Historiography on Sallust the Concern Thesis

  • Length: 15 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Drama - World
  • Type: Thesis
  • Paper: #57485643

Excerpt from Thesis :

C. Only fragments of these works, which include two letters and four speeches, survive (Sallust).

In the Preface to the Second Impression, John C. Rolfe (May 15, 1928) purports:

The part of the Introduction dealing with the manuscripts has been re-written in the light of the new classification of Axel W. Ahlberg (Prolegomena in Sallustium, Gteborg, 1911), which was followed by him in his Teubner text (Leipzig, 1919) and, except in some minor details, by B. Ornstein in the Bude Salluste (Paris, 1924); and the critical notes have been made to conform to that classification. Some changes have been made also in the section on the "pseudo-Sallustian" works, to which a good deal of attention has been devoted during the past decade. Finally, some errors have been corrected and a few additions made to the bibliography. (Thayer)

The story of Catiline's revolt, Thayer reports, proves interesting to students of Roman history previewing Caesar's revolution. It also serves as a warning, Thayer contends, to modern man in "dealing as it does with terrorism, the infiltration of republican government, and pre-mptive strikes at them to preserve liberty. In a similar sense, the war with Jugurtha deals with conducting a foreign war with a polarized citizenry, amidst a number of other concerns. The defeatist half may have been bribed by the enemy to call off the war, the story suggests.

Barbara Weiden Boyd reviews the book, Conspiracy Narratives in Roman History, written by Victoria Emma Pagen. Boyd recounts that by Pagan focuses on five conspiracies, reportedly familiar to the majority of serious students of Roman history, relating to the Catilinarian conspiracy of 63 BCE, as narrated by Sallust. Boyd reports the other four Pagen conspiracies to include:

the Bacchanalian affair of 186 BCE, as narrated by Livy;

the Pisonian conspiracy of 65 CE, as narrated by Tacitus;

the assassination of Caligula in 41 CE, as narrated by Josephus; and the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, as narrated by Appian. (Boyd)

Pagan's primary focuses on Sallust's monograph in her account of the Catilinarian conspiracy, along with the fact she reportedly merely scans the Ciceronian tradition attributes value to work by Sallust (Boyd).

c. Influence and Successors

The report by Simon Hornblower and Tony Spawforth, "Velleius Paterculus" contends that Sallust perceived the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC, as did Velleius, to be a turning-point in Roman history. This account by Hornblower, and Spawforth, which focuses on Velleius, rather than Sallust, points out that at least one other historian, Velleius, considered the phraseology in Sallust's work worth imitating. (Hornblower, and Spawforth).

In "The Death of Don Juan; Murder, Myth and Mayhem in Madrid," Robert Stradling notes an excerpt by one reformer who admired Sallust. Stradling purports this reformer received the attention of Olivares and the king when he "quoted Sallust to prove that when a kingdom reaches such a point of moral corruption that men dress like Women [...] it can be regarded as lost, and its empire at an end" (¶ 14). This account, along with a number of other repeated instances of others recounting Sallust's perceptions in recorded history, confirms that Sallust's words are still quoted to relate/relate to a particular point (Hornblower, and Spawforth; Stradling; Zumbrunnen). John Zumbrunnen, recounts that Nietzsche acknowledges in "What I Owe to the Ancients," noted in "Courage in the Face of Reality": Nietzsche's Admiration for Thucydides" that his debt concerns ns matters of style. In fact, Nietzsche rates the Roman style of writing to be far superior to that of the Greeks. Nietzsche asserts: "My sense of style, of the epigram as style, was awoken almost instantaneously on coming into contact with Sallust" (Zumbrunnen ¶ 11). No Greek could match the Roman style, Nietzsche contend, as the specific style he admired, in the Romans in general, particularly in Sallust, contained substance. Nietzsche describes the styles of Sallust and Thucydides to be similar. Zumbrunnen points out that Sallust admired, and endeavored to emulate Thucydides. In one particular notebook entry made during summer of 1878, Nietzsche comments on the "emaciated" style of speech Demosthenes became familiar with; that Thucydides practiced. In section 2 of "What I Owe to the Ancients," Nietzsche attributes credit to Thucydides for his " 'strong, stern, hard matter-of-factness instinctive to the older Hellenes,' something akin to the "compact, severe" style of Sallust" (Zumbrunnen ¶ 11).

