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Syphax was riding up to the hostile squadrons in the hope that either a sense of honour or his own personal danger might check the flight of his men, when his horse was severely wounded and he was thrown, overpowered and made prisoner, and carried off to Laelius.   Masinissa was especially delighted to see him as a captive. Cirta was Syphax's capital, and a considerable number escaped to that city.  The losses sustained were insignificant compared with the importance of the victory, for the fighting had been confined to the cavalry.  There were not more than 5000 killed, and in the storming of the camp, whither the mass of troops had fled after losing their king, less than half that number were made prisoners.  Masinissa told Laelius that nothing would delight him more for the moment than to visit as conqueror his ancestral dominions which had after so many years been recovered, but prompt action was as necessary in success as in defeat.  He suggested that he should be allowed to go on with the cavalry and the vanquished Syphax to Cirta, which he would be able to surprise amidst the general confusion and alarm; Laelius might follow with the infantry by easy stages.  Laelius gave his consent and Masinissa advanced to Cirta and ordered the leading citizens to be invited to a conference. They were ignorant of what had happened to the king, and though Masinissa told them all that had occurred he found threats and persuasion equally unavailing until the king was brought before them in chains.  At this painful and humiliating spectacle there was an outburst of grief, the defences were abandoned, and there was a unanimous resolve to seek the victor's favour by opening the gates to him.  After placing guards round all the gates and at suitable places in the fortifications he galloped up to the palace to take possession of it. As he was entering the vestibule, on the very threshold in fact, he was met by Sophonisba, the wife of Syphax and daughter of the Carthaginian Hasdrubal.  When she saw him surrounded by an armed escort, and conspicuous by his arms and general appearance, she rightly guessed that he was the king, and throwing herself at his feet, exclaimed: "Your courage and good fortune aided by the gods have given you absolute power over us.  But if a captive may utter words of supplication before one who is master of her fate, [13??] if she may touch his victorious right hand, then I pray and beseech you by the kingly greatness in which we too not long ago were clothed, by the name of Numidian which you and Syphax alike bear, by the tutelary deities of this royal abode who, I pray, may receive you with fairer omens than those with which they sent him hence, grant this favour at [14??] least to your suppliant that you yourself decide your captive's fate whatever it may be, and do not leave me to fall under the cruel tyranny of a Roman.  Had I been simply the wife of Syphax I would still choose to trust to the honour of a Numidian, born under the same African sky as myself, rather than that of an alien and a foreigner.  But I am a Carthaginian, the daughter of Hasdrubal, and you see what I have to fear. If no other way is possible then I implore you to save me by death from falling into Roman hands."  Sophonisba was in the bloom of youth and in all the splendour of her beauty, and as she held Masinissa's hand and begged him to give his word that she should not be surrendered to the Romans, her tone became one of blandishment rather than entreaty.  A slave to passion like all his countrymen, the victor at once fell in love with his captive. He gave her his solemn assurance that he would do what she wished him to do and then retired into the palace.  Here he considered in what way he could redeem his promise, and as he saw no practical way of doing so he allowed his passion to dictate to him as a method equally reckless and indecent.  Without a moment's delay he made preparations for celebrating his nuptials on that very day, so that neither Laelius nor Scipio might be free to treat as a prisoner one who was now Masinissa's wife.  When the marriage ceremony was over Laelius appeared on the scene, and, far from concealing his disapproval of what had been done, he actually attempted to drag her from her bridegroom's arms and send her with Syphax and the other prisoners to Scipio.  However, Masinissa's remonstrances so far prevailed that it was left to Scipio to decide which of the two kings should be the happy possessor of Sophonisba. After Laelius had sent Syphax and the other prisoners away, he recovered, with Masinissa's aid, the remaining cities in Numidia which were still held by the king's garrisons.
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