidians than their swords.

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