In the mean time great joy appeared at Rome when the proceedings of Metellus were reported, and when it was known how he was conducting himself and his army conformably to the ancient discipline; how, on adverse ground, he had gained a victory by his valor; how he was securing possession of the enemy's territory; and how he had driven Jugurtha, when elated by the weakness of Aulus, to depend for safety on the desert or on flight. For these successes, accordingly, the senate decreed a thanksgiving1
to the immortal gods; the city, which had been full of anxiety, and apprehensive as to the event of the war, was now filled with joy; and the fame of Metellus was raised to the utmost height.
The consul's eagerness to gain a complete victory was thus increased; he exerted himself in every possible way, taking care, at the same time, to give the enemy no opportunity of attacking him to advantage. He remembered that envy is the concomitant of glory, and thus, the more renowned he became, the greater was his caution and circumspection. He never went out to plunder, after the sudden attack of Jugurtha, with his troops in scattered parties; when corn or forage was sought, a body of cohorts, with the whole of the cavalry, were stationed as a guard. He himself conducted part of the army, and Marius the rest. The country was wasted, however, more by fire than by spoliation. They had separate camps, not far from each other; whenever there was occasion for force, they formed a union; but, that desolation and terror might spread the further, they acted separately. Jugurtha, meanwhile, continued to follow them along the hills, watching for a favorable opportunity or situation for an attack. He destroyed the forage, and spoiled the water, which was scarce, wherever he found that the enemy were coming. He presented himself sometimes to Metellus, and sometimes to Marius; he would attack their rear upon a march, and instantly retreat to the hills; he would threaten sometimes one point, and sometimes another, neither giving battle nor allowing rest, but making it his great object to retard the progress of the enemy.