Metellus, meanwhile, having taken his departure for Rome, was received there, contrary to his expectation, with the greatest feelings of joy, being equally welcomed, since public prejudice had subsided, by both the people and the patricians.
Marius continued to attend, with equal activity and prudence, to his own affairs and those of the enemy. He observed what would be advantageous, or the contrary, to either party; he watched the movements of the kings, counteracted their intentions and stratagems, and allowed no remissness in his own army, and no security in that of the enemy. He accordingly attacked and dispersed, on several occasions, the Getulians and Jugurtha on their march, as they were carrying off spoil from our allies ;1
and he obliged the king himself, near the town of Cirta, to take flight without his arms.2
But finding that such enterprises merely gained him honor, without tending to terminate the war, he resolved on investing, one after another, all the cities, which, by the strength of their garrisons or situation, were best suited either to support the enemy, or to resist himself; so that Jugurtha would either be deprived of his fortresses, if he suffered them to be taken, or be forced to come to an engagement in their defense. As to Bocchus, he had frequently sent messengers to Marius, saying that he desired the friendship of the Roman people, and that the consul need fear no act of hostility from him. But whether he merely dissembled, with a view to attack us unexpectedly with greater effect, or whether, from fickleness of disposition he habitually wavered between war and peace, was never fairly ascertained.