Sallust (86-c. 35 bc) is the earliest Roman historian of whom complete works survive, a senator of the Roman Republic and younger contemporary of Cicero, Pompey and Julius Caesar. His Catiline's War tells of the conspiracy in 63 bc led by L. Sergius Catilina, who plotted to assassinate numerous senators and take control of the government, but was thwarted by Cicero. Sallust's vivid account of Roman public life shows a Republic in decline, prey to moral corruption and internal strife. In The Jugurthine War he describes Rome's fight in Africa against the king of the Numidians from 111 to 105 bc, and provides a damning picture of the Roman aristocracy. Also included in this volume are the major surviving extracts from Sallust's now fragmentary Histories, depicting Rome after the death of the dictator Sulla.
The glory of wealth and physical beauty is fluid and fragile; but virtue is held brilliant and eternal' The Roman historian Sallust lived through troubled times. He deplored the moral and political decline of the Republic, and in his two monographs he set out to exemplify the reasons for the years of civil strife. Catiline's Conspiracy is an account of the rebellion against the state led by the disaffected Catiline. For Sallust it was 'especially memorable because of the unprecedented nature of the crime and the danger it caused'. Rome's fight against the king of Numidia in The Jugurthine War is a graphic depiction of power struggles in Rome and brutal battles in Africa that eventually resulted in the capture of Jugurtha.
Sallust's abrupt and distinctive style is the perfect vehicle for his moral urgency, bitter condemnation, and satirical cynicism. This new translation, which also includes Sallust's fragmentary Histories, captures his effects in an accessible English idiom, and provides a comprehensive introduction to his work as history and literature.
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