Metellus, when he heard of the confederacy of the kings, did not rashly, or in every place, give opportunities of fighting, as he had been used to do since Jugurtha had been so
often defeated, but, fortifying his camp, awaited the approach of the kings at no great distance from Cirta; thinking it better, when he should have learned something of the Moors,1
as they were new enemies in the field, to give battle on an advantage.
In the mean time he was informed, by letters from Rome, that the province of Numidia was assigned to Marius, of whose election to the consulship he had already heard.
Being affected at these occurrences beyond what was proper and decorous, he could neither restrain his tears nor govern his tongue; for though he was a man eminent in other respects, he had too little firmness in bearing trouble of mind. His irritation was by some imputed to pride; others said that a noble spirit was wounded by insult; many thought him chagrined because victory, just attained, was snatched from his grasp. But to me it is well known that he was more troubled at the honor bestowed on Marius than at the injustice done to himself; and that he would have shown much less uneasiness if the province of which he was deprived had been given to any other than Marius.