|The Story of Rome|
|by Mary Macgregor|
|A vivid account of the story of Rome from the earliest times to the death of Augustus, retold for children, chronicling the birth of a city and its growth through storm and struggle to become a great world empire. Gives short accounts of battles and campaigns, and of the men who expanded the borders of the Roman empire to include all lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Ages 10-14 |
THE GOLD OF JUGURTHA
 JUGURTHA was king, King of Numidia. It is true that he
had stolen his kingdom, or at least the greater part of
it, from his two young cousins, the grandsons of
Masinissa, yet he was safely seated on the throne.
One of the princes Jugurtha had murdered, the other had
escaped to Rome and claimed her help.
But Jugurtha was rich, and he knew that at Rome gold
could purchase what he wished. So now he sent large
sums of money to some of the senators, and these could
not resist the wealth that was offered to them.
In this way justice went awry, to the bewilderment of
Adherbal the prince, for the senators who were bribed,
voted that Jugurtha should keep the wealthiest and
strongest part of Numidia, while Adherbal might claim
what was left.
But even this was not enough to satisfy the ambition of
the king. He now wished to wrest from the prince even
the small dominion that had been allotted to him.
Again and again Adherbal appealed to Rome, but her
hands were filled with the gold of the tyrant, and she
would do nothing to help his victim.
At length Jugurtha besieged his cousin in his capital
town of Cirta.
The prince was not strong enough to defy his enemy, and
there was no choice but to surrender, and this Adherbal
did, on condition that his life and that of the
inhabitants should be spared.
 But it was vain to trust Jugurtha. He cared little for
the promise he had given, and no sooner had the prince
left the city than his cousin ordered that he should be
put to death, while the inhabitants, Italians as well
as Numidians, were also slain.
The treachery of Jugurtha was known in Rome, but it was
ignored. How could it be otherwise when those who
should have rebuked and punished him were spending his
But among the tribunes there was one man, whose hands
were clean, and he, in the Assembly of the people,
denounced the nobles for taking bribes and allowing
Jugurtha to go on his treacherous way unchecked.
So earnest were the words of Memmius that the people
were roused, and the Senate dared no longer refuse to
call the tyrant to account. War was therefore declared
against the King of Numidia in 112 B.C.
But it was useless to send an army to Africa unless the
officers were honourable men.
Bestia, the Consul, when he reached the enemy's
country, did at first attack and capture several towns,
as well as take many of Jugurtha's men prisoners.
Then, all at once, the activities of the Consul came to
an end. He fought no more against the enemy. For
Bestia had been offered the gold of Jugurtha and had
accepted it, and the tyrant was again left to use his
power as he chose.
At home, however, Memmius did not scruple to expose the
conduct of Bestia, and to denounce it as unworthy of a
Roman. His persistence won the day.
In 110 B.C. Jugurtha was brought to Rome under a safe
conduct, that he might give evidence against those who
had accepted his gold.
But even now the king still found some willing to
handle his money, and justice was delayed, if it was
not altogether turned aside.
 One of the Consuls meanwhile wished to depose Jugurtha
and make a young prince King of Numidia.
When Jugurtha heard this he did not hesitate to order
his slave to go at once to put his rival to death.
Such a deed was more than Rome could tolerate, and
Jugurtha found it necessary to escape from the city.
The Senate saw that the war in Africa must be carried
on. But to do so with any hope of success it was
necessary to find a general who would scorn to take a
In the summer of 109 B.C. such a man was found in the
Consul Metellus, who was now sent to Numidia as
commander of the army. With him, as his lieutenant or
legate, he took Gaius Marius, of whose boyhood I must
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics