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Sallustius Crispus

Gaius.


1.

A famous Roman historian, belonging to a plebeian family. He was born B.C. 86, at Amiternum, in the country of the Sabines. He was quaestor about 59, and tribune of the plebs in 52, the year in which Clodius was killed by Milo. In his tribunate he joined the popular party, and took an active part in opposing Milo. It is said that he had been caught by Milo in the act of adultery with his wife Fausta, the daughter of the dictator Sulla ; that he had received a beating from the husband; and that he had been only let off on payment of a sum of money. In 50 Sallust was expelled from the Senate by the censors, probably because he belonged to Caesar's party, though some give as the ground of his ejection from the Senate the act of adultery already mentioned. In the Civil War he followed Caesar's fortunes. In 47 we find him praetor elect, by obtaining which dignity he was restored to his rank. He nearly lost his life in a mutiny of some of Caesar's troops in Campania, who had been led thither to pass over into Africa. He accompanied Caesar in his African war (B.C. 46), and was left by Caesar as governor of Numidia, in which capacity he is charged with having oppressed the people, and enriched himself by unjust means. He was accused of maladministration before Caesar, but it does not appear that he was brought to trial. The charge is somewhat confirmed by the fact of his becoming immensely rich, as was shown by the expensive gardens which he formed (horti Sallustiani) on the Quirinalis. He retired into privacy after he returned from Africa, and he passed quietly through the troublesome period after Caesar's death. He died in the year 34, about four years before the battle of Actium. The story of his marrying Cicero's wife, Terentia, ought to be rejected.

It was probably not till after his return from Africa that Sallust wrote his historical works. (a) The Catilina, or Bellum Catilinarium, is a history of the conspiracy of Catiline during the consulship of Cicero, 63. The introduction to this history, which some critics admire, is only a feeble and rhetorical attempt to act the philosopher and moralist. The history, however, is valuable. Sallust was a living spectator of the events which he describes, and considering that he was not a friend of Cicero, and was a partisan of Caesar, he wrote with fairness. The speeches which he has inserted

Bust of Sallust. (St. Petersburg.)

in his history are certainly his own composition; but we may assume that Caesar's speech was extant, and that he gave the substance of it. (b) The Iugurtha, or Bellum Iugurthinum, contains the history of the war of the Romans against Iugurtha, king of Numidia, which began in 111, and continued until 106. It is probable that Sallust was led to write this work from having resided in Africa, and that he collected some materials there. He cites the Punic Books of King Hiempsal, as authority for his general geographical description (Iug. 17). The Jugurthine War has a philosophical introduction of the same stamp as that to the Catilina. As a history of the campaign, the Jugurthine War is of no value: there is a total neglect of geographical precision, and apparently not a very strict regard to chronology. (c) Sallustius also wrote Historiarum Libri Quinque, which were dedicated to Lucullus, a son of L. Licinius Lucullus. The work is supposed to have comprised the period from the consulship of M. Aemilius Lepidus and Q. Lutatius Catulus (B.C. 78), the year of Sulla 's death, to the consulship of L. Vulcatius Tullus and M. Aemilius Lepidus (B.C. 66), the year in which Cicero was praetor. This work is lost, with the exception of fragments which have been collected and arranged. They contain, among other things, several orations and letters. Some fragments belonging to the third book, and relating to the war with Spartacus, have been published from a Vatican MS. in the present century, and a number of others were found in 1886 by Hauler in an Orleans palimpsest. (d) Duae Epistolae de Re Publica Ordinanda, which appear to be addressed to Caesar at the time when he was engaged in his Spanish campaign (B.C. 49) against Petreius and Afranius, and are attributed to Sallust; but the opinions of critics on their authenticity are divided. (e) The Declamatio in Sallustium, which is attributed to Cicero, is generally admitted to be the work of some rhetorician, the matter of which is the well-known hostility between the orator and the historian. The same opinion is generally maintained as to the Declamatio in Ciceronem, which is attributed to

Some of the Roman writers considered that Sallustius imitated the style of Thucydides (Quint.x. 1), and he has himself greatly influenced the style of Tacitus. His language is generally concise and perspicuous: perhaps his love of brevity may have caused the ambiguity that is sometimes found in his sentences. He also affected archaic words. Though he has considerable merit as a writer, his art is always apparent. He had no pretensions to great research or precision about facts. His reflections have often something of the same artificial and constrained character as his expressions. One may judge that his object was to obtain distinction as a writer; that style was what he thought of more than matter. He has, however, probably the merit of being the first Roman who wrote what is usually called history. He was not above his contemporaries as a politician; he was a party man, and there are no indications of any comprehensive views, which had a whole nation for their object. He hated the nobility, and depicted their vices in a spirit of bitter exaggeration.

There are many MSS. of Sallust, especially at Paris. These Codices Parisini, of the tenth and eleventh centuries (P, P1, P2), are the best, all being distinguished by a lengthy lacuna after Iug. 103, supplied from a second “family” of MSS. written later, and represented by several codices at Munich. Remains of the orations and letters of Sallust are preserved in two MSS. of the tenth century—one at Berne, and one in the Vatican. These give also annotations by an unknown grammarian.

There are separate editions of the Catilina by Cook (1884); Turner (1887); Eussner (1887), and Herbermann (New York, 1890); of the Iugurtha by Herzog (Leipzig, 1840); Schmalz (Gotha, 1866), and Brook (London, 1885). The fragments of his Historiae are given in Jordan's edition of the Sallust (1887); and separately edited by Maurenbrecher (fasc. i. and ii., Leipzig, 1891-93). Complete editions of Sallust are those of Gerlach (Basel, 1832), Kritz (1828, 1856), Dietsch (1859, 1864), Jordan (Berlin, 1876, 1887), and with English notes by Merivale (1852), Long (1860, revised by Frazer, 1890), and Capes (1884). There are lexicons to Sallust by Eichert (Hanover, 1864) and Mollweide (Strassburg, 1887). A good English translation is that of Pollard (1882). On the style, see Constans, De Sermone Sallustiano (Paris, 1880); and in general the monographs by Vogel (Mainz, 1857), Jäger (Salzburg, 1884), and Rambeau (Burg, 1879).


2.

The grandson of the historian's sister, adopted by Sallust and made his heir. He was the principal adviser of Augustus Caesar after the retirement of Maecenas. He died in A.D. 20 (Hor. Carm. ii. 2; Tac. Ann. i. 6; ii. 40; iii. 30).

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