« IndietroContinua »
In preparing a new edition of Sallust for the press, the editor has taken the greatest care to make such alterations and improvements, in the work, as may render it a still more useful guide to the student than its predecessors have proved. The principal changes will be found to consist in a more enlarged commentary on the Jugurthine war, in the placing of this production of Sallust's before the narrative of the conspiracy of Catiline, and in the two Indexes, the one Geographical, the other Historical, which have been appended to the work. The enlargement of the notes on the Jugurthine war has been made at the request of several instructors, who thought that a more ample commentary on this part of the historian's labours was needed by their pupils. The change introduced into the body of the work, by placing the narrative of the war with Jugurtha before the account of Catiline's conspiracy, cannot but meet with the approbation of all who lay claim to any
acquaintance with Roman literature, or even with Roman history. The old arrangement violates the order of time, since the attempt of Catiline to overthrow the government of his country was subsequent to the war with Jugurtha by a period of nearly fifty years. The impression produced, therefore, on the mind of the student, from his being required to read the two works in an inverted order, must, of necessity, be a confused one. In the account of Catiline's conspiracy, for example, he will find frequent allusions to the calamitous consequences of Sylla's strife with Marius, and will see
of the profligate partisans of the former rallying around the standard of Catiline; while, in the history of the Jugurthine war, if he be made to peruse it after the other, in the ordinary routine of school-reading, he will be introduced to the same Sylla, just entering on a public career, and standing high in the favour and confidence of Marius! How, too, will he be able to appreciate, in their full force, the remarks of Sallust relative to the successive changes in the Roman form of government, and the alternate ascendency of the aristocratic and popular parties, if he be called upon to direct his attention to results before he is made acquainted with the causes that produced them? The only argu ment adduced in favour of the old arrangement is, that Sallust composed the narrative of Catiline’s conspiracy before that of the Jugurthine war, and that all the manuscripts, and nearly all the editions of the historian,
follow this same order, and place the account of the conspiracy first. Such an argument, however, if it be really deserving of the name, must weigh but little when positive utility is placed in the opposite scale. The order, moreover, for which we contend, is no novelty on the continent of Europe, as may be seen from the works of the President De Brosses, the Abbé Cassagne, and M. Du Rozoir. The last mentioned editor, indeed, expresses his very great surprise that the arrangement in question has not by this time be come a general one.
With regard to the Indexes that have been added to the work, it may be sufficient to remark, that the object, in preparing them, was to relieve the commentary from what might have proved too heavy a pressure of materials, and have deterred from, rather than invited, a perusal. The geographical and historical matter, with a very few slight exceptions, now stands by itself, and may be consulted with more convenience, and it is hoped, with more decided advantage.
The biographical account of Sallust, and the sketch of his writings, which have been given in the previous editions under the ordinary form, now assume the character of an imaginary conversation, a mode of imparting information which the editor has recently adopted
urse of College-Lectures on Ancient Literature, and which he has found to be extremely well calculated for eliciting and ensuring attention.