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had literary aspirations. They certainly bore no fruit at that time.

Sallust from the first espoused the popular cause, of which Caesar was already the chief champion. It was probably during Caesar's first consulship in 59 B.C., that Sallust was elected to the quaestorship, the first step in political preferment at Rome. Since Sulla's time the office brought with it a seat in the Senate. Some years later we meet him again, as tribune of the Commons. The times were stormy; bloody street-fights between the hired bands of P. Clodius, the chief democratic ruffian, and the henchmen of T. Annius Milo, the champion of the senate, were the order of the day. Law-abiding citizens feared a catastrophe from hour to hour. At last it came. Clodius was slain by Milo. The corpse was brought to the Forum. Excited throngs hurried to gaze once more on the features of the dead leader. Everything was ready for an explosion. Patriotism made moderation and prudent counsels the duty of every citizen, especially of every leader. But Sallust obeyed party passion rather than patriotism. With the other young leaders of the popular party, Sextus Clodius, Munatius Plancus, and Pompeius Rufus, he raised his voice, not to calm, but to excite the mob. He launched forth a furious harangue against Milo. Suddenly a new impulse seized the frantic crowds. Clodius' corpse was carried into the Curia Hostilia; the benches were torn up and gathered into a heap, and the senate-house became the funeral pile of Rome's foremost ruffian. The reaction came soon. Plancus, Rufus, and Clodius, went into exile, but Sallust escaped. Not for long, however. Two years afterwards (50 B.c.) the censor Appius Claudius Pulcher struck Sallust’s name, along with many others, off the official list of the Senate, on the ground that he led a scandalous life. Unluckily there is too much reason to think that the charge was not baseless; and yet it is hard to believe that the censor's action was not dictated chiefly by politics. Like many other prominent men in the popular party, Sallust took refuge in Caesar's camp. When, in the year following, Caesar entered Rome as its master, Sallust received the quaestorship as the reward of his services, and again became a senator. During the civil war he fought on Caesar's side, and Caesar seems to have had confidence in his ability and loyalty. When the legions in Campania revolted and slew the senators sent to them by the dictator, he intrusted Sallust with the delicate mission of bringing them back to their allegiance. Sallust was unsuccessful and barely escaped with his life. In fact, it took all of Caesar's magnetism and moral sway to master the revolt. When Caesar crossed into Africa to put down the Pompeian forces there, Sallust at the head of a fleet seized the island of Cercina, and its well-stored granaries, and relieved Caesar of anxiety on the subject of his supplies. In short, he rendered such service to his chief during this campaign, that after the battle of Thapsus (46 B.C.) he was rewarded with the governorship of the enlarged province of Africa. The praetorship had been conferred on him some time before. In his province Sallust seems to have been the typical Roman governor whom he denounces so eloquently in his writings. When he returned he was assailed by numerous charges of bribery and extortion. He was tried by Caesar, who acquitted him : after his acquittal Sallust retired from political life, though some passages in his writings lead us to suspect that the measure of his ambition was far from full. Sallụst's acquittal by Caesar no more establishes his innocence than his condemnation by Appius Claudius Pulcher, in 50 B.C., proves his guilt of the crimes laid to his charge. So much is certain, that when Sallust retired into private life, he was a very rich man. His palace, at the foot of the Quirinal Hill, which was discovered in 1885, astounds us to-day by its size and the remains of its splendor. Only the master of great wealth could have reared it. Shortly after Sallust's retirement, Caesar met his doom; and if Sallust had still any ambitious hopes, this event must have put an end to them.

In his leisure, Sallust's active mind turned to literature. Modern critics are agreed that it was only now that he began to write the works which have immortalized his name. His

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history of Catiline's conspiracy was the first result of his literary activity. It was probably written in 43 B.C. and published in 42. Sallust next wrote his history of the Jugurthine war: this, as well the history of Catiline's war, has come down to us.

His third, and perhaps most important, work did not meet with the same good fortune. It dealt with the history of the Roman Republic from 78 B.C. to 66 B.C., and would have shed much needed light on an interesting part of Roman history. Four speeches and two letters are all that remains of the work. Sallust was not destined to enjoy his literary leisure for a long time. In 36 B.C. some say as early as 39 B.C.— he died, leaving his palace and his famous gardens to his sister's grandson, who had adopted his name. Sallust's mansion subsequently became one of the favorite residences of the Roman emperors.


