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Sallust (Loeb Classical Library) Hardcover – 1 Jul 1989

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 470 pages
  • Publisher: Loeb; Revised edition edition (1 July 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674991281
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674991286
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3 x 16.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,245,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Sallust wrote his `history' of the `conspiracy' of Catilina between c.44 and c.35 BCE, 20 to 30 years after the events and he probably relied on Cicero's published speeches against Catilina. But whereas Cicero wanted to portray himself in the heroic role of the consul who foiled the conspiracy, Sallust was more interested reflecting on the past and present and applying the lessons from one to the other.

Here he is particularly interested in the concept of decadence, the anti-Roman values of Catilina's time which, in numerous Roman narratives, leads to the fall from past Roman austerity and virtue to present moral decline.

As well as being of intrinsic interest in itself, Sallust's prose is far more literary than Cicero's oral speeches. Ben Johnson used Sallust as the basis for his play Catiline (1611) and it might also have influenced Shakespeare's Roman plays: Coriolanus, Julius Caesar, and Antony & Cleopatra (though he also relied on Livy and Plutarch). Well worth reading and the Latin's not too difficult.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Recital of the Late Roman Republic's Turbulent Years 6 July 2005
By Octavius - Published on
Crispus Sallustius (86-34 B.C.) was a plebeian who became a follower of Julius Caesar. He himself admits to having had a turbulent and mischievous youth in which he was expelled from the Senate at one point. This Loeb edition is probably the best purchase as it contains all of Sallust's works in one volume. Loeb is also one of the few publications that offers the reader the work in both its original Latin as well as in English.

Although the letters and speeches are interesting in their own right, the best works by Sallust are regarding the wars against Jurguthra and Catiline. Both seek to show how immorality and corruption, almost in the style of Dostoyevsky, prevails among those who hold or seek to hold the reigns of power. Juguthra was a Numidian/Moorish Prince who sought to take the throne from his brother by cajoling the Roman Senate who honored him for having served in Spain. Jugurthra's thirst for power was his own demise as Rome soon went to war against him for his daring efforts. Sallust approaches Catiline as the symptom of a social malaise resulting from a corrupt aristocracy. Despite this framework to his monogram, Sallust is far less biased of Catiline than Cicero's account in his Catilinarian speeches. Catiline was a patrician whose family had not reached any high office for over two hundred years. He served under Sulla and hoped to attain the consulship after his service with the dictator. As with many aristocrats, Catiline was in heavy debt and failed to win the consulship of 63 which he lost to Cicero and his patrician co-candidate. He hated Cicero for having won the consulship without being anything more than a new man with no ancestral distinction. Feeling that Rome was lost to new men such as Cicero or other lowly plebeians, Catiline organized an intricate conspiracy to carry out a coup with other nobles and even Gauls to set Rome on fire and slaughter the nobility along with Cicero. Cicero foiled his plot and Catiline chose to leave Rome to join his army of disenfranchized Marians, Sullan veterans, and whoever believed in his cause against the wealthy. He engaged in a battle against Roman forces in the north and fought to the death along with most of his followers.

The other works are rhetorical speeches or letters attributed to Lepidus, Phillipus, Cotta, Pompey, Macer and Mithridates. Although these are interesting to read, they are not as detailed or encompassing as his 'Wars.' As with the invectives, they are probably to a great extent fabrications of the author's imagination as to what the persons would have said: a style seen as perfectly normal in antiquity. The invectives are also pseudo-speeches but historians tend to think that they were not written by Sallust but merely attributed to him.

In any case, Sallustius is an important author as he is one of the few authors whose works we have who were involved with the politics of the Late Roman Republic and therefore were either first hand witnesses of the events or knew many who were. This Loeb edition is again the best deal one can get for $21 as it has all of Sallust's works in one volume offering the reader the work in both its original Latin as well as in English. Enjoy!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine edition 17 July 2009
By Christopher H. - Published on
Verified Purchase
Sallust is, of course, an essential entry on the reading list of any enterprising student of the Latin historians. As one expects of the Loeb series, this edition of Sallust is very good: J C Rolfe's translation is in his usual impeccable style (but then, who buys a Loeb edition for the translation?), and the Latin text, though sporting a number of careless errors which made me frown -- like 'falssi' for 'falsi' in the Speech to Cæsar -- is generally clean. The Oxford Classical Texts edition, which I obtained and read at the same time, contains a long section of intriguing fragments of Sallust's Histories that the Loeb book does not, and its apparatus criticus is much more comprehensive than Rolfe's. Of course, the Oxford text does not include a translation, so ultimately, the choice between them, for one seeking a definitive edition of Sallust, will come down to individual preference and needs. Both are, in their own respects, excellent.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has its good points 7 Nov. 2009
By Ileen S. - Published on
Verified Purchase
I bought this book to read alongside Ramsey's text on the Catiline conspiracy for a course that I am taking. I noted that the translation is from 1920 and the writer admits to losing some of Sallust's writing style in the translation. I like the fact that you have the Latin text on the left side and the English translation on the right so that you can compare the two but it is a very interpretive translation. It will do if you simply want to know what Sallust wrote but I would have preferred if it could have preserved some of his style of writing.
He is not quite as plain spoken as Caesar but does not have the run on sentences that make Cicero a difficult read. All in all, it is a decent read but an old fashioned translation.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 23 Nov. 2015
By Ginny L. - Published on
Verified Purchase
Excellent literal translation. Very helpful in able to follow the Latin
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