Sallust, Bellvm Catilinae



This unit has four main aims:

  1. To extend your ability to read, understand and translate accurately and fluently into idiomatic English a significant Latin historical/biographical work;
  2. To develop an insight into the techniques and attitudes of a major Roman historian whose work shows a significant advance on that of his annalistic predecessors;
  3. To provide an understanding of the history and politics of the late Roman Republic, one of the most important and tumultuous periods in ancient history;
  4. To identify key elements of Sallust's grammar and syntax, comparing and contrasting them with orthodox Classical usage.


No particular edition of the Bellum Catilinae is prescribed for this subject. Where appropriate, these notes will include, with due acknowledgement, excerpts from major commentaries, particularly that of Patrick McGushin.

It is important that you do everything you can through your own efforts with a particular portion of text before reading the relevant notes and translation: try it as a piece of unseen translation and write up unknown vocabulary. What follows is not intended to provide a solution to problems of which you are as yet unaware and which you yourself have not yet tackled, but rather to guide, confirm, correct and supplement your own enterprise.

We shall study the whole of the text in the original Latin. The following commentary will contain many notes on grammar to help your understanding of the text. A minority of these, which appear in red, are significant enough to be regarded as fair game for an examination question.

You will find it helpful to begin by reading: (a) the article on Sallust in The Oxford Classical Dictionary (Oxford, 3rd edition, 1996, henceforth referred to as OCD), 1348-1349; (b) the article on Catiline, OCD 1393, s.v. "Sergius Catilina, Lucius". In the commentary notes reference will be made to the following by the abbreviations given in brackets:

Barrow, R. H.. The Romans (Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1949) (Barrow)
Cooper, C. G. An Introduction to the Latin Hexameter (1952) (ILH)
Cooper, C. G. Journey to Hesperia: Scenes from the First Six Books of Vergil's Aeneid (2nd edn, 1965) (JH)
Cuddon, J. A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory (3rd edn, 1992) (PDLT)
Fowler, H. W. A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1937) (MEU)
Gildersleeve, B. L. & Lodge, G. Gildersleeve's Latin Grammar (3rd edn, 1943) (GL)
Handford, S. A., tr. Sallust, The Jugurthine War/ The Conspiracy of Catiline (Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1963) (Handford)
Hornblower, Simon & Spaworth, Anthony, eds. The Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd edn, 1996) (OCD)
Howatson, M. C., ed. The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (2nd edn, 1997) (OCCL)
Kennedy, B. H., rev. Mountford, J. The Revised Latin Primer (1958) (KMP)
Lewis, C. T. & Short, C. A. A Latin Dictionary (1879) (LS)
McGushin, P. Sallustius Crispus, Bellum Catilinae: A Commentary (Leiden, 1977) (McGushin)
Mountford, J. F., ed., 'Bradley's Arnold' Latin Prose Composition (1938) (MBA)
Oxford Latin Dictionary (1968-1982) (OLD)
Palmer, L. R. The Latin Language (3rd edn, 1961)
Ramsay, William, rev. Lanciani, Rodolfo, A Manual of Roman Antiquities (Griffin, London, 18th edition, 1894) (RL)
Rolfe, J. C., tr. Sallust (Cambridge, Mass., rev. edn, 1931) (Rolfe)
Stevenson, Seth W., A Dictionary of Roman Coins (Seaby, London, 1964) (Stevenson)
Summers, W. C., ed. C. Sallusti Crispi Catilina (Cambridge, 1900) (Summers)
Woodcock, E. C., A New Latin Syntax (Methuen, London, 1959) (Woodcock)