Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust)

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Gaius Sallustius Crispus (Sallust)

1 Oct. 86-13 May 34 b.c.e.

Statesman, soldier, historian

Sources

Friend of Caesar. Sallust came from a family of knights in Amiternum, east of Rome. For his education he was sent to Rome, where his family owned a house. After some military service in the 60s, he fell on hard times and had to sell his family’s home in the capital. Subsequently, he is on record as Quaestor in 55 or 54, when he either delivered or wrote an invective speech against Cicero. During his first stint in the senate he was caught committing adultery with Fausta, Sulla’s daughter, the wife of an Annius Milo. In the late 50s he joined Julius Caesar, which may be why Caesar’s opponents had him expelled from the senate in 50 (ostensibly for his adultery with Fausta). He unsuccessfully held command of a legion of Caesar’s in 49. In 48 he was Quaestor again, thus being readmitted to the senate. In 47 he was almost killed in a mutiny, but in 46 he was Praetor and accompanied Caesar to Africa. He was rewarded by the governorship of Africa. After his return in 45 he was sued for gouging the provincials, but Caesar stopped the case. After Caesar’s death he retreated to private life and wrote his historical works, The War against Catiline (circa 42-41 B.C.E.), The War against Jugurtha (circa 41-40 B.C.E.), and The Histories (after 39 B.C.E.).

Sources

Donald C. Earl, “Sallust,” in Ancient Writers: Greece and Rome, volume 2, edited by T. James Luce (New York: Scribners, 1982), pp. 621-641.

Sir Ronald Syme, Sallust (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964).