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Sallust

Sallust (Caius Sallustius Crispus)sălˈəst, 86 B.C.–c.34 B.C., Roman historian. He was tribune of the people (52 B.C.) and praetor (46). He was ejected (50) from the senate ostensibly for adultery, but more probably because of his partisanship for Caesar. He served with Caesar after his praetorship and was his governor in Numidia; he was subsequently accused of misusing his governorship for personal gain. His principal works are the Bellum Catilinae, on the conspiracy of Catiline and his account of the Jugurthine War, Bellum Jugurthinum. His history of Rome is extant only in fragments; it probably covered the period 78 B.C. to 67 B.C. There are also two letters, in rhetorical style, from Sallust to Caesar, the authenticity of which has been greatly disputed. As a historian Sallust was important as one of the first to write historical monographs dealing with sharply limited events and periods. Although his style is consciously archaic, it is distinguished by its terseness and directness. His character sketches are particularly impressive and vivid, and his work has found as many imitators as critics.

See studies by D. C. Earl (1961) and R. Syme (1964); bibliography by A. D. Leeman (rev. ed. 1965).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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