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That he was not the author of the Epistles to Cæsar, the reader will find satisfactorily shown in the remarks prefixed to the translation of them in the present volume.
Sallust is supposed to have formed his style on that of Thucydides?; but he has far excelled his model, if not in energy, certainly in conciseness and perspicuity of expression. “ The speeches of Thucydides,” says Cicero?, “contain so many dark and intricate passages, that they are scarcely understood.” No such complaint can be made of any part of the writings of Sallust. “From any sentence in Thucydides,” says Seneca the rhetorician?, “ however remarkable for its conciseness, if a word or two be taken away, the sense will remain, if not equally ornate, yet equally entire; but from the periods of Sallust nothing can be deducted without detriment to the meaning." Apud eruditas aures, says Quintilian, nihil potest esse perfectius.
The defects of his style are, that he wants the flumen orationis so much admired in Livy and Herodotus”; that his transitions are often abrupt; and that he too much affects antique phraseology. But no writer can combine qualities that are incompatible. He is justly preferred by Quintilian' to Livy, and well merits the praise given him by Tacituse and Martial', of being rerum Romanarum florentissimus auctor, and Romanâ primus in historiâ.
Of the numerous editions of Sallust, that of Cortius, which appeared at Leipsic in 1724, and has been often reprinted, long indisputably held the first rank. But Cortius, as an editor, was somewhat too fond of expelling from his text all words that he could possibly pronounce superfluous; and succeeding editors, as Gerlach, (Basil. 1823,) Kritz, (Leipsic, 1834,) and Dietsch, (Leipsic, 1846,) have judiciously restored many words that he had discarded, and produced texts more acceptable in many respects to the generality of students.
Sallust has been many times translated into English. The versions most deserving of notice are those of Gordon, (1744,) Rose, (1751,) Murphy, (1807,) and Peacock, (1845). Gordon has vigour, but wants polish; Rose is close and faithful, but often dry and hard; Murphy is sprightly, but verbose and licentious, qualities in which his admirer, Sir Henry Steuart, (1806,) went audaciously beyond him; Mr. Peacock's translation is equally faithful with that of Rose, and far exceeds it in general ease and agreeableness of style. i Vell. Pat., ü., 36. 2 Orat., c. 9.
3 Controvers., iv., 24. 4 Inst. Or., X., 1..
5 Monboddo, Origin and Prog. of Language, vol. ii., p. 200. 6 Quint. Inst. Or., viii., 3.
7 Inst. Or., ii., 5. 8 Ann., iii., 30.
9 xiv., 191,
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE OF FLORUS.
CONCERNING Florus scarcely anything is known. That he lived in the reign of Trajan is apparent from the end of his Preface, where he says that the Roman empire sub Trojano principe movet lacertos, “raises its arms under the emperor Trajan.” He there reckons, according to the common reading, CC years from the reign of Augustus to his own times, but as the period between the reign of Augustus and the end of that of Trajan included only CXLIII years, Vossius? is of opinion that we ought to read CL.
The same critic, following Salmasius, supposes that he survived Trajan, and that he is the Florus to whom Spartianus alludes in his life of Hadrian, Trajan's successor. But the identity of the two is extremely uncertain. Indeed, it has been doubted whether the author of the Epitome has any right to the name of Florus, for in some manuscripts he is called only Lucius Annæus, and Lactantius was accordingly disposed to attribute the work to Lucius Annæus Seneca, the philosopher. But Salmasius?, in a manuscript of great accuracy, which he considered to be more than eight hundred years old, found the name written Lucius Annæus Florus, and Florus he will probably continue to be called.
From his name Annæus, he is generally supposed to liave been a native of Spain, and of the same descent as Seneca and Lucan:. In commencing his work, he seems to have purposed to write as a foreigner; for through the whole of the first book he makes no use of the pronouns nos and noster, which appear for the first time in the second chapter of the second book.
As a historian, he is of little authority. His work, it has been ob
I De Historicis Latinis.
2 Pref. to Florus.
3 Burm, ad Quintil., X., 3.
served, is rather a panegyric on the Romans, than an accurate history of their actions. “He commits,” says Rupertus', “many a metachronism, and many a prochronism.” His geography is not much better than his chronology. He seems to have been far more studious about his style than his matter.
