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The text here adopted is that of H. Jordan (2nd ed., 1876), who has taken for his main authority the MS. of the National Library of Paris, which is known as Sorb. 500 or P, following it even in such occasional inconsistencies of orthography as seem due to the variations of archaic usage, and not to obvious blunders.
Brevity has been studied throughout in the Notes, and no attempt has been made to deal exhaustively with the exegetical literature upon the subject, or to discuss the character and value of the MSS1. It has been thought desirable to illustrate in some detail the influence of Sallust on the language and style of Tacitus, as well as his own probable obligations to Thucydides and others; but parallel passages have been referred to sparingly in other cases, though ample stores have been collected in the Commentaries of Kortte, Kritz, Fabri, and others.
In the Introduction mention has been made of the chief authorities to be consulted, but an article of M. Renan, entitled “La Société Berbère' (Revue des deux-mondes, 1 Sept., 1873), should have been also specified in connection with the characteristics of the native races of Northern Africa.
1 Cf. the Prefaces to the ist and 2nd editions of Jordan, and his article in Hermes, vol. i.
Page 175, line 39, for 'Aul.' read 'A.' (and in several other places).
192, 39, dele 'however.'
which regular usage seems to require.'
*** 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.
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 ruie. 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
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