Masinissa


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Masinissa

or

Massinissa

(both: măsĭnĭs`ə), c.238–148 B.C., king of Numidia. He succeeded (c.207 B.C.) his father as king of E Numidia. Brought up in Carthage, he fought in a Carthaginian campaign in Spain in the Second Punic War (see Punic WarsPunic Wars,
three distinct conflicts between Carthage and Rome. When they began, Rome had nearly completed the conquest of Italy, while Carthage controlled NW Africa and the islands and the commerce of the W Mediterranean.
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) but eventually went over (c.206) to the Roman side. After defeating his old rival Syphax, king of W Numidia, he joined Scipio Africanus Major and led his cavalry in a decisive charge at the battle of Zama (202), which ended the war. Rome awarded him the Punic territory E of Carthage. His tragic relationship with SophonisbaSophonisba
, fl. 3d cent. B.C., Carthaginian noblewoman, daughter of Hasdrubal. She was the Carthaginian wife of Syphax of Numidia, who after the marriage fought for Carthage. When he was defeated (203 B.C.) by Masinissa and the Romans, Sophonisba took poison.
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 at the end of the Second Punic War has been the subject of numerous literary interpretations. During his long reign he extended his power and converted his land of turbulent tribespeople into a formidable and prosperous kingdom. He goaded Carthage into resisting Numidian encroachments; the resistance furnished Rome with a pretext for beginning the Third Punic War.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Masinissa

 

Born circa 240 B.C.; died circa 149 B.C. King of Numidia from 201 to 149 B.C. Son of the ruler of eastern Numidia.

Masinissa was educated in Carthage. During the Second Punic War (218-201), he at first (from 213) supported the Carthaginians, but about 206 he went over to the Roman side and with their help became the sole ruler of all Numidia (having inherited eastern Numidia upon the death of his father in about 205). During Masinissa’s reign, the Numidian kingdom was greatly strengthened: the borders were expanded, towns grew up, and trade with the entire Mediterranean area increased. After Masinissa’s death, the Romans divided the kingdom among three of his sons.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Masinissa

, Massinissa
?238--?149 bc, king of Numidia (?210--149), who fought as an ally of Rome against Carthage in the Second Punic War
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005