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taste, or give repose to the mind, Sallust devoted himself to the society of refined and learned men, and to the pursuits of literature. His History must be regarded as a work of art, undertaken and finished from a love of elegant composition, and in the hope of leaving a monument which should perpetuate his memory. He is supposed to have selected Thucydides as his model in historical writing, and to have imitated, as nearly as possible, his condensed and nervous style. However this may be, his works still possess a distinct and individual character, and show that the author was gifted with a strong and penetrating mind, with no small share of eloquence, and great felicity of diction.
The most striking attribute of this author is his power of description. With a few bold and masterly touches, he places a whole scene before us; he at once excites and gratifies the imagination. So rapid, and yet so graphic, are his sketches, that they remind us of outline drawings, where a single stroke of the pencil gives a character to the whole piece. Indeed, his style is so condensed, and at the same time so expressive, that it might be called outline composition. A remarkable instance of this power of description occurs at the close of the one hundred and first section of the Jugurthine War. It is the picture of a battle-field at the end of the fight. At last, the enemy was routed on every side. Then might be seen a horrid spectacle on the extended plains. Here the Romans were pursuing; there, the enemy flying. Some were cut down; others made prisoners. Horses and men were struggling together; and many, who had been wounded, could neither fly nor bear to lie still: they would try to raise themselves up, and instantly fall to the ground again. In a word, the field, as far as the eye could reach, was strewed with weapons, armor, and dead bodies; and the soil between was red with the blood.' This description might be taken as a model of the graphic style of composition.
No less happy is our author in his portraits of distinguished individuals. He has the art of conveying to his readers, in a few words, the whole appearance, as well as the character of the person. The look and character of Catiline, for instance, are stamped forever by the masterly picture Sallust has given of him; and when we read of the dark and fitful expression of his countenance, and the ferocious gleam of his eyes; of his wicked and vengeful nature, and, above all, of his infernal lures for the ruin of young men, we are forcibly reminded of Retzsch's terrible picture of the Prince of Darkness playing with man for his soul, in the game of life.
The philosophical reflections, which we meet with in the course of the work, are less interesting and valuable than the descriptions and portraits. All that came within the reach of his observation - men, manners, conditions of society, events and scenes — are represented with a power that borders upon genius. But we learn from him more of the art than the philosophy of history; more of the talent of interesting and faithful narration of facts, than the deduction of great general principles. History, in his hands, is much more a picture than a moral or philosophical essay. The proper blending of the two probably constitutes the perfection of this kind of writing.
Sallust also wrote another History, in five books, which formed a sort of connecting link between the Jugurthine War and the Conspiracy of Catiline; of which only fragments remain. These have the same general characteristics as the Histories presented in this volume.
İ. OMNIS homines, qui sese student præstare ceteris animalibus, summa ope niti decet, ne vitam silentio transeant, veluti pecora, quæ natura prona, atque ventri obedientia, finxit. Sed nostra omnis vis in animo et corpore sita est: animi imperio, corporis servitio magis utimur: alterum nobis cum dis, alterum cum belluis commune est. Quo mihi rectius videtur, ingenii quam virium opibus gloriam quærere; et, quoniam vita ipsa, qua fruimur, brevis est, memoriam nostri quam maxume longam efficere. Nam divitiarum et formæ gloria fluxa atque fragilis est; virtus clara æternaque habetur. Sed diu magnum inter mortalis certamen fuit, vine corporis an virtute animi, res militaris magis procederet. Nam et, prius quam incipias, consulto; et, ubi consulueris, mature facto opus est. Ita utrumque, per se indigens, alterum alterius auxilio eget.
II. Igitur initio reges (nam in terris nomen imperii id primum fuit), divorsi, pars ingenium, alii corpus exercebant: etiam tum vita hominum sine cupiditate agitabatur; sua cuique satis placebant. Postea vero quam in Asia Cyrus, in Græcia Lacedæmonii et Athenienses