Syphax, a Numidian prince, born about 250 B. C, died in 201. In 213 he was king of the Massaesylians, the westernmost tribe of the Numidians, and was at war with Carthage, in which he was encouraged by the Romans. Carthage, however, induced Gala, king of the Massylians, to declare war against him, and Syphax was defeated by Hasdrubal and Gala's son Masinissa. Syphax fled to Mauritania and collected a new force, but was again defeated by Masinissa. He subsequently regained possession of his throne, and Hasdrubal, to prevent his yielding to the overtures of Scipio for an alliance, gave him his daughter Sophonisba in marriage. On the death of Gala, Syphax with Carthaginian aid wrested the throne from Masinissa, and made him a fugitive. When Scipio landed in Africa in 204, Syphax joined the Carthaginians with an army of 50,000 foot and 10,000 horse. He encamped in the vicinity of the Romans, and during the siege of Utica held prolonged negotiations with Scipio; but the latter suddenly fell upon his camp in the night, set fire to its straw huts, and nearly destroyed his army.
Syphax raised two more armies, but both were defeated, and he was finally made a prisoner and sent to Rome. According to Polybius, he appeared in Scipio's triumphal procession; but according to Livy, he died at Tibur a few days before.