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It will be my last offer of the kind. The demand for such works is too limited to induce me to persevere in this path. Classical literature is on the decline, as appears to me, in general. It is already gone in France and Italy, it droops here, and, perhaps, even in Germany it has seen its most palmy days. To this is to be added the practice which, I am told, prevails in many schools, of giving boys the mere text of an author, or, at most, with brief notes, and then explaining it to them by lecture, instead of furnishing them with all the legitimate aids, and ascertaining by examination whether they have used them as they should have done. I am not perhaps qualified to judge, but the latter appears to me to be the better mode.
In taking my leave of schools and the classics, I may be perhaps allowed to indulge in a little self-gratulation at having done more to elucidate Virgil, Horace, Ovid, and Sallust, than any preceding English scholar. My name may possibly be associated with theirs for some years to come. Yet I have been told by some that my
Horace was not wanted, by others that nothing remained to be done on Sallust. Judicet lector. No one has said, I believe, that my Virgil and Ovid were superfluous.
As I regard my Horace as my chef-d'auvre in this department, I have placed at the end of this volume some Additional Illustrations of it, which are, I think, not without value, but which I may never have the opportunity of inserting in the Commentary. In fine, I am content to be judged of, as a scholar and a critic, by my Horace and my Sallust.
January, 15, 1849.
LIFE OF SALLUST.
C. SALLUSTIUS CRISPUS was born at Amiternum ?, in the Vestinian portion of the Sabine country, on the Kalends of October, A. U. 666, the year of the consulate of C. Marius VII., L. Cinna II. His family was respectable, but, as it was in all probability Sabine, those writers who say that it was plebeian, give us a piece of needless information, for none could be Roman patricians but those whose family had been such at least as far back as A. U. 250, when the Sabine Claudii were admitted into their body; all other citizens were, therefore, plebeians, inasmuch as they were admissible to the tribunate of the people, from which the patricians alone were excluded.
Sallust probably came to Rome for his education, as was usual, at an early age. If we may give credit to those writers who were his enemies, he plunged headlong into vice and debauchery, and speedily ran through his property 3. We have it on better authority', that he was one of the many who shared the favours of the notorious Fausta, the daughter of Sulla the dictator, and wife of T. Annius Milo, and, being taken in the fact by her husband, he underwent a severe scourging and was obliged to pay a sum of money to escape worse consequences. Notwithstanding these excesses, if real, he seems to have cultivated literature assiduously, for he gives us to understand 5 that he had early formed the design of becoming a historian. He also entered the career of public honours, and is said “, probably truly, as it seems to have been the usual course, to have been one of the quæstors. As the legal age for this office was thirty-one years, he could not have held it previously to A.U. 698, or later than the following year ; for in 700 he was one of the tribunes of the people.
1 It lay in the mountains, not far from the source of the Aternus (Pescara).
2 See Clinton's Fasti, a. 86. Sallust was, therefore, one year younger than Catullus, and nearly twenty-two years younger than Cicero. 3 Pseud.-Cic. In Sall. Declam. c. v.
4 Varro ap. Gell. xvii. 18. 5 Cat. iv, 2.
In this year occurred the death of the notorious P. Clodius, who was slain by Milo on the Appian Road. We have it on the best authority, that Sallust eagerly co-operated with his colleagues, Pompeius Rufus and Munatius Plancus, in exciting the
rage of the populace against the slayer of their favourite 7. As Asconius, who gives us this information, says expressly 8 that he was Milo's enemy, and the story of his trigue with Fausta gives an adequate cause for his being so, we think that it receives some confirmation from this fact. It was, however, suspected 9, that he and Pompeius made it up with Milo and with Cicero, against whom, as Milo's defender, they were also bitterly hostile ; but this notion may have arisen only from the fact of their being less virulent than Plancus. In 702, Appius Claudius, and L. Piso, the father-in-law of Julius Cæsar, were censors, and the former, a violent political partizan, unimpeded by his colleague, made a rigorous purgation of the senate, expelling persons of all ranks and classes. Among these was Sallust'; the motive was beyond doubt political ?, for Appius was of the high aristocratic party ; the pretext may have been, as is said ?, the irregularity of Sallust's life.
The following year the war broke out between Cæsar and the aristocracy. Sallust, as might be expected, took the part of the former, and in the general restitution of their senatorian rank to those whom the censors had deprived of it4, Sallust shared, being for this purpose, it is said ", made Quæstor Urbanus a
6 Pseud.-Cic. ut sup.
9 Ascon. Argum.
2 Id. ib.
5 Pseud.-Cic. c. vi.