The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Sallustius Crispus



prcesul (leader in the dance), and a votes (leader in the song). The cult of the Pala-tinf Salii had to do with Mars, that of the Colline with Qulrinus; but the chief con­nexion of both was with the holy shields, ancilia. (See ancile with cut.) The chief business of the Salii fell in March, the beginning of the campaigning season. On March 1st they began a procession through the city, each of them dressed in an em- I broidered tunic, a bronze breastplate, and a peaked helmet, girt about with a sword, with one of the holy shields on the left arm, and in the right hand a staff, while trumpeters walked in front of them. At all the altars and temples they made a halt, and, under the conduct of the two leaders, danced the war-dance in three measures, from which they take their name of Salii or " dancers," accompanying it by singing certain lays, beating their shields meanwhile with the staves. Every day the procession came to an end at certain appointed stations, where the shields were kept over the night in special houses, and the Salii themselves partook of a meal pro­verbial for its magnificence [Horace, Odes i 37, 2]. Until March 24th the ancilia \ were in motion; within this time some ! special festivities, were also held, in which the Salii took part. On March llth there was a chariot-race in honour of Mars j (Equlrla) and a sacrificial feast in honour of the supposed fabricator of the shields, Mamurlus Veturius: on the 19th was the ceremony of the cleansing of the shields, and on the 23rd the cleansing of the holy trumpets (tubae) of the priests, called the tulMustrlum. The days on which the ancilia were in motion were accounted solemn (religiosi), nnd on these days men avoided marching out to war, offering battle, and concluding a marriage. In October, the close of the campaigning season, the ancilia were once more brought [ out, in order to be cleansed in the Campus | Martius. The lays of the Salii, called I axamenta, were referred to Numa, and were written in the archaic Saturnian verse, and in such primitive language, that they were scarcely intelligible even to the '' priests themselves, and as early as the beginning of the 1st century b.c. were the object of learned interpretation. [Quinti-lian i 6 § 40. Two or three connected bits of these lays have come down to us (Alien's Remnants of Early Latin, p. 74). The most intelligible is the following, in a rude Saturnian measure:

II Cume tanas, Leucdsie, \ prce tet tremdnti, || Qu&ni tibei cunei \ dextumum tondront; |f

i.e. Cum tonas, Lucetie (thou god of light), pros te tremunt, cum tlbt cunel (bolts of lightning) a dextra tfinuerunt.] Besides Mars, other deities, such as Janus, Jupiter, and Minerva, were invoked in them; the invocation of Mamurius Veturius formed the close [Ovid, Fasti, iii 260 ff.]. After the time of Augustus the names of indivi­dual emperors were also inserted in the lays Sallustius Crispus (Gains). The cele­brated Roman historian, born 86 b.c., of a plebeian family, at Amiternum, in the land of the Sabines. After a youth spent in excesses, in 52, he made, as tribune of the people, a most violent attack on Cicero, the defender of Milo and the senatorial party. By the censors of the year 50 he was turned out of the Senate, ostensibly for immorality, but really on political grounds, because he was a partisan of Caesar. By the latter he was made quaestor in 49, and thereby reinstated in his sena­torial rank. An expedition to Illyria, the conduct of which had been committed to him by Caesar, after the battle of Phar-salus, miscarried. He was more successful in 47 as propraetor in Africa, where Caesar committed to him the province of Numidia, with the title of proconsul. Here he was guilty of such extortions, that it was only by the favour of Caesar that he escaped a con­demnation. The treasures thus acquired enabled him to lay out the magnificent gardens known by his name on the Quirinal, and to devote his life entirely to learned pursuits, as, in consequence of the murder of Caesar, he had withdrawn from all poli­tical activity. His two earliest produc­tions, on the Catilinarian Conspiracy (the Bcllum Catillnce) and on the Jugurthine War (Bcllum lugurthlnum) are preserved complete. Of his most important work, the five books of Historla;, only four speeches, two letters, and a series of fragments have come down to us. His work, after a survey of the earlier times, contained a short de­scription of the civil war between Maiius and Sulla, and then a detailed history from 78 to 67. The other writings ascribed to him—two letters to Caesar about the reor­ganization of th? State (Epistulce ad C'cesarem dc Republics) and a Declamatio in Clcgroncm—are rhetorical fabrications of a la'ter time.

Sallust is undoubtedly the first artistic historian among the Romans. He deals not with the mere narration of events, but

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.