|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 CAPTURE OF JUGURTHA
 SULLA, who joined Marius in Numidia, was nineteen years
younger than his commander.
The young officer was a patrician, while Marius was a
plebeian, and he had had many advantages which had been
denied to Marius.
But if the Consul was envious of his subordinate's
accomplishments, he successfully hid it, and even
scoffed at the attainments he did not possess.
As Sulla had ridden into the Roman camp the soldiers
had looked at him with sudden interest. He was so
unlike a soldier, and indeed he had not then been on a
battlefield. But although he had looked to the troops
like a man who had spent his days in pleasure, they had
noticed that his blue eyes were keen, and gazed at them
with fierce mastery.
That he was clever and quick was soon evident to all,
and Marius speedily found that he could count on
Sulla's brains and on Sulla's strength. As for the
soldiers, they learned to respect him, although he was
so unlike their own rough, uneducated hero.
Jugurtha had meanwhile again persuaded Bocchus to join
him, although to do so he had been forced to promise
him a large part of his kingdom.
The Roman army soon knew that Jugurtha was again
supported by an ally, for the two kings, each with his
army, followed and harassed it as it marched away from
the border-fort towards Cirta.
Twice, indeed, the enemy had been in front, and the
 Romans had found their road blocked, and twice, before
they could go forward, they had been forced to fight
with their foes.
The latter time it was Sulla, who, by a skilful
movement, saved the army from a disastrous defeat. He
had proved an apt pupil in the art of war.
At length, after a tedious and difficult march, Marius
reached Cirta, where he meant to remain during the
But the campaign of 106 B.C. had convinced him that it
would be well to treat with King Bocchus, if he was to
redeem his promise to Rome and capture or kill
So when Bocchus again sent to ask Marius to enter into
negotiations with him, the Consul agreed to do so, and
sent Sulla and his legate Manlius to treat with him.
But Bocchus himself was so treacherous that he
distrusted other people, and after hearing from the
Consul's officers what he was willing to do, he
dismissed them. For he had determined to send an
embassy to the Senate at Rome, lest it should refuse to
confirm the promises of the Consul.
The ambassadors returned with a reassuring answer, at
least King Bocchus seemed to think it was such,
although the annalists couch it in Rome's most arrogant
manner. "The Senate and the people of Rome are wont
to remember kindness and wrong. They pardon the
offence of Bocchus because he repents it, and will
grant him alliance and friendship when he shall have
This sounds as though it were a reproof as well as a
pardon offered to a wilful child, and historians tell
us it is not the answer that was actually sent to the
However, that may be, Bocchus now determined to cast in
his fortune with Rome, and to betray Jugurtha to his
To do this would be no easy task, for Jugurtha was
 sure to be on his guard, knowing that his father-in-law
had been negotiating with Marius.
So Bocchus asked the Roman general to send Sulla again
to his tent, that he might ask Jugurtha to meet him.
He intended to tell his victim that Sulla wished to
discuss with him the terms offered by Rome.
Sulla set off for the camp of Bocchus, escorted by a
body of the best Italian soldiers.
On his way he was met by the son of Bocchus, with a
large troop of cavalry. As Jugurtha and his Numidian
army were not far off, Sulla knew that it would be easy
to take him prisoner, should Jugurtha play him false.
However, the Numidians allowed him to pass unharmed,
and Sulla was soon seated in the tent of Bocchus.
Even here he was in greater danger than he knew. For
the king hesitated whether, after all, he would not
give Sulla to Jugurtha, rather than Jugurtha to the
But it would have been no easy matter to play fast and
loose with Rome, and Bocchus determined to keep to his
So he invited Jugurtha to meet Sulla in his tent, and
made the king believe that Sulla was to be given into
Jugurtha's suspicions had been laid to rest entirely,
and he came to the tent of his father-in-law unarmed,
with only a few servants.
Jugurtha came to the tent of his father-in-law unarmed.
But almost at once he found himself surrounded by
troops, and before he had recovered from his surprise,
he and his son were secured. Sulla then ordered them
to be taken to the Roman camp and delivered to Marius.
Jugurtha was at last in chains, but the joy of Marius
in his capture was spoiled.
It was he, he said to himself, who had made it possible
to secure the dangerous enemy of Rome, yet Sulla seemed
to claim the glory as his own. Marius felt bitter as
 thought of it. And as the days passed his anger
against Sulla grew.
He, Sulla, had dared to have a seal made, with a
picture of Jugurtha being delivered into his hands
stamped upon it. Nor did he scruple to use the seal to
stamp his letters, so that all the world might see.
Moreover, those who were jealous of Marius tried to
take away from his renown, muttering to one another:
"The chief battles of the war were fought by Metellus,
and its end is achieved by Sulla."
These things chafed the pride and ambition of Marius.
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