After his father Masinissa had united the kingdom of Numida, Micipsa rose to power. He was “the most cultivated of all the kings of Numidia” and sought to improve himself in all sorts of disciplines by surrounding himself with educated Greeks (Diodorus Siculus Ηistoria Romana 34.35). He had two sons,
Hiempsal, and raised his nephew,
Jugurtha, as if he was his son (BJ 5). After Jugurtha proved his worth serving in the Roman army in Hispania, Micipsa adopted Jugurtha and named him joint heir with his sons (BJ 9). Upon his death, these three men became co-rulers of Numidia, a situation which they found untenable.