C. Sallu'stius Crispus
or SALU'STIUS, belonged to a plebeian family, and was born B. C. 86, the year in which C. Marius died, at Amiternum, in the country of the Sabini. About the age of twenty-seven, as some say, though the time is uncertain, he obtained the quaestorship, and in B. C. 52 he was elected tribunus plebis, in the year in which Clodius was killed by Milo in a brawl. In B. C. 50 the censors Appius Claudius Pulcher and L. Calpurnius Piso ejected Sallustius from the senate (D. C. 40.63
, and the note of Reimarus), on the ground, as some say, of his having been caught in the act of adultery with Fausta, the daughter of the dictator Sulla, and the wife of T. Annius Milo.
It is said that the husband soundly whipped Sallustius, and only let him off on payment of a sum of money (Varro, quoted by Gellius, 17.18
). Sallustius belonged to the faction of Caesar, and party spirit may have had some effect with the censors, for the imputation of an adulterous commerce, even if true, would hardly have been a sufficient ground at that time for a Nota Censoria. Sallustius, in his tribunate, made a violent attack upon Milo as to the affair of Clodius, but there may have been other grounds for his enmity, besides the supposed thrashing that he had received from Milo.
The adulterous act, of course, was committed before B. C. 52; and Sallustius was elected a tribune after the affair. However this may be, upon his ejection from the senate, we hear no more of him for some time.
The unknown author of the Declamatio in Sallustium (100.5, 6) merely hints that he may have gone to Caesar, who was then in Gallia; but such a hint from an unknown person is worth nothing.
In B. C. 47 Sallustius was praetor elect, and was thus restored to his rank. (Dion. Cass. 42.52.)
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. (Appian, App. BC 2.92
.) Sallustius carried the news of the uproar to Caesar at Rome, and was followed thither by the mutinous soldiers, whom Caesar pacified. Sallustius accompanied Caesar in his African war, B. C. 46 (Bell. Afric.
100.8, 34), and he was sent to the island Cercina (the Karkenna islands, on the coast of Tunis), to get supplies for Caesar, which he accomplished. Caesar left him in Africa as the governor of Numidia, in which capacity he is charged with having oppressed the people, and enriched himself by unjust means. (D. C. 43.9
, and the note of Reimarus.)
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.
It is conjectured that the abusive attack of Lenaeus. a freedman of Pompeius Magnus, is the autithority for the scandalous tales against Sallustius (Sueton. De Illust. Grammat.
15); but it is not the only authority. Sallustius retired into privacy after he returned from Africa, and he passed quietly through the troublesome period after Caesar's death.
He died B. C. 34, about four years before the battle of Actium.
The story of his marrying Cicero's wife, Terentia, is improbable. (Drumann, Geschichte Roms,
vol. vi. p. 693.)
The character of Sallustius has been the subject of much discussion among scholars, some of whom attempt to clear him of the scandalous imputations upon his memory.
That a partizan, like Sallustius, and a rich man too, must have had many enemies, is agreeable to all experience; and of course he may have had detractors.
But to attempt to decide on the real merits of his character, or the degree of his demerits, with such evidence as we have, is puerile industry.
It is enough to remark that Dio Cassius always makes a man as bad as he can.
That he devoted himself so busily to literature in his retirement is an argument in favour of the latter part of his life at least.
It was probably not till after his return from Africa that Sallustius wrote his historical works.
or Bellum Catilinarium,
is a history of the conspiracy of Catilina during the consulship of Cicero, B. C. 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; and the charge that the historian has underrated the services of Cicero, is not maintainable.
He would have damaged Cicero more in the opinion of the admirers of Cicero, at least, by not writing the history at all. Sallustius was a living spectator of the events which he describes, and considering that he was not a friend of Cicero, and was a partizan of Caesar, he wrote with fairness.
The speeches which he has inserted 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. If be wrote the history after Caesar's death, which is probable, that may explain why he had the bad taste to put his own composition in the place of Caesar's genuine oration. Cato's speech on the same occasion was taken down by short-hand writers (Plut. Cato Minor,
100.23); and Sallustius of course had it in his hands; but still he wrote one himself (Drumann, Geschichte Roms,
vol. iii. p. 174).
He showed his ignorance of the true value of history, and his vanity too in not recording a speech of Cato. Constantius Felicius Durantinus, in his Historia Conjurationis Catilinariae,
has stated the facts which Sallustius either purposely or carelessly omitted in his history.
or Bellum Jugurthinum,
contains the history of the war of the Romans against Jugurtha, king of Numidia, which began B. C. 111, and continued until B. C. 106.
It is likely enough that Sallustius 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 (Jug.
100.17). 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.
