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Sallust was one of the first classical historians to move beyond a dry recitation of fact to paint sharp-edged portraits of the moral and political degeneration of the Roman Republic. Sallust's abrupt and distinctive style is the perfect vehicle for his moral urgency, bitter condemnation, and satirical cynicism. William W. Batstone's new translation, which includes the fragmentary Histories , captures the severity of his Latin style. Catiline's Conspiracy describes the bloody rebellion led by the depraved and disaffected Catiline. For Sallust it was especially disturbing because of the unprecedented nature of the crime and the danger it caused. The Jugurthine War offers a graphic depiction of the war against the king of Numidia, highlighting the power struggles in Rome and the brutal battles in Africa. A wide-ranging introduction sets Sallust and his works in their turbulent historical context, and considers their achievements as both history and literature. Batstone also provides shorter introductions to each of the three works as well as comprehensive notes, an up-to-date bibliography, and maps of the Mediterranean, Italy, and Africa.
William Batstone is Professor of Greek and Latin at Ohio State University.