Jugurtha jo͞ogûrˈthə [key], c.156–104 b.c., king of Numidia, a grandson of Masinissa. On the death of Micipsa (118 b.c.), the royal power devolved upon his two sons and upon his adopted son Jugurtha. The latter ousted the other two heirs and united Numidia under his rule. In the process, however, some Italians were murdered, leading Rome to invade Numidia; peace was reestablished in 111 b.c. Jugurtha, on a visit to Rome to explain his acts, ordered a rival murdered. War was resumed, and the Romans under Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus gained some notable successes. Under a new commander, Caius Marius, the Romans continued to apply pressure on Jugurtha, who was being supported by his father-in-law, Bocchus, king of Mauretania. Jugurtha was captured (106 b.c.) when Bocchus betrayed him, and he was put to death in prison in Rome.

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