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In the passages quoted from Sallust (as from other authors) in the Notes, the references are to chapter and paragraph, not to page and line.
I. THE LIFE AND WORKS OF SALLUST.
SCARCELY any of the men who were most prominent in Latin literature were born in Rome itself, or were members of the noble families which resided chiefly in the capital, and C. Sallustius Crispus was no exception to the rule. He came of a plebeian stock, for he was afterwards tribune of the commons, and of a family in which we hear only of equestrian rank (Tac. Ann. 3. 30. 3). His native place was Amiternum in the Sabine highlands, which were the seat in early days of a hardy population famed for their simple life and homely virtues.
The Claudian family indeed, which was of Sabine race, and whose ancestor is spoken of by Vergil (Aen. 7. 706) in close connexion with the bands of Amiternum, bore a very different character in Roman story, and no such features can be traced in the life and works of Sallust. The year of his birth, 86 B.C., was the date of the capture of Athens, and of Sulla's career of conquest in the East, which was soon followed by a reign of terror throughout Central Italy, by which the great dictator thought to secure the ascendancy of the great governing families of Rome, and the permanence of the old forms of Senatorian rule. All opposition was stifled for a while by a policy of merciless repression, but the desolation caused by civil warfare in the country and the proscriptions in the city left bitter memories which lingered on during the growing years of Sallust, and steadily increased the strength of the popular reaction. The ruling families were far too exclusive to attract to their side a young man of ambition who had no great name or powerful connexions at his back. There were no distinct professions in the social life of Rome, such as Law and Medicine, and the Civil Service, now present. Literature had no career to offer; and the readiest course was to swell the
cry for popular rights, and choose a party leader who could help him to push on. It was in this way probably that he became tribunus plebis in 52 B. C., the year in which Clodius was murdered in the fray with Milo, and Sallust certainly helped to avenge him, possibly from friendship for the fallen demagogue, or, as ancient writers tell us, from hatred of Milo, with whose wife he had intrigued, and from whose righteous anger he had barely escaped with life and limb (loris bene caesum, Aul. Gell. 17. 18). The story is given on the authority of Varro, a grave and honest man, as also of Asconius, to say nothing of the later writers, and we cannot easily discredit evidence so attested, though the zeal which Sallust showed in stirring up the people's anger against Milo, and against Cicero, who came forward as his advocate, may be otherwise explained as prompted by the interests of party or of justice. Two years afterwards he was degraded from the Senate by the censor Appius Claudius, and the ground assigned was the scandal of his licentious life. There must have been some foundation for the charge; for true as it may be that in this and in like cases the censor was believed to act in the spirit of a partisan rather than a judge, yet precedent required him to state some colourable reasons when he struck names off the Senate's roll; and Cicero says that Appius was acting like a rigid moralist in the hope possibly that men might forget his own questionable antecedents (persuasum est ei, censuram lomentum aut nitrum esse, ad Fam. 8. 14).
We might indeed treat as mere malignant gossip the charges contained in the forgery of later date, called the Invective of Cicero against Sallust, where we read how he ruined himself by riotous living, and brought his father's grey hairs in sorrow to the grave, how he disgraced himself by nameless vices, and owned his infamy before the Senate (5. 14). So too we might disregard the epithets of 'spendthrift, winebibber, and debauchee,' with which his memory was blackened by Lenaeus, a freedman of Pompeius, who resented the terms in which the historian had spoken of his patrons (Suetonius Gramm. 15). But after making all allowance for the fact that in those days of faction the foulest calumnies were banded to and fro, and few could hope to pass with an unsullied name, still we must own that the grave charges of the disorders of his earlier life come to us
through many channels, and we have no evidence on which to set aside the verdict of his own and later ages. (Asconius, Schol. ad Hor. S. 1. 2. 41, Macrobius S. 3. 13. 9, Servius ad Verg. Aen. 6. 612, Dion Cass. 40. 63, Lactantius Inst. Div. 2. 12.)
But the Civil War was near at hand, and Caesar was not careful of the antecedents of his partisans. The men of tarnished fame or ruined fortunes found a haven of refuge in his camp, and looked to his unfailing bounty to open up for them a new career. Sallust among others joined his cause, and was ready for active service in the field. His first command was in Illyricum, where he gained no distinction (Orosius 6. 15). Still he had for his reward, in 47 B.C., a praetorship to raise him to the Senatorian rank which he had forfeited before (Dion Cass. 42. 52). Soon after he was in imminent danger of his life from the mutinous soldiers whom he was commissioned to lead from Campania to the campaign in Africa, and who pursued him almost to the gates of Rome, where Caesar alone could pacify. their fury. Next year he was sent with a detachment of the fleet from Leptis to seize the stores of the enemy lodged in the island of Cercina. This he achieved with full success (De Bello Afric. 34), and at the close of the year, when the war came to an end, he was left to rule as proconsul the newlyannexed kingdom of Numidia, which became the subject province of Nova Africa (Bell. Afr. 97).
We have no details of his administrative work, but it would seem that, like so many of the unscrupulous governors of the Republic, he enriched himself at the expense of the provincials, who vainly tried to call him to account when he returned to Rome with his ill-gotten wealth. This information comes to us indeed from questionable sources, fron the forged invective written in the name of Cicero (7. 19), and the history of Dion Cassius, who seems always ready to accept the worst story to a man's discredit (43.9). But the charges tally with the fact that he lived afterwards in state in his great house on the Quirinal, which, with his splendid gardens (horii preciosissimi, Ps. Cic. Inv. 7. 19), bore his name still centuries later, though they had become an imperial residence where Vespasian lived and Nerva died, and Aurelian enjoyed his covered portico a thousand paces long (Dion C. 66. 10, Vopisc. 49). It was
there too that were found some of the noble works of ancient art which adorn the sculpture galleries of modern times. We have no reason to believe that his family was rich, or his own means ample at an earlier date, and to a Roman of his times there seemed no readier road to fortune than to sweep into his coffers the plunder of a province. For the men of the world and politicians of that age the moral standard was a low one; Sallust probably was not much better nor much worse than many others round him, and nothing would be known about the immoralities of his private life, and the grave abuses of official power, if jealousy and party spirit had not dragged them forth into the light of day. The moralists of a later age indeed could not but contrast the severe judgments of the writer with the reported vices of the man; they could not forgive him his censorious tones (seriae illius et severae orationis, A. Gell. 17. 18), or his complaints of the luxury around him (alienae luxuriae objurgator, Macrob. 3. 13. 9), or his lofty moral maxims (servivit foedissimis voluptatibus, suamque ipse sententiam pravitate dissolvit, Lactant. 2. 12). He might deplore indeed the follies of the past and hold aloof from public life in later years, but it seemed an easy thing to retire from the contest when the prize was won, and to put a polish on his cheap regrets while living in luxurious case. It might be that his repentance was sincere, and went beyond the meaning of his words, but while he confessed to some of the frailties of youth he spoke perhaps in too selfrighteous tones of his freedom from the faults of others (cum ab reliquorum malis moribus dissentirem, Cat. 3. 5).
He is said to have married Terentia, the wife whom Cicero had divorced (Hieron. adv. Jov. 1), but was childless probably, as he adopted a grandson of his sister (Tac. Ann. 3. 30. 3). After Caesar's death he retired from the world of politics, and returned to the literary interests of early days. His leisure at any rate was well employed. In it was produced not only the two treatises which are preserved for us entire, but also a much longer history of the period which followed Sulla's death, of which some fragments merely now remain. His own life was cut short in 35, four years before the time of civil strife was closed by the final victory of Actium, and the Augustan age of literature began.