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There lay, not far from the route which Metellus was pursuing, a city of the Numidians named Vaga, the most celebrated place for trade in the whole kingdom, in which many Italian merchants were accustomed to reside and traffic. Here the consul, to try the disposition of the inhabitants, and, should they allow him, to take advantage of the situation of the place,1 established a garrison, and ordered the people to furnish him with corn, and other necessaries for war; thinking, as circumstances indeed suggested, that the concourse of merchants, and frequent arrival of supplies,2 would add strength to his army, and further the plans which he had already formed.

In the midst of these proceedings, Jugurtha, with extraordinary earnestness,3 sent deputies to sue for peace, offering to resign every thing to Metellus, except his own life and that of his children. These, like the former, the consul first seduced to treachery, and then sent back; the peace which Jugurtha asked, he neither granted nor refused, but waited, during these delays, the performance of the deputies' promises.

1 XLVII. Here the consul, to try the disposition of the inhabitants, and, should they allow him, to take advantage of the situation of the place, etc.] “Huc consul, simul tentandi gratiâ, et si paterentur, opportuniatis loci, prœsidium imponit.” This is a locus vexatissimus, about which no editor has satisfied himself. I have deserted Cortius and followed Dietsch, who seems to have settled the passage, on the basis of Havercamp's text, with more judgment than any other commentator. Cortius read, Huc consul simul tentandi gratiâ, si paterent opportunitates loci, etc., taking opportuniatates in the sense of munitiones, "defenses;" but would Sallust have said that Metellus put a garrison in the place, to try if its defenses would be open to him? Havercamp's reading is, simul tentandi gratiâ, et si paterentur opportunitates loci, etc. Palmerius conjectured simul tentandi gratiâ, si paterentur ; et opportunitate loci, which Gerlach and Kritsius adopt, except that they change the place of the et, and put it before si. Allen thinks that he has amended the passage by reading Huc consul, simul si paterentur tentandi, et opportunitatis loci, gratiâ; but this conjecture is liable to similar objection with that of Cortius. Other varieties of reading it is needless to notice. But it is observable that four manuscripts, as Kritzius remarks, have propter opportunitates, which led me long ago to suppose that the true reading must be simul tentandi gratiâ, simul propter opportunitates loci. Simul proper might easily have been corrupted into si paterentur.

2 Frequent arrival of supplies] “Commeatum.” “"Frumenti et omnium rerum quarum in bello usus est, largam copiam."” Kritzius. I follow the text of Cortius (retaining the words juvaturum exercitum) which Kritzius sufficiently justifies. There is a variety of readings, but all much the same in sense,

3 Extraordinary earnestness] “Impensius modo.” Cortins and Kritzius interpret this modo as the ablative case of modus; i.e. quàm modus erat, or supra modum; but Dietsch and Burnouf question the propriety of this interpretation, and consider the modo to be the same as that in tantummodo, dummodo, etc. The same expression occurs again in c. 75.

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