His style is, indeed, far too much studied. It is all floridity and affectation, and can please no reader of good taste. There is in it, as has been remarked”, a poetical tumour, of which a judicious historian would be ashamed. His pages are full of laboured conceits, such as all students, ambitious of a good style, must avoid. He is childishly fond of parenthetical exclamations, as, O nefas! O pudor! Horribile dictu ! which can be regarded only with derision. His love of brevity has rendered his meaning sometimes obscure. Were a person to come to the perusal of Florus, without having previously learned anything of Roman history, he would be sadly puzzled to ascertain his meaning in many places.
Of his conceits the following are specimens. When he relates the prodigy of the statue of Apollo perspiring at Cumæ, he says that the *exsudation proceeded from the concern of the god for his dear Asia3. When he speaks of the head of Cicero being set on the Rostra, he observes that the people went to see him in no smaller numbers than they had previously gone to hear him". When he describes the large ships of Antony, he remarks that they moved not without groaning on the part of the sea, and fatigue on that of the winds. When he states that Cæsar returned from Britain over a calm sea, he adds that the ocean seemed to acknowledge itself unequal to cope with him. When he tells of Fabius Maximus attacking the enemy from a higher ground, he says that the aspect of the battle was as if weapons had been hurled on giants from the sky? When he mentions that the Gauls were constant enemies of Rome, he speaks of them as a whetstone on which the Romans might sharpen their swords. Abundance of other examples might be given, but something of the exquisiteness of the conceits is lost in a translation.
Of his character as a man nothing can be gathered from his writings, except that he was not free from superstition'.
Whether he was the author of the arguments to the books of Livy, which are printed with his History in some editions, it would be useless to attempt to discover.
Translations of Florus are not numerous. In English I have seen
1 Ad Flori Proæm., init. 2 Rupert. ad Flor., i., 13, 17. 3 Lib. ii., c. 8. 4 Lib. iv., c. 7. 5 Lib. iv., c. 11.
6 Lib. iii., c. 10. · Lib. i., c. 17. 8 Lib. ii, c. 3. 9 Lib. iv., c. 2., fin, atque alibi.
three; an anonymous one, printed at Oxford in 1636, which was full of mistakes, but was afterwards revised by Meric Casaubon, and reprinted in 1658; another by John Davies, published in 1672, which is neither very faithful to the sense, nor elegant in language, even for the time at which it was written; and a third by John Clarke, the translator of Suetonius and other Latin authors, which is sufficiently true to the sense, but utterly contemptible in style.
OF Velleius Paterculus, as of Florus, we obtain no information but from his own pages. He is not even named, as far as we know, by any ancient writer, unless he be the Marcus Velleius, from whom Priscian quotes a few words in his sixth book; for what his prænomen was is not at all certain; since Rhenanus, who published the editio princeps from the only manuscript which was then extant, and which has since been lost, calls him Caius in his title, and Publius in his index.
The year of his birth is uncertain, but he is conjectured by Dodwell to have been born in the seven hundred and thirty-fifth year from the foundation of Rome, or the nineteenth before Christ; the same year in which Virgil died.
He was of an equestrian family in Campania, one of the distinguished members of which was Decius Magius', who adhered to the Romans in the second Punic war. His grandfather served in the army, under Brutus and Cassius, and afterwards under Claudius Nero, as præfectus fabrûm, captain of the artificers or engineers?. His father, whom he does not name, was præfect of cavalry; an office in which his son succeeded him, and served for nine years under Tiberius Cæsar in Germanys. He had previously been a military tribunet, and was afterwards quæstors and prætore.
He wrote his book, in or after the year A.U.C. 783, when Marcus Vinicius, to whom he dedicates it, was consul. He composed it in great haste, being hurried on, he says, with the rapidity of a wheel or torrent”; but the cause of such haste does not appear. It is called by his editors a Roman History, but the fragment of the first book shows that it also contained a large portion of the History of Greece. The manuscript of his work, which I have mentioned above, was found by Rhenanus in the convent of Murbach in Alsace; a collation of it, appended to the
i Vell. Pat., ii., 16.
2 ii., 76. 6 ii., 124.
3 ii., 104. 4 ii., 101.
? i., 16.
5 ii., 111.