Abram Ring

in Classics

ISBN: 9780195389661
Published online April 2011 | | DOI:

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Gaius Sallustius Crispus (86–35? bce) was born at Amiternum, about 93 kilometers northeast of Rome. He may have been the first senator in his family, which was no doubt of local importance. He was probably quaestor around 55 bce and certainly tribune of the plebs in 52 bce—one of those who opposed Cicero and Milo that year. In 50 bce, he was expelled from the Senate, allegedly for immorality. As a partisan of Julius Caesar, he was active in the Roman Civil War (49–46 bce). He and other Caesarians were defeated by Marcus Octavius in the summer of 49 bce. In 47 bce, he nearly got killed when trying to suppress a mutiny in Campania. However, as praetor in 46 bce, he aided the Caesarian party during the African campaign by capturing enemy supplies at Cercina and was subsequently made proconsular governor of the province of Africa Nova in Numidia (modern Algeria). He allegedly acquired tremendous personal wealth from this office, which he used to purchase a mansion and rich gardens in Rome, and only escaped charges of corruption through Caesar’s intervention. Around the time of Caesar’s death in 44 bce, Sallust retired from political pursuits—whether willingly or compelled by anxiety—to write history, beginning with two short monographs, Bellum Catilinae (War with Catiline) and Bellum Iugurthinum (Jugurthine War), probably from the late 40s. Respectively, they treated events from 63 bce and 111–105 bce. His ultimate work, the Historiae (Histories), which covered Roman history from 78 bce, has survived only in a series of fragments, though a few of these are lengthy, complete speeches. The authenticity of the “Invective against Cicero” and the “Letters to Caesar” has remained a source of debate, though the invective has had fewer defenders than the letters.

Article.  8539 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Art and Architecture ; Classical History ; Classical Literature ; Classical Philosophy

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