Sallust in Roman Biography

Sal'lust, [Lat. Sallus'tius ; Fr. Salluste, st'liist'; It. Sali.ustio, sil-loos'te-o,] (or, more fully, Caius Sallustius Crispus,) a celebrated Roman historian, who was born of a plebeian family at Amitemum in 86 B.C. He was elected tribune of the people in 52 B.C., and was expelled from the senate by the censors in 50 for alleged immoral conduct. He was a partisan of Caesar in the civil war. In the year 47 he obtained the office of praetor, and accompanied Caesar in his African campaign. He was appointed governor of Numidia by Caesar in 46 B.C. According to Dion Cassius, he enriched himself by the oppression and plunder of the people of that province. After the death of Julius Caesar he returned to Rome, and built a sumptuous palace on the Quirinal, with large gardens, still called Horti Sallustiani. Having retired from public life, he devoted his latter years to literary pursuits. He died in 34 B.C. The scandalous charges against the character of Sallust, made by several ancient and modem writers, may have been true, but, in the opinion of some of the best critics, they are far from having been established by any decisive evidence. He was much influenced by party spirit, and probably hated the aristocratic party more than he loved the plebeians. Sallust wrote a " History of the Conspiracy of Catiline," (" Bellum Catilinarium,") and a "History of the War between the Romans and Jugurtha," (" Helium Jugurthinum.") The speeches which he ascribes to Cato, Cxsar, and others in his histories, though probably expressed in the language of Sallust, give us, there is reason to believe, the substance of what was said by those eminent men. He also wrote a history of Rome for the period included between 78 and 66 B.C., which is lost. "The ancient critics," says Macaulay, "placed Sallust in the same rank with Livy ; and unquestionably the small portion of his works which has come down to us is calculated to give a high opinion of his ta'ents. But his style is not very pleasant ; and his most powerful work, the account of the conspiracy of Catiline, has rather the air of a clever party pamphlet than that of a history." (Essay on History in the "Edinburgh Review," 1828.) See Dks Brosses, "Vie de Salluste;" D. W. Moi.i.er, "De C. Sallustio," 1684; MiJl.l.KR, "C. Sallustius, nder historische Untersuchung," etc., 1817; F. D. Geri.ach, " Ueber den Geschichtsschreiber C. Sallustins Crispus," 1831 ; E. C. de Gkri.achh, " Etudes sur Salluste." etc., 1847; Bregolini, "Vita di C. C. Sallustio," 1802; "Nouvelle Biographie Generate;" " Frascr't Marine" for February, 1846.

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