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LUCIUS CATILINE was a man of noble birth,1 and of eminent mental and personal endowments; but of a vicious and depraved disposition. His delight, from his youth, had been in civil commotions, bloodshed, robbery, and sedition;2 and in such scenes he had spent his early years.3 His constitution could endure hunger, want of sleep, and cold, to a degree surpassing belief. His mind was daring, subtle, and versatile, capable of pretending or dissembling whatever he wished.4 He was covetous of other men's property, and prodigal of his own. He had abundance of eloquence,5 though but little wisdom. His insatiable ambition was always pursuing objects extravagant, romantic, and unattainable.

Since the time of Sylla's dictatorship,6 a strong desire of seizing the government possessed him, nor did he at all care, provided that he secured power7 for himself, by what means he might arrive at it. His violent spirit was daily more and more hurried on by the diminution of his patrimony, and by his consciousness of guilt; both which evils he had increased by those practices which I have mentioned above. The corrupt morals of the state, too, which extravagance and selfishness, pernicious and contending vices, rendered thoroughly depraved,8 furnished him with additional incentives to action.

Since the occasion has thus brought public morals under my notice, the subject itself seems to call upon me to look back, and briefly to describe the conduct of our ancestors9 in peace and war; how they managed the state, and how powerful they left it; and how, by gradual alteration, it became, from being the most virtuous, the most vicious and depraved.

1 V. Of noble birth] “Nobili genere natus.” His three names were Lucius Sergius Catilina, he being of the family of the Sergii, for whose antiquity Virgil is responsible, Æn. v. 121: Sergestusque, domus tenet à quo Sergia nomen. And Juvenal says, Sat. viii. 321: Quid, Catilino, tuis natalibus atque Cethegi Inveniet quisquam sublimius? His great grandfather, L. Sergius Silus, had eminently distinguished himself by his services in the second Punic war. See Plin, Hist. Nat. vii, 29, 2 Catiline was born A.U.C. 647, A.C, 107." Dietsch. Ammianus Marcellinus (lib, xxv.) says that he was the last of the Sergii.

2 Sedition] “Discordia civilis.

3 And in such scenes he had spent his early years] “Ibique juventutem suam exercuit.” " It is to be observed that the Roman writers often used an adverb, where we, of modern times, should express ourselves more specifically by using a noun." Dietsch on c. 3, ibique multa mihi advorsa fuere. Juventus properly signified the time between thirty and forty-five years of age; adolescentia that between fifteen and thirty. But this distinction was not always accurately observed. Catiline had taken an active part in supporting Sylla, and in carrying into execution his cruel proscriptions and mandates. "Quis erat hujus (Sullæ) imperii minister? Quis nisi Catilina, jam in omne facinus manus exercens?" Sen. de Irâ, iii. 18.

4 Capable of pretending or dissembling whatever he wished] “Cujuslibet rei simulator ac dissimulator.” "Dissimulation is the negative, when a man lets fall signs and arguments, that he is not that he is; simulation is the affirmative, when a man industriously and expressly feigns and pretends to be that he is not." Bacon, Essay vi.

5 Abundance of eloquence] “Satis eloquentiæ.” Cortius reads loquentiæ. "Loquentia is a certain facility of speech not necessarily attended with sound sense; called by the Greeks λαλία." Bernouf. "Julius Candidus used excellently to observe that eloquentia was one thing, and loquentia another; for eloquence is given to few, but what Candidus called loquentia, or fluency of speech, is the talent of many, and especially of the most impudent." Plin. Ep. v. 20. But eloquentiæ is the reading of most of the MSS., and loquentiæ if Aulus Gellius (i. 15) was rightly informed, was a correction of Valerius Probus, the grammarian, who said that Sallust must have written so, as eloquentiæ could not agree with sapientiæ parum. This opinion of Probus however, may be questioned. May not Sallust have written eloquentiæ, with the intention of signifying that Catiline had abundance of eloquence to work on the minds of others, though he wanted prudence to regulate his own conduct? Have there not been other men of whom the same may be said, as Mirabeau, for example? The speeches that Sallust puts into Catiline's mouth (c. 20, 58) are surely to be characterized rather as eloquentia than loquentia. On the whole, and especially from the concurrence of MSS., I prefer to read eloquentiæ, with the more recent editors, Gerlach, Kritz, and Dietsch.

6 Since the time of Sylla's dictatorship] “Post dominationem Lucii Syllæ.” " The meaning is not the same as if it were “finitâ dominatione,” but is the same as ab eo tempore quo dominari cæperat. In French, therefore, post should be rendered by depuis, not, as it is commonly translated, après." Bernouf. As dictator was the title that Sylla assumed, I have translated dominatio, "dictatorship." Rose, Gordon, and others, render it "usurpation."

7 Power] “Regnum.” Chief authority, rule, dominion.

8 Rendered thoroughly depraved] “Vexabant."Corrumpere et pessundare studebant." Bernouf. Quos vexabant, be it observed, refers to mores, as Gerlach and Kritz interpret not to cives understood in civitatis, which is the evidently erroneous method of Cortius.

9 Conduct of our ancestors] “Instituta majorum.” The principles adopted by our ancestors, with regard both to their own conduct, and to the management of the state. That this is the meaning, is evident from the following account.

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