Numidians were the Berber population of
Numidia (present day
Algeria) and in a smaller part of Tunisia. The
Numidians were one of
the earliest Berber tribes to trade with the settlers of Carthage. As
Carthage grew, the relationship with the
Carthage's military used the
Numidian cavalry as mercenaries. Numidia
provided some of the highest quality cavalry of the Second Punic War,
Numidian cavalry played a key role in a number of battles,
both early on in support of
Hannibal and later in the war after
switching allegiance to the Roman Republic.
1 The Punic Wars
2 See also
The Punic Wars
During the Punic Wars,
Syphax was the king of the largest Numidian
kingdom, the Masaesyli. In 213 BC,
Syphax ended his alliance with
Carthage. In 208 BC, he rejoined after marrying Sophonisba,
Syphax tried to get Hannon Barca and Publius Cornelius Scipio to bring
peace between the two nations after the Romans had landed in Africa.
With the help of Masinissa, Publius Scipio's troops set fire to
Western Old World in 200 BC, showing borders of the Numidian
kingdoms after the Second Punic War.
Masinissa added Syphax's former territory to his eastern
Massylii as a reward gained through military victory against
Carthage. After the Second Punic War,
Masinissa started combining
Numidians. Massinissa wanted to combine the
Amazigh people into a
united nation with an agricultural industry.
The peace treaty between
Carthage and Rome prevented
entering any wars without Rome's permission.
Masinissa exploited the
treaty by taking Carthaginian land. He used various tricks to get land
including stating that
Carthage was rebuilding their Navy despite the
treaty which prohibited a Navy. When
Carthage asked for an appeal Cato
the Elder was sent with a commission to mediate a settlement. The
commission insisted that both sides agree to their final decision.
Masinissa agreed but because of how unfavorable previous Roman
decisions had been
Carthage refused. Cato had served in the Roman
Legion during the Second Punic War. Carthage's refusal to accept the
commission convinced him that the
Third Punic War
Third Punic War was needed. Cato
made a series of speeches to the senate all of which ended with
"Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam" (Moreover, I advise that
Carthage should be destroyed).
A group of Carthaginian senators supported a peace treaty with the
Numidians. This group was in the minority, in part because the
Carthage did not want to submit to a people they had
traditionally dominated. The pro-
Numidians were eventually exiled.
Upon exile they went to
Masinissa for help.
Masinissa sent two (of his
forty-four) sons to ask for the pro-
Numidians to be let back in.
Carthalo, who led a democratic group who were against the Numidian
encroachment, blocked their entry. Hamilcar, another leader of the
same group, sent a party to attack Masinissa's sons.
Masinissa sent a force to siege the Carthaginian city of Oroscopa but
they were repelled by a Carthaginian army led by a Hasdrubal. Among
the captured were two of Masinissa's sons. This became the final
excuse for Rome to attack Carthage.
In 149 BC,
Masinissa died of old age. His death occurred during
the Third Punic War.
Micipsa became the second king of Numidia.
List of Kings of Numidia
^ Plutarch, Life of Cato
Lazenby, J. F., Hannibal's War, London, 1978
Warmington, B. H. Carthage, A History, Barnes and Noble Books, 1993
Sanhajas de Srayr