Page images


reminded that, in the second Punic War, Hannibal had weakened the Roman power more than any other enemy, and that an alliance had been formed with the Numidians, whose king, Micipsa, had educated a nephew, named Jugurtha, with the same care as his two

This youth, as he grew up, won the affections of his countrymen, as well as of the Roman general, by being both brave in action and wise in council ; and his uncle, having made him joint-heir with his own children, as a reward for his valour during the siege of Numantia, died a few days afterwards.

