In A.D. 69 the peace of Tripolitania was broken by war between the neighbouring cities of Oea and Lepcis Magna and the re-emergence of the Garamantes in opposition to Rome. The Garamantes, convinced that if worsted in battle they had only to scuttle back into the desert and fill in the wells behind them to stop pursuit, as they had in the past, and confident in their immunity from attack in Fezzan, had responded to an appeal for aid from the people of Oea and, together with these new allies, they were laying siege to Lepcis. This brought the legate of Numidia, Valerius Festus, hurrying down the coast to restore order. He freed Lepcis, defeated the Garamantes, and pursued them into the desert. In doing so he achieved something remarkable. He found, Plinyl tells us, a new and shorter road across the desert, known as the Praeter Caput Saxi. It was probably the road running due south from Oea through Garian, Mizda and El Gheria el Garbia which later on, in the reign of Caracalla, was marked with milestones. The inference is that Valerius Festus discovered a road unknown to the Garamantes. This is incredible for he was operating in the Garamantes' own country which they must have known far better than the Romans and at least as well as any tribe from whom the latter could have obtained guides.