ROME-THE IMPERIAL REPUBLIC.
Calpurnius Bestia was sent with an army to Africa to punish the crime of
the Numidian prince. But Jugurtha had learned with what kind of weapons he
should contend in a war with Rome. He bribed Calpurnius and the legates who
accompanied them, and induced them to make a treaty of peace which by its
own terms was to be final; that is, not dependent on ratification by the
Senate and people. As for Numidia, it was granted to Jugurtha as the friend
and ally of the Romans.
Of course, this astounding piece of business was straightway canceled by
the Senate. The wrath of the popular assembly knew no bounds. The tribune
Memmius carried a resolution to the effect that Jugurtha should come to
Rome and divulge the methods which he had used to procure the treaty. The
king came, and was about to speak when he was prevented by the veto of the
tribune Baevius, whom he had just bribed to do that very thing. Meanwhile
Massivo, the son of Gulussa, arrived in the city, and preferred before the
Senate his claim to be king of Numidia. Jugurtha hired some assassins to
kill him. He then made his own escape from Rome, and looking back
exclaimed, "O venal city, about to perish if it can find a buyer!"