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Sallust

Sallust (P. SALLUSTIUS CRISPUS, 86-35 B.C.), Roman historian, was born at Amiternum, and in the year 52 became a member of the Senate, but two years later, owing to his immoralities, was expelled. He was a warm adherent of Caesar, who restored him to his position. He became praetor-elect in 47,and accompanied Caesar on his African expedition, being appointed governor of Numidia afterwards. He accumulated enormous wealth there by oppression and extortion, and returned to Rome to enjoy a life of luxury. He wrote a good deal, much of which is now lost, but his histories of the Jugurthine and Catiline Wars have survived, and are models of Latin composition. According to Mommsen they are written in Caesar's interest, the latter to minimise his complicity in Catiline's conspiracy, and the former to glorify his relative Marius. Sallust was the precursor of Livy and Tacitus, and his style is commendably terse and forcible. He poses as a stern moralist in his writings, though his life was in many respects a shameless one. His historical works are among the earliest of the kind in Roman literature.