The J. Paul Getty Museum

Jugurtha, King of Numidia, Thrown from His Roman Prison into the Tiber

Object Details

Title:

Jugurtha, King of Numidia, Thrown from His Roman Prison into the Tiber

Artist/Maker:

Unknown

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place Created)

Date:

about 1413–1415

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. 63 (96.MR.17), fol. 170

Dimensions:

Leaf: 42 × 29.6 cm (16 9/16 × 11 5/8 in.)

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Object Description

Although the author Boccaccio seemed unsure of the ultimate fate of Jugurtha, son of a Numidian prince and a concubine, he stated that some historians believed he was killed at night and tossed from the Tarpeian Rock into the Tiber River tied to a stone. In this miniature, however, Jugurtha is thrown from a tower, rather than from a rock. Jugurtha was excluded from the line of succession by his grandfather's will, but his father raised him in the palace with his half-brothers the princes. Having proved his valor in military exploits, he was accepted as a legitimate heir to the throne and inherited a third of the kingdom. Greedy for the entire kingdom, he murdered his brothers to inherit their portions. His covetous nature, however, eventually led to his downfall. His own father-in-law recognized his ruthless nature and handed him over to the Romans, who took him as a captive and had him killed.