The New International Encyclopædia/Sallust

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SAL′LUST (Gaius Sallustius Crispus) (B.C. 80-34). A Roman historian, born at Amiternum, in the Sabine country. Though of a plebeian family, he rose to official distinction, first as quæstor about B.C. 59, and afterward as tribune of the people in 52, when he joined the popular party against Milo, who in that year had killed Clodius. His reputation for morality was never high; and his intrigue with Milo's wife is assigned as the cause of his being expelled in 50 from the senate, although his attachment to Cæsar's party is a more plausible reason of his expulsion. In the Civil War he joined the camp of Caesar; and in 47, when Cæsar's fortune was in the ascendent, he was made prætor-elect, and was consequently restored to his former rank. When in Campania, at the head of some of Cæsar's troops, who were about to be transported to Africa, he nearly lost his life in a mutiny. In 46, however, we find him engaged in Cæsar's African campaign, at the close of which he was left as Governor of Numidia. His administration was sullied by various acts of oppression, particularly by his enriching himself at the expense of the people. He was, for these offenses, accused before Cæsar, but seems to have escaped being brought to trial. His immense fortune, so accumulated, enabled him to retire from the prevailing civil commotion into private life, and devote his remaining years to those historical works on which his reputation rests. He died in B.C. 34. His histories, which seem to have been begun only after his return from Numidia, are: First, the Catilina or Bellum Catilinarium, descriptive of Catiline's conspiracy in 63; second, the Jugurtha, or Bellum Jugurthinum, describing the war between the Romans and Jugurtha, the King of Numidia. These, the only genuine works of Sallust which have reached us entire, are of great but unequal merit. The quasi-philosophical reflections which are prefixed to them are of no value, but the histories themselves are powerful and animated, and contain effective speeches of his own composition, which he puts into the mouths of his chief characters. With its literary excellence, however, the value of the Jurgurtha stops, as in military, geographical, and even chronological details, it is very inexact. Of Sallust's lost work, Historiarum Libri Quinque, only fragments exist, some of which were found as late as 1886. Sallust has the merit of having been the first Roman who wrote what we now understand by history. The most convenient edition of the complete text of Sallust's works is that of Eussner (Leipzig, 1893). There are also good editions by Jordan (Berlin, 1887) and Dietsch (Leipzig, 1884); and of the Catiline and Jugurtha by Capes (Oxford, 1884). The most accessible translations are those of Watson (New York, 1859) and Mongan (1864).