There is an oration in the Jugurthine war (100.30) of C. Memmius, tribunus plebis, against L. Calpurnius Bestia, which Sallustius declares to be the genuine speech of Memmius ; and it is, in fact, very different from those which he composed himself.
lang="la">Historiarum Libri Quinque
Sallustius, also, is said to have written 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. If this is so, Sallust began his history where that of Sisenna on the Civil Wars of Sulla
This work is lost, with the exception of fragments
which have been collected and arranged.
The fragments 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. (C. Sallustii Cr. Histor.
lib. iii. Fragmenta e Cod. Vat. ed. ab Angelo Maio; edit. actior et emendatior, curante
J. Th. Kreysig, Misen. 1830, 8vo.)
The ground for stating that the history of Sallustius began with B. C. 78, is the authority of the fragment in Donatus. (Res Populi Romani,
&c). But Ausonius (Id. iv. ad Nepotem
), seems to speak of some historical work which, as Le Clerc supposes, comprised a period of twelve years before
the Tumultus Lepidi in B. C. 78.
The commencement of such a work would coincide with B. C. 90, or the outbreak of the Social War, but the twelve years may be referred with equal probability to the period from B. C. 78 to B. C. 66. However, Sallust seems to have treated of the period of Sulla (Plutarch, Comparison of Sulla and Lysander,
100.3); though it is possible that this was done only by way of introduction to his historical work.
The opusculum of Julius Exsuperantius may, with great probability, be assumed to be an epitome from the works of Sallustius.
It commences with speaking of Metellus, the proconsul, taking C. Marius with him to the Jugurthine war; and it terminates with the capture of Calagurris in Spain (Calahorra) by Pompeius, the erection of his trophies on the Pyrenees, and his return to Rome from Spain, B. C. 72.
It does not, therefore, comprise the whole of the period comprehended in the historical works of Sallustius; but Exsuperantius certainly followed some work which treated of the wars of Marius and Sulla.
It is, then, a probable conjecture that Sallustius treated the following subjects in their chronological order, which may not have been the order in which they were written: -- the war of Jugurtha ; the period from the commencement of the Marsic war, B. C. 90, to the death of Sulla, B. C. 78; the tumults caused by the consul M. Aemilius Lepidus upon the death of Sulla; the war of Sertorius, which ended B. C. 72; the Mithridatic war, which ended B. C. 63; and the conspiracy of Catiline.
It was the fashion of Sallust to choose striking periods and events, and to write in piecemeal. Some grammarian probably arranged into the form of a history the works which comprised the period from B. C. 90 to B. C. 16, and this arrangement may have been made at a very early period. Plutarch (Lucullus,
10, 33) twice refers to Sallustius in his history of the campaigns of Lucullus in Asia.
A passage in the Pompeius
of Plutarch (100.2) is apparently founded on a fragment, which is arranged in the third book.
The fragments themselves are too meagre to allow the plan of the supposed history of Sallust to be reconstructed, though this has been attempted several times.
But the more probable conclusion is that he did not write one history, but wrote several histories, all of which, except 'the Catilina
were arranged either by himself or others, under the title of Histories. Gellius frequently quotes the Histories of Sallustius.
Duae Epistolae de Re Publica ordinanda
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 Sallustius; but the opinions of critics on their authenticity are divided.
The rhetorical character of them is in itself no ground for supposing that they are not by Sallustius.
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 Sallustius; but Quintilianus (Inst. Or.
4.1. 68) quotes the very words of the commencement of this declamatio; and (9.3, 89) the words "O Romule Arpinas." (Declam. in Cic.
Some of the Roman writers considered that Sallustius imitated the style of Thucydides. (Vell. 2.36
.) 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.
The terms in which some critics speak of him as a writer seem to be very extravagant. Sallustius had no pretensions to great research or precision about facts; and probably the grammarian Atteius Philologus (Sueton. de Illust. Gram.
10) may have helped his indolence by collecting materials for him. 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. We have no means of fudging how far Sallustius was superior as a writer to Sulla, L. Lucullus, and Sisenna; but he has 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, as a man may do, without loving the people.
The editions of Sallustius are very numerous.
The Editio Princeps was that of Rome, 1470, fol. The edition of G. Corte, Leipzig, 1724, 4to; of Haverkamp, Haag, 1742, 4to, and of F. D. Gerlach, Basel, 1823-1831, 3 vols. 4to.; and of Kritz, Leipzig, 1828-1834, 2 vols. 8vo., are the principal. An edition of the text was published by Orelli, Zürich, 1840.
The translations are very numerous. The Italian version of Alfieri is as close and compact as the original.
There are many English versions. The oldest is Barclay's translation of the Jugurtha.
The latest are by H. Stewart, London, 1806, 2 vols. 4to.
and by Arthur Murphy, London, 1807
. The Index Editionum Sallustii and Index Versionum, prefixed to Frotscher's edition, show the prodigious labour that has been expended on the works of Sallustius.