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C. SALLUSTIUS CRISPUS.
LIFE OF SALLUST.
GAIUS SALLUSTIUS CRISPUS was born in the year B.C. 86, at Amiternum, an ancient Sabine town, situated in the heart of the Apennines, about sixty miles northeast of Rome. Of his early youth we have no definite information. From his writings, however, it is evident that he was a diligent student of both Greek and Latin literature. Indeed, as he tells us in his introduction to the Bellum Catilīnae, he was at first inclined to devote his life to historical studies. But at that time there was very little encouragement to enter the field of literature; and Sallust, like most young Romans of ability, was drawn into the whirl of politics. As he was a plebeian by birth, he naturally identified himself with the people's party, and always remained a consistent democrat.
We first hear of Sallust as tribune of the plebs in 52. For some time trouble had been brewing between two notorious demagogues, Clodius and Milo. Clodius had hired a band of gladiators as a body guard, and Milo had not been slow to follow his example. In consequence of this, the streets of Rome were disturbed by almost daily conflicts between these desperadoes. At last, on the 20th of January, 52, the two gangs met, - this time apparently by accident, - and, in the struggle which followed, Clodius, being wounded, was dragged off and slain by the ruffians of Milo. Sallust, it is said, had once been severely beaten by Milo for being too attentive to
his dissolute wife. Whether he bore him a grudge for this thrashing, or merely seized this opportunity of attacking him as a political opponent, we do not know; but at any rate it is certain that Sallust made several impassioned speeches against Milo, and did everything in his power to increase the fury of the mob at the murder of Clodius. Milo was soon forced into exile. But, two years later, the senatorial party had its revenge through Appius Claudius, the censor, who expelled Sallust and several other members of the popular party from the Senate. Sallust was removed on the ground that he was leading a shamefully immoral life. In all probability he was no worse than many who were allowed to remain; but it was a convenient excuse for paying off old scores.
When the civil war broke out in 49, Sallust promptly went to Caesar's camp, and soon afterward took part in the disastrous campaign against Pompey in Illyricum. In 47, as praetor-elect, he was reinstated in the Senate.
He seems to have won the entire confidence of Caesar, who sent him on several important missions. For instance, when, on the eve of starting for Africa, Caesar's veterans had mutinied and had slain the senators who ventured to address them, Caesar finally deputed Sallust to confer with them. He undertook this dangerous task, but failed to conciliate the angry soldiers, and barely escaped with his life. However, he was more successful in the campaign in Africa, during which he rendered valuable assistance to Caesar by capturing the island of Cercina and supplying him with the grain which the Pompeians had deposited there. After the war, Sallust received the proconsulship of the reorganized province of Africa. Here, like most Roman provincial governors, he amassed an immense fortune. On returning to Rome he was tried before Caesar for extortion, but was acquitted. He used his wealth in laying out the