:"For the Canadian mountain, see Mount Syphax. For the mythological figure, see Sufax. There is also a genus of fossil spiders Syphax (Thomisidae)."

Syphax was a king of the ancient Libyan tribe Masaesyles of western Numidia during the last quarter of the third century BCE. When in 218, war broke out between Carthage and Rome, Syphax was originally sympathetic to the Romans and in 213, he concluded an alliance with the Romans and they sent military advisers to help Syphax train his troops. He then attacked the eastern Numidians Massylians, ruled by king Gala; at that time allied to the Carthaginians. When Gala died in 206, his sons Massinissa and Oezalces quarreled about the inheritance, and Syphax was able to conquer considerable parts of the eastern Numidian kingdom.

After Publius Scipio's victory in the battle of Ilipa, he sent his friend Gaius Laelius to visit Syphax to ratify the treaty with Rome. Syphax however, refused to ratify any treaty except with Scipio, so Scipio sailed with two quinquiremes to meet with Syphax, taking a considerable risk in doing so. In fact he arrived at the Numidian harbor, at exactly the same time as Hasdrubal (who had fled from Spain) anchored there on his way back to Carthage. However, Scipio's ship managed to make harbor before Hasdrubal's seven Triremes could make out to intercept them, and in a neutral harbor, Hasdrubal dared not act against the Romans. Syphax invited both to dinner, where both Syphax and Hasdrubal were taken in by Scipio's charm.

Meanwhile, Massinissa had concluded that Rome was winning the war against Carthage and therefore decided to switch sides. Having lost the alliance with Massinissa, Hasdrubal started to look for another ally, which he found in Syphax, sealing the alliance by offering his daughter Sophonisba in marriage who until 206 had been betrothed to Massinissa.

With the reversal of alliances it looked like Carthage and Syphax were in a strong position in Africa, certainly during the early stages of Scipio's campaign in North Africa, the joined forces of Syphax and Hasdrubal Gisco were able to force the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio to abandon the siege of Utica. However in the Battle of Bagbrades, Scipio overcame Hasdrubal and Syphax and while the Roman general concentrated on Carthage, Laelius and Massinissa followed Syphax to Cirta

During the pursuit, Syphax was threatened with desertion by his army when Laelius and Masinissa's army approached the Numidian battle line. In a brave attempt to rally his troops, according to Livy in Book 30, Chapter Twelve, Syphax rode alone, straight towards the Roman cavalry, but in this desperate attempt his badly wounded horse threw him off. Syphax was pounced upon immediately by Roman soldiers and taken to the ecstatic Masinissa. Syphax's troops retreated to the capital city which later fell as Masinissa claimed his kingdom. Syphax was delivered to Scipio Africanus and was taken as a prisoner, dying in Tibur, modern Tivoli circa 203 / 202 BC.

In a twist of fate Sophonisba then married Massinissa. However Scipio, suspicious of Sophonisba, demanded that she be taken to Rome and appear in the triumphal parade. To save her from such humiliation, Masinissa sent her poison, with which she killed herself.

The Tunisian city Sfax is said to be named after him.

External links

* [ Syphax]

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  • Syphax — († um 201 v. Chr. in Tibur), auch als Syphaks bezeichnet, war von 220 bis 203 v. Chr. König von Westnumidien. Er regierte von seiner Hauptstadt Cirta, dem heutigen algerischen Constantine, aus den Stamm der Massäsylier und damit einen Teil der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Syphax — reçoit Scipion. Fresque d Alessandro Allori Syphax (v. 250 v. 202 av. J. C.) (en tifinagh ⵙⵉⴼⴰⴽⵙ) est un roi de la Numidie occidentale (de …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Syphax — Syphax, König der Masäsylier im westlichen Numidien, ward im zweiten Punischen Krieg von Scipio 207 v. Chr. für die Sache Roms gewonnen, aber bald darauf dadurch, daß Hasdrubal ihm seine dem Masinissa verlobte Tochter Sophonisbe (s. d.) zur… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Syphax — Syphax, König der Massäsylier im westl. Numidien, im 2. Punischen Kriege Verbündeter der Karthager 203 v. Chr. durch Scipio und Masinissa überwunden, gest. bald darauf in röm. Gefangenschaft …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • SYPHAX — partis Numidiae seu Masiylorum Rex, qui cum Scipioni per Laelium fuisset conciliatus, bellique societatem cum eo iniisset, postea, violatâ fide, Hannibali adhaesit. Hunc Scipio in Africa, cum Asdrubale, filio Gisconis bis vicit: priori praeliô… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Syphax — ▪ king of the Masaesyli died 201 BC, Tibur [now Tivoli, Italy]       king of the Masaesyli, a Numidian tribe (in North Africa). Formerly a Carthaginian dependent, he rebelled in 214 BC in consultation with Publius Cornelius Scipio (Scipio,… …   Universalium

  • Syphax — Sỵphax,   Fürst eines westnumidischen Stammes, ✝ um 201 v. Chr.; Gegner Massinissas, Ȋ mit Sophonisbe; als Verbündeter Karthagos im 2. Punischen Krieg von Scipio dem Älteren besiegt und gefangen genommen; er starb wenig später …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Leptodactylus syphax — Leptodactylus syphax …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Leptodactylus syphax — Taxobox name = Leptodactylus syphax status = LC status system = iucn3.1 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Amphibia ordo = Anura familia = Leptodactylidae genus = Leptodactylus species = L. syphax binomial = Leptodactylus syphax… …   Wikipedia

  • Leptodactylus syphax —   Leptodactylus syphax …   Wikipedia Español

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