To Sallust belongs the honor of being Rome's first historian in the true sense of the term. Before him the Roman writers of history followed the annalistic method. They were chroniclers rather than historians. Sallust, instead of following in their footsteps, went to Greece for his model, and chose Thucydides. Like the Greek writer, Sallust not merely recorded facts, but strove to give a picture of a period, to trace the connection of events, and to study their causes and effects. Like Thucydides, too, he chose for his subjects periods either contemporary or near to his own times. Furthermore, he largely modelled his style upon that of the Athenian historian, and even borrowed reflections and special passages. He was an apt and successful scholar, as is shown by the fact that he, in turn, became the model of Tacitus, the greatest of Roman historians; and yet he fell below the excellence of the Greek writer. From Thucydides, also, he borrowed the practice of introducing speeches supposed to have been delivered by the actors in his historical dramas; for none of his inserted speeches are genuine. We shall more easily understand the liberty thus taken, if we recall that even so good a scholar as Cicero regarded history as a branch of rhetoric, and that the ancient historians looked upon the form of their works as at least equal in importance to their historical correctness. Their histories were, above all, works of literary art. That Sallust, however, duly felt the historian's duty to present the facts correctly, we may infer from the choice of his subjects. With the incidents of Catiline’s conspiracy he must have been familiar; for he was an eyewitness. His Histories included the years of his boyhood and youth, whilst his residence in Numidia as its governor must have given him unusual opportunities for becoming acquainted with the story of Jugurtha's war. That he consulted earlier writers when necessary, we know from his quoting Sisenna, and from the charges made against him by his enemies, that he borrowed obsolete words from the elder Cato. He also sought verbal information from the actors and witnesses of the events he portrays; for instance, in ch. 48. 9 of the Bellum Catilinae he repeats statements made to him by the triumvir Crassus. It does not seem too bold to assume that he learned many important facts from his wife Terentia, who at the time of Catiline’s plot was married to Cicero. Still, Sallust cannot be called a careful historian, in the modern sense of the expression. Students will infer this from his errors in the chronological order of the incidents recounted in the Bellum Catilinae, to which attention is called in the notes.

Was Sallust a truthful and impartial historian? It would be difficult to convict him of deliberate falsehood. Indeed, when we bear in mind that he was a contemporary of many of the events he narrates, and that he was the friend or enemy of some of the principal actors in his story, we must accord him no little praise for his fairness. Some critics tell us that the aim of the Bellum Catilinae, for instance, was to clear Caesar's reputation. If they are right, they must nevertheless concede that Sallust is far from being an indiscriminate advocate of Caesar. His pen-portrait of the great statesman and general, a masterpiece like all his character-painting, is not a fulsome eulogy; indeed, it might readily stand for the verdict of modern scholarship. Cicero, it is true, is relegated to the background as far as possible; and yet he is optumus consul ; he is the man upstart though he was — to whom, in Rome's crisis, her aristocrats turned to save the commonwealth ;' he is the orator whose brilliant speech was so useful to the republic.2 From party spirit, Sallust is not as free as he claims to be. His Jugurthine war is one long indictment of the senatorial party. It is hard to understand how in the Bellum Catilinae he could tax the nobility with withholding the honors of a triumph from the nobles Q. Marcius Rex and Q. Metellus Creticus,8 when it was well known that Pompey and his partisans were the real obstacles. But perhaps Sallust forgot that Pompey was not at that time the chief of the senatorial party. Perhaps the suggestion that Pompey procured the assassination of young Cn. Piso in Spain 4 is also inspired by partisanship. So much is certain, that the Pompeians, and especially Pompey's freedman Lenaeus, bore Sallust a bitter grudge, and assailed him without measure both as a man, a historian, and a writer. However, admitting that Sallust is not without blemish as a historian, his merits, it must be conceded, far outweigh his faults, and the picture he has drawn of Rome in the days of Catiline, if perhaps unfair to one or another of his characters, in the main gives us a correct impression of the last days of the Roman republic.


Sallust's merits as a writer were acknowledged without stint by Roman writers and critics under the Empire. Quintiliau, generally a man of sober judgment, does not hesitate to match him against Thucydides. The great historian Tacitus calls him rerum Romanarum florentissimus auctor. He paid him a still greater compliment by taking him as his model for style. And yet the ancient critics were by no means indiscriminate ad

i Bellum Cat. XXIII. 5. 2 Ibid. XXXI. 6. 8 Ibid. XXX.4. 4 Ibid. XIX. 5.

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