Massylii or Maesulians were a Berber federation of tribes in
eastern Numidia, which was formed by an amalgamation of smaller tribes
during the 4th century BC. They were ruled by a king. On their
loosely defined western frontier were the powerful Masaesyli. To their
east lay the territory of the rich and powerful Carthaginian Republic.
Their relationship to Carthage resembled that of a protectorate.
Carthage maintained its dominance over the
Massylii by skillful
diplomatic manoeuvering, playing off local tribal and kingdom
rivalries. The principal towns of the
Massylii were Cirta, Tébessa
Role In The Second Punic War
In 218 BC war broke out between the Carthaginians and the Romans. The
Massylii and the
Masaesyli who both possessed a strong and proficient
cavalry force were allied to the Carthaginian cause and performed
valuable service for them in Iberia and Italy. In 206 BC a
Massylian prince called
^ a b c Nigel Bagnall, The Punic Wars, p. 270. ^ Polybius, 3:33.15 ^ Livy, 28.35 ^ Livy, 30.44 ^ Nigel Bagnall, The Punic Wars, p. 298.
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