Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor

The Capture of Jugurtha's Treasure Towns

Jugurtha and Bocchus knew that they had cause to dread the new Roman General. Certainly he would move swiftly, so the king and his ally resolved to march in different directions, in the hope that one of them would be able to fall upon Marius when he was least expecting an attack.

But it was Marius who in the end surprised Jugurtha, near the town of Cirta, and after a skirmish forced him to fly, hearing that he was defeated, determined to forsake him and make peace with Rome. But Marius was too anxious to capture Jugurtha to pay much attention to the advances of King Bocchus.

As the kings had foreseen, Marius moved swiftly. He marched first to Capsa, a city in which Jugurtha kept many of his royal treasures.

It was taken without much difficulty and burned, while the inhabitants were either killed or sold into slavery.

City after city, fort after fort, fell into the hands of the untiring general, until at length he reached another of the king's treasure forts.

The name of the fort is unknown. It was not a town, but a mere border citadel in the far west of Numidia, and was built on the top of a high rock, which looked impossible to scale. The one way of approach to the fort was by a steep and narrow path.

Marius besieged the fort, but it was strongly defended, and had a large store of arms, as well as of food and water.

It was here that a reinforcement of Italian cavalry joined him, under the command of Cornelius Sulla. As Marius had proved a thorn in the flesh to Metellus, so Sulla was to prove to his commander. In days to come he was his rival and his most bitter enemy.

Marius had at length decided to give up the siege of the border fort, when a way was found to take it.

A soldier from the Roman camp was one day looking at the steep rock which sloped down from the fort, when he noticed a ledge on which there were a number of snails.

As snails happened to be his favourite food, he climbed up to gather them, then clambered farther in search of more.

Higher and higher he mounted, until at length he found himself near the top of the cliff.

He now saw that he was close to an oak tree, the root of which was embedded deep in a crevice.

The soldier mounted to the topmost branch, and looking over into the fort he saw that no sentinels were near. He had made a great discovery.

Down the rock he clambered as quickly as he dared, and hastening back to the camp, told Marius that it was possible to scale the cliff at a point where the citadel was not guarded.

Marius promptly ordered some soldiers to follow the mountaineer up the face of the cliff.

It was no easy task, for the soldiers were cumbered with weapons, but by the help of their guide they reached the top in safety. Not a sentinel was to be seen.

Marius waited until he thought the soldiers had had time to accomplish their hazardous climb, then he ordered an attack to be made at the front of the fort.

The garrison rushed to the walls to repel the assault, but in the midst of their struggle they were startled to hear behind them the noise of trumpets, the clash of arms.

The soldiers who had scaled the rock had entered the fort, and the garrison and the wretched inhabitants were seized with sudden panic at their appearance and fled.

Then the Romans pursued the fugitives, cutting down all who resisted, and soon the citadel, which had so nearly defied them, was in their hands.

But Marius was not yet satisfied, for Jugurtha was still free, and he had promised the Roman people that he would speedily capture or kill the king.


Front Matter

The Lady Roma
The She-Wolf
The Twin Boys
Numitor's Grandson
The Sacred Birds
The Founding of Rome
The Sabine Maidens
The Tarpeian Rock
The Mysterious Gate
The King Disappears
The Peace-Loving King
Horatius Slays His Sister
Pride of Tullus Hostilius
King Who Fought and Prayed
The Faithless Friend
A Slave Becomes a King
Cruel Deed of Tullia
Fate of the Town of Gabii
Books of the Sibyl
Industry of Lucretia
Death of Lucretia
Sons of Brutus
Horatius Cocles
Mucius Burns Right Hand
The Divine Twins
The Tribunes
Coriolanus and His Mother
The Roman Army in a Trap
The Hated Decemvirs
The Death of Verginia
The Friend of the People
Camillus Captures Veii
The Statue of the Goddess
Schoolmaster Traitor
Battle of Allia
The Sacred Geese
The City Is Rebuilt
Volscians on Fire
Battle on the Anio
The Curtian Lake
Dream of the Two Consuls
The Caudine Forks
Caudine Forks Avenged
Fabius among the Hills
Battle of Sentinum
Son of Fabius Loses Battle
Pyrrhus King of the Epirots
Elephants at Heraclea
Pyrrthus and Fabricius
Pyrrhus is Defeated
Romans Build a Fleet
Battle of Ecnomus
Roman Legions in Africa
Regulus Taken Prisoner
Romans Conquer the Gauls
The Boy Hannibal
Hannibal Invades Italy
Hannibal Crosses the Alps
Battle of Trebia
Battle of Lake Trasimenus
Hannibal Outwits Fabius
Fabius Wins Two Victories
Battle of Cannae
Despair of Rome
Defeat of Hasdrubal
Claudius Enjoy a Triumph
Capture of New Carthage
Scipio Sails to Africa
Romans Set Fire to Camp
Hannibal Leaves Italy
The Battle of Zama
Scipio Receives a Triumph
Flamininus in Garlands
Death of Hannibal
Hatred of Cato for Carthage
The Stern Decree
Carthaginians Defend City
Destruction of Carthage
Cornelia, Mother of Gracchi
Tiberius and Octavius
Death of Tiberius Gracchus
Death of Gaius Gracchus
The Gold of Jugurtha
Marius Wins Notice of Scipio
Marius Becomes Commander
Capture of Treasure Towns
Capture of Jugurtha
Jugurtha Brought to Rome
Marius Conquers Teutones
Marius Mocks the Ambassadors
Metellus Driven from Rome
Sulla Enters Rome
The Flight of Marius
Gaul Dares Not Kill Marius
Marius Returns to Rome
The Orator Aristion
Sulla Besieges Athens
Sulla Fights the Samnites
The Proscriptions of Sulla
The Gladiators' Revolt
The Pirates
Pompey Defeats Mithridates
Cicero Discovers Conspiracy
Death of the Conspirators
Caesar Captured by Pirates
Caesar Gives up Triumph
Caesar Praises Tenth Legion
Caesar Wins a Great Victory
Caesar Invades Britain
Caesar Crosses Rubicon
Caesar and the Pilot
The Flight of Pompey
Cato Dies Rather than Yieldr
Caesar is Loaded with Honours
Nobles Plot against Caesar
The Assassination of Caesar
Brutus Speaks to Citizens
Antony Speaks to Citizens
The Second Triumvirate
Battle of Philippi
Death of Brutus
Antony and Cleopatra
Battle of Actium
Antony and Cleopatra Die
Emperor Augustus