Ancient history


Jugurtha, born around 160 BC. J.-C. and died around 104 BC, is a king of Numidia. He opposed Roman power for seven years between 111 BC. AD and 105 BC. J.-C..

Jugurtha is the grandson of the Numidian king Massinissa whose tomb is in Cirta (current Constantine). Her father is Mastanabal, brother of Micipsa, while her mother is a concubine slave. As it is a potential successor - the legitimate son of Mastanabal, Gauda, ​​being sickly -, Micipsa, king of Numidia at the time, wants to get rid of Jugurtha by sending him to Hispania (current Spain) to fight with the auxiliary troops of the Roman army. Jugurtha proves brave and courageous and the Numidian and Roman armies are victorious in Numantia. Jugurtha made many friends in Rome - not only through his valor but also, when necessary, through his money - and it was perhaps under pressure from the Romans that Micipsa ended up adopting him three years before his death, making him one of the heirs to power. After his death, the kingdom is divided between his sons Adherbal and Hiempsal and his adopted son Jugurtha.

Jugurtha, who does not want to see the kingdom of Numidia divided in this way, does not accept the decision of the Numidian senate. In addition, his cousins ​​do not appreciate him and do not hesitate to mock his inglorious ancestry. The same year, Jugurtha had Hiempsal, the younger of the two brothers, assassinated. The senate does not seem offended by this strange death and Numidia is then divided between Adherbal and Jugurtha. The two men nevertheless continued to wage war until 113 BC. J.-C., date on which Adherbal is assassinated by Jugurtha. In addition, the latter also seized the city of Cirta, massacring the Roman traders who were there. Rome does not accept that these nationals have been massacred in this way and, moreover, does not appreciate the fact that Jugurtha wants to set up a strong and united kingdom of Numidia. The consul Calpurnius was then sent to North Africa and the conflict lasted until 111 BC. J.-C. (date on which Jugurtha agrees to make peace).

In Rome, opinions are divided on the Numidian question:the optimates consider that Numidia must remain an independent kingdom, the populares considering on the contrary that Numidia is a property of the Roman people. Jugurtha is then summoned before the Roman Senate. It was then that the consul Postimius Albinus proposed to settle the problem by giving the crown to Massiva, a cousin of Jugurtha. The latter then kills Massiva and then flees. Hostilities then resumed. Postimius Albinus having been defeated by Jugurtha at the battle of Calama, he is replaced by a new consul, Quintus Caecilius Metellus who will earn his nickname Numidicus during this war. The latter is assisted by the consul Caius Marius supported by the populares (Caecilius Metellus being the boss of Marius). Caecilius Metellus emerges victorious, seizing the cities of Zama and Thala and driving Jugurtha back to Mauretania. However, he was relieved of his command in 107 BC. AD for the benefit of Marius. The latter then won new victories against Jugurtha in Cirta and Capsa (current Gafsa).

Subsequently, in 105 BC. J.-C., Jugurtha is captured by his father-in-law Bocchus, king of Mauretania, who agrees to deliver him to Rome[1]. Finally, Bocchus receives the title of "friend of Rome" and Numidia is not annexed. It is, however, closely watched by becoming a client kingdom of Rome. The Romans place Gauda on the throne, given that he is the legitimate son of Mastanabal. Marius was then re-elected consul in 105 BC. J.-C. then receives the honors of triumph when he returns to Rome. As for Jugurtha, he died - no doubt strangled - in captivity in the prison of Tullianum around 104 BC. AD

The conflict between Rome and the Numidian king is best known to us thanks to the War of Jugurtha (Bellum Jugurthinum) by the Roman historian Sallust.

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