Nietzsche's description of his reaction to Sallust provides another proof which additionally indicates a link between Nietzsche's appreciation of the styles Sallust and Thucydides. This connection suggests "something of the length of Nietzsche's struggle against Platonic illness and the enduring nature of the cure upon which he settled" ((Zumbrunnen ¶ 12).

The link also indicates that the initial encounter between Nietzsche and Sallust occurred at Schulpforta, the humanistic Gymnasium Nietzsche attended from the time he was 14 in 1858, until he matured at Bonn in 1864. Nietzsche' relates Corrsen, his honored teacher, expressing feeling astonished at the sudden academic vigor Sallust inspired in him (Nietzsche). Prior to this time, Nietzsche had been Corrsen's worst Latin scholar. Wilhem Corrsen, the Corrsen Nietzsche related to, guided Nietzsche history studies, as well as his study of Latin at Schulpforta. It indirectly appears likely that Nietzsche first read Thucydides at Schulpforta, indicated by letters Nietzsche wrote in 1863 to the headmaster at Schulpforta. Nietzsche asked "to borrow the Kruger edition of Thucydides and, one week later,...[asked] to have an edition of Thucydides bound" (Zumbrunnen ¶ 12). Nietzsche's first encounter with the history and its comparison to his first reading of Sallust, however, cannot be confirmed.

One may conclude, albeit from what Nietzsche writes in Twilight "of the Idols of the 'classically educated' youth' who finds a 'radical cure' in Thucydides" (Ibid.) that he may have been speaking autobiographically. He may have referred to himself; noting that he found relief in the History during his school days when he attended Schulpforta. No historian, however, specifically recorded details of this account.

Analysis of Sallust's version of Historians Works

Historians] have tried to discover in the facts patterns of meaning addressed to the enduring questions of human life"

Historiography Introduction section).

Theme(s) and reason(s) for writing

Steve Bonta records that in "Cicero, Catiline, and Conspiracy: Vying for Control, Lucius Catiline Conspired to Become Rome's Monarch, While Cicero Worked to Expose and Thwart His Plans and Keep Rome's Republic Alive," Sallust relates the story of Lucius Catiline, a dissolute patrician and senator. Catiline, graced with attractive features, intelligence, boundless endless energy, and remarkable personal magnetism, Sallust recounts, could endure not only hunger, freezing temperatures, and lack of sleep to an incredible extent, possessed a crafty, daring, and resourceful mind; capable of dissimulation, and pretense. Bonta reports Sallust wrote that Catiline was:

man of flaming passions, he was as covetous of other men's possessions as he was prodigal of his own.... His monstrous ambition hankered continually after things extravagant, impossible, beyond his reach."

Disaffected with republican government and determined to replace it with a monarchy, Catiline formed a secret society to prepare for a revolution. In morally decrepit Rome, he had no trouble attracting a following. Sallust informs us: "Amid the corruption of the great city Catiline could easily surround himself, as with a bodyguard, with gangs of profligates and criminals. Debauchees, adulterers, and gamblers, who had squandered their inheritances in gaming-dens, pot-houses, and brothels; anyone who had bankrupted himself to buy impunity for his infamous or criminal acts; men convicted anywhere of murder or sacrilege, or living in fear of conviction; cut-throats and perjurers, too, who made a trade of bearing false witness or shedding the blood of fellow citizens; in short, all who were in disgrace or afflicted by poverty or consciousness of guilt, were Catiline's intimate associates." (Bonta Master of Deceit section ¶ 2)

Its purpose and scope

Howatson, and Chilvers note that Sallust's work expounds on the causes of political events, along with relating the motives for men's actions. "His weaknesses lie in his vagueness and inaccuracy in chronological and geographical matters, and in his biased attitude to the popular-s and his hostility to the nobil-s, natural perhaps for a novus homo" (Howatson, and Chilvers). Sallust, albeit recognized merit in political adversaries, as well as identified faults in his own side.

Along with recording and informing readers then and now of historical events during the time of Rome's demise, Sallust, a friend and unabashed supporter of Caesar, wrote his mind (Bonta Debate in the Senate ¶ 2). At times, he would defend Caesar; other times he would expose someone he considered needing to be exposed, for example, Cicero. Due to the magnitude of the prestige of the Greek language in the arenas of art and learning, even the Romans wrote the first Roman historiography in Greek. After Cato the Elder first wrote Roman history in Latin, others followed his exampled. "Sallust, impressed by the work of Thucydides, developed a brilliant Latin style that combined ethical reflections with acute psychological insight" (Historiography Roman Historiography section). Sallust's political analysis, which was based…

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