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History, are fixed by Le Clerc between that period and his appointment to the Praetorship of Numidia. But

others have supposed that they were all written during the que

space which intervened between his return from Numidia in 709, and his death, which happened in 718, four years previous to the battle of Actium. It is maintained by the supporters of this last idea, that he was too much engaged in political tumults previous to his administration of Numidia, to have leisure for such important compositions ; --that, in the introduction to Catiline's Conspiracy, he talks of himself as withdrawn from public affairs, and refutes accusations of his voluptuous life, which were only applicable to this period :-and that, while instituting the comparison between Caesar and Cato, he speaks of the existence

and competition of these celebrated opponents as things that br

had passed over : “ Sed mea memoria, ingenti virtute, diversis moribus,' fuere viri duo, Marcus Cato et Caius Caesar.” On this passage, too, Gibbon in particular argues

that such a flatterer and party-tool as Sallust would not, Iis during the life of Caesar, have put Cato so much on a level 15

with him in the comparison. De Brosses agrees with Le Clerc in thinking, that the Conspiracy of Catiline at least must have been written immediately after 703; as he would not, after his marriage with Terentia, have commemorated

the disgrace of her sister, who, it seems, was the vestal at virgin whose intrigue with Catiline is recorded by Sallust.

But whatever may be the case as to Catiline's Conspiracy, it is quite clear that the Jugurthine War was written

subsequently to the author's residence in Numidia, which ed evidently suggested to him this theme, and afforded him

the means of collecting the information necessary for com

pleting his work. his

The subjects chosen by Sallust form two of the most important and prominent topics in the history of Rome. The periods, indeed, which he describes, were painful, but they were interesting. Full of conspiracies, usurpations,

and civil wars, they chiefly exhibit the mutual rage and od iniquity of embittered factions, furious struggles between as the patricians and plebeians, open corruption in the senate,

venality in the courts of justice, and rapine in the provinces. This state of things, so forcibly painted by Sallust, produced the conspiracy, and even in some degree created the


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character, of Catiline. But it was the oppressive debts of individuals, the temper of Sylla's soldiers, and the absence of Pompey with his army, which gave a possibility, and even a prospect, of success to a plot which affected the vital existence of the commonwealth ; and which, although arrested in its commencement, was one of those violent shocks which hasten the fall of a state.

The history of the Jugurthine War, if not so important or menacing to the vital interests and immediate safety of Rome, exhibits a more extensive field of action, and a greater theatre of war. · No prince except Mithridates gave so much employment to the arms of the Romans. In the course of no war in which they had ever been engaged, not even the second Carthaginian war, were the people more desponding, and in none were they more elated with ultimate success. Nothing can be more interesting than the accounts of the vicissitudes of this contest. The endless resources and hair-breadth escapes of Jugurtha—his levity, his fickle and faithless disposition, contrasted with the perseverance and prudence of the Roman commander Metellus, are all described in a manner the most vivid and picturesque.

Sallust had attained the age of twenty-two when the conspiracy of Catiline broke out, and was an eye-witness of the whole proceedings. He had, therefore, sufficient opportunity of recording with accuracy and truth the progress and termination of the conspiracy. Sallust has certainly acquired the praise of a veracious historian, and I do not know that he has been detected in falsifying any fact within the sphere of his knowledge. Indeed, there are few historical compositions of which the truth can be proved on such evidence as the conspiracy of Catiline. The facts detailed in the orations of Cicero, though differing in some minute particulars, coincide in everything of importance, and highly contribute to illustrate and verify the work of our historian. But Sallust lived too near the period of which he treated, and was too much engaged in the political tumults of the day, to give a faithful account, unbiassed by animosity or predilection ; he could not have raised himself above all hopes, and fears, and prejudices, and therefore could not in all their extent have fulfilled the duties of an impartial writer. A contemporary historian

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of such turbulent times would be apt to exaggerate through adulation, or conceal through fear; to instil the precepts not of the philosopher, but of the partisan, and colour facts into harmony with his own system of patriotism or friendship. An obsequious follower of Caesar, he has been accused of a want of candour in varnishing over the views of his patron; yet I have never been able to persuade myself that Caesar was deeply engaged in the conspiracy of Catiline, or that a person of his prudence should have leagued with such rash associates, or followed so desperate an adventurer. But the chief objection urged against his impartiality, is the feeble and apparently-reluctant commendation he bestows on Cicero, who is now acknowledged to have been the principal actor in detecting and frustrating the conspiracy. Though fond of displaying his talents in drawing characters, he exercises none of it on Cicero, whom he merely terms “homo egregius et optumus consul," which was but cold applause for one who had saved the commonwealth. It is true, that, in the early part of the History, praise, though sparingly bestowed, is not absolutely withheld. The election of Cicero to the consulship is fairly attributed to the high opinion entertained of his talents and capacity, which overcame the disadvantages of his obscure birth. The mode adopted of gaining over one of the accomplices, and for fixing his own wavering and disaffected colleague; the dexterity manifested in seizing the Allobrogian deputies with the letters; and the irresistible effect produced by confronting them with the conspirators, are attributed exclusively to Cicero. It is in the conclusion of the business that the historian with holds from him his due share of applause, and contrives to eclipse him by always interposing the character of Cato, though it could not be unknown to any witness of those transactions, that Cato himself, and other senators, publicly hailed the consul as the Father of his country; and that a public thanksgiving to the gods was decreed in his name, for having preserved the city from conflagration, and the citizens from massacre. This omission, which may have originated partly in enmity, and partly in disgust at the ill-disguised vanity of the consul, has in all times been regarded as the chief defect, and even stain, in the history of the Catilinarian conspiracy.

Aithough not an eye-witness of the war with Jugurtha, Sallust's situation. as Praetor of Numidia, which suggested the composition, was favourable to the authority of the work, by affording opportunity of collecting materials, and procuring information. He examined into the different accounts, written as well as traditionary, concerning the history of Africa, particularly the documents preserved in the archives of King Hiempsal, which he caused to be translated for his own use, and which proved peculiarly serviceable in the detailed account which he has given of the inhabitants of Africa. In this history he has been accused of showing an undue partiality towards the character of Marius; and of giving, for the sake of his favourite leader, an unfair account of the massacre at Vacca. But he appears to me to do even more than ample justice to Metellus, as he represents the war as almost finished by him, previous to the arrival of Marius, though it was, in fact, far from being concluded.

Veracity and fidelity are the chief, and indeed the indispensable, duties of an historian. Of all the ornaments of historic composition, it derives its chief embellishment from a graceful and perspicuous style. That of the earlier annalists was inelegant and jejune; but it came to be considered, in the progress of history, as a matter of primary importance. It is unfortunate, perhaps, that so much value was at length attached to it; since the ancient historians seldom gave their authorities, and considered the merit of history as consisting in fine writing more than in an accurate detail of facts. Sallust evidently regarded a fine style as one of the chief merits of an historical work. The style, on which he took so much pains, was carefully formed on that of Thucydides, whose manner of writing was in a great measure original, and, till the time of Sallust, peculiar to himself. The Roman has wonderfully succeeded in imitating the vigour and conciseness of the Greek historian, and infusing into his composition something of that dignified austerity which distinguishes the works of hia great model ; but when I say that Sallust has imitated the conciseness of Thucydides, I mean the rapid and compressed manner in which his narrative is conducted; in short, brevity of idea rather than of language. For Thucydides, although he brings forward only the principal idea, and discards what is collateral, yet frequently employs long and involved periods. Sallust, on the other hand, is abrupt and ser tentious, and is generally considered as having carried this sort of brevity to a vicious excess. The use of copulatives, either for the purpose of connecting his sentences with each other, or uniting the clauses of the same sentence, is in a great measure rejected. This produces a monotonous effect, and a total want of that flow and variety which is the principal charm of the historic period. Seneca accordingly (Epist. 114) talks of the “ amputatae sententiae, et verba ante expectatum cadentia," which the practice of Sallust had rendered fashionable. Lord Monboddo calls his style incoherent, and declares that there is not one of his short and uniform sentences which deserves the name of a period; so that, supposing each sentence were in itself beautiful

, there is not variety enough to constitute fine writing. It was, perhaps, partly in imitation of Thucydides, that Sallust introduced into his History a number of words almost considered as obsolete,and which were selected from the works of the older authors of Rome, particularly Cato the censor.

It is on this point he has been chiefly attacked by Pollio, in his letters to Plancus. He has also been taxed with the opposite vice, of coining new words, and introducing Greek idioms; but the severity of judgment which led him to imitate the ancient and austere dignity of style, made him reject those sparkling ornaments of composition which were beginning to infect the Roman taste, in consequence of the increasing popularity of the rhetorical schools of declamation, and the more frequent intercourse with Asia. On the whole, in the style of Sallust, there is too much appearance of study, and a want of that graceful ease which is generally the effect of art, but in which art is nowhere discovered.

Of all the departments of history, the delineation of character is the most trying to the temper and impartiality of the writer, more especially where he has been contemporary with the individuals he portrays, and in some degree engaged in the transactions he records. Five or six of the characters drawn by Sallust have in all ages been regarded as masterpieces. He has seized the delicate shades, as well as the prominent features, and thrown over them the most lively and appropriate colouring. Those

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