Saburra, d.46 BC

Sabura (d.46 BC) was a Numidian general who fought against Caesar during the Great Roman Civil War, defeating one of his generals in 49 BC before dying in battle in 46 BC.

Sabura is first mentioned during Curio's disastrous campaign in Africa at the start of the Great Roman Civil War. Caesar had given Curio the task of securing Sicily and North Africa. He had begun well, forcing Cato off Sicily and winning a minor victory outside Utica, but was forced to retreat into a nearby fortified camp when news reached him that King Juba I of Numidia was approaching at the head of his army.

Juba tempted Curio out of his camp by spreading rumours that he had been forced to return to Numidia leaving a small force under Sabura at the Bagradas River. Curio fell for the trip and advanced from his camp. His army was wiped out at the battle of the Bagradas River (49 BC) and Curio was killed. Sabura commanded the leading Numidian troops, while Juba directed reinforcements to the battlefield.

Juba and Sabura were left in peace until Caesar arrived in Africa in 47 BC. Juba responded to a call for help from Cato and Scipio, the surviving Pompeian leaders, moving his army towards the Roman province. At this point a new Roman-led army appeared on the scene. This was commanded by P. Sittius, a Roman mercenary leader who led a sizable army. Juba and Sabura were forced to turn back to deal with this new threat. Nothing is known of Juba's campaign against Sittius, but he was soon forced to move back to help Scipio, leaving Sabura to face Sittius. This campaign ended in disaster, probably early in 46 BC. Sabura's army was defeated and he was killed in battle. At about the same time Juba was present at the defeat at Thapsus, and with his kingdom lost behind him committed suicide.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (15 December 2010), Saburra, d.46 BC , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_saburra.html

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