Numidia, an ancient country of northern Africa, corresponding nearly to the modern Algeria. In early times the country was occupied by tribes from whose nomadic mode of life it is supposed to have received its name (Gr., or Nofiaducq). Among the principal towns were: Hippo Regius (now Bona), the capital of the Massylians; Cirta (Constan-tine), the residence of Masinissa; Zama, famous for the final defeat of Hannibal in 201 13. C.; Caesarea (Oherchell), which at a later period gave name to Mauritania Caasariensis; and Siga, the capital of Syphax. The Numidians were famous as horsemen. When the Romans, during the second Punic war, first entered into relations with the Numidians, the Massylians were the principal tribe E. of the Ampsaga (now Wad el-Kebir), and the Massaesylians W. of it. Masinissa, the son of Gala, a king of the former, having allied himself with the Romans, after various struggles became master also of the possessions of Syphax, the rival king of the Massaesylians, and in a long reign made the united kingdom powerful and prosperous.
Of his three sons, who according to his will divided the country after his death (148 B. C), Mastanabal and Gulussa died soon after, and the kingdom was reunited by Mi-cipsa, who died in 118, bequeathing his possessions to his sons Adherbal and Hiempsal, and to his nephew Jugurtha. The first two soon fell victims to the treachery of Jugurtha, who himself ended his life in a dungeon at Rome (104). Numidia was bestowed by the conquerors on Hiempsal II., a princa of royal blood, whose son and successor Juba, having fought with the adherents of Pompey against Caesar, shared in their defeat at Thapsus (46), and died by his own hand. Numidia was made a Roman province, and its western part was annexed to Mauritania. Augustus restored Juba II. to his father's kingdom, but subsequently made him king of Mauritania and the land between the Malva and Saldae, converting the territory between the latter river and the Tusca into a Roman province. Another part between the Saldae and the Ampsaga being annexed to Mauritania under Claudius, the eastern division, also called New Numidia or Numidia Proper, formed a province of the later empire.