The suffete Zilalsan (Zllsn
), born c. 300 B.C., was the first leader on-record to have ruled the Massylian Numidians. We know nothing else about him, but an inscription from Mactar does identify his son as Nrwt
, who is clearly one in the same with the Naravas mentioned by Polybius. Naravas, evidently a Numidian prince with familial ties to Carthage, sided with Hamilcar Barca during the Libyan War and supplied a contingent of Numidian cavalry; Hamilcar, on his part, offered one of his daugthers in marriage.
A separate inscription from Thugga names another son of Zilalsan: king Gaia (Gyy
), father of Masinissa (Msnsn
). According to Livy, when Gaia passed away in 206 B.C., the kingship fell upon his brother Oezalces (from the Libyc Izalca
?). The aged king died shortly afterwards, and while Masinissa hurried back from Spain, Oezalces' eldest son Capussa (Kwsn
?) took the throne. However, Capussa proved to be a weak ruler, and a royal relative and rival named Mazaetullus (Msdl
) assembled an army against the new king. After killing Capussa in battle, Mazaetullus placed Oezalces' youngest son, the boy Lacumazes, on the throne and "contented himself with the modest title of Protector," (Livy 29.29.12
) though authority should have passed into the hands of Masinissa (the Carthaginians, who seemingly supported the coup, may have doubted Masinissa's loyalty). The rest is history: after a series of adventures, Masinissa eventually retook the throne and created the Numidian kingdom. His actions, endorsed by influential Romans, precipitated the fall of Carthage; yet this relationship would ultimately end with Numidia's incorporation into the Roman Empire.