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Conspiracy of Catiline and the Jurgurthine War

Sallust

Book Overview: 

The Catiline Conspiracy and The Jugurthine War are the two separate surviving works of the historian commonly known as “Sallust”. Nearly contemporary to the events he describes, he is supposed to have been a retired officer of Caesar’s army. “Catiline” contains the history of the memorable year 63. Sallust describes Catiline as the deliberate foe of law, order and morality (although party politics may have influenced his view). Still, Sallust does recount Catiline’s noble traits, including his courage in the final battle. There is doubt among historians about whether Caesar was involved in the conspiracy; several of Catiline’s adherents who survived later joined Caesar’s side in his was against Pompey. The difficulty of Cicero’s position is thoroughly treated.

Jugurthine War records the war in Numidia c.112 BC. This war, which introduces the rivals Marius and Sulla to the Roman political scene, recounts the downfall and capture of the Numidian King Jugurtha. There is an exciting description of an agile Ligurian agent of the Roman side entering a besieged enemy city.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .When Nature," says Cicero, de Legg. i. 9, "had made other animals abject, and consigned them to the pastures, she made man alone upright, and raised him to the contemplation of heaven, as of his birthplace and former abode;" a passage which Dryden seems to have had in his mind when he translated the lines of Ovid cited above. Let us add Juvenal, xv, 146.

  "Sensum à coelesti demissum traximus arce,
  Cujus egent prona et terram spectantia."

  "To us is reason giv'n, of heav'nly birth,
  Denied to beasts, that prone regard the earth."

[6] All our power is situate in the mind and in the body—Sed omnis nostra vis in animo et corpore sita. All our power is placed, or consists, in our mind and our body. The particle sed, which is merely a connective, answering to the Greek dé, and which would be useless in an English translation, I h. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Sallust had a long political career, siding with the populists, who would eventually become the triumvirate of Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey. In many ways, Sallust's history resembles Caesar's memoirs twenty years later, but Caesar's biases are much more difficult to ferret out. If Sallust had been...more

The last years of the Roman Republic were a pretty wild time. Casear was running his army through Gaul, Pompey was battling out in the East and at home, there was discontent and riots. Two of the most interesting moments care rather early in the late period and were both covered by the same autho...more

Through some strange quirk, Sallust is one of the few ancient Roman historians whose two major works have come down to us more or less intact. I had read The Jugurthine War some eight years ago, and I finally decided to read The Conspiracy of Catiline.

While Sallust is a journeyman historian, very...more

This is one of those ancient works that arguably parallels our own times as some argue the things that happened within are evident in our own recent times and a sign of a possible crisis to come (though I would argue Rome went on for hundreds of years after the events in this book). This work foc...more

I would rate his account of the catiline conspiracy 2 stars and his description of the jugurthine war 4 stars

Отличный стиль: выдержанный и ёмкий, можно даже сказать, монументальный. При этом довольно живописный, с философскими отступлениями дидактического характера и выразительными речами (очень напоминает Фукидида). Читать стоит хотя бы ради этих образцовых речей.

Two stories from the Roman Republic
8 March 2011

I quite like books written by ancient historians, though we must remember the purposes of the ancient historians are a little different to modern historians (though I would argue that it is not all that different). The editor argued that ancient his...more

THE JUGURTHINE WAR/THE CONSPIRACY OF CATILINE. (ca. 40 B.C.). Sallust. ****.
I had not read any of Sallust’s histories before, so I was surprised at how contemporary-sounding they were. Of course, it might have been the translation, but I suspect that it was more a reflection of the author’s true...more

Sallust writes as a moral historian. He sees Rome's grandeur as the "good old days" of the Republic which have been ruined by leisure and luxury. It is refreshing to a modern reader interested in history to find history that does not purport merely to set out dry, objective facts, but to record h...more

The Jugurthine War is filled with good old Roman populist rhetoric and war heroism but I can make heads or tails of the Conspiracy of Catiline so I give it a mediocre rating.

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