“The Jugurthine War; The Conspiracy of Catiline” by Sallust

The Jugurthine War

With a few changes in names, the whole story of “The Jugurthine War” can perhaps be transplanted from 110 BC Rome to the 20th century, or any other period in history, when there are global/central super powers, local tyrants/warlords and puppet governments.

“The Conspiracy of Catiline” is a tale of political intrigue and class struggle instigated by lust-crazed individuals. It complements Cicero’s account of the event in his orations “Against Cataline”.

Sallust explains, from a rather cynical perspective, the cause and effect of historical events, and the motives of the individuals involved. He also makes interesting contrasts between political foes of the period: Gaius Marius and Sulla, the former an equestrian, known more for his military achievements than statesmanship, the latter a patrician who excels in both generalship and statesmanship, a forerunner of Julius Caesar, who in turn is contrasted with Cato the Younger, one generous and lenient and the other righteous and unrelenting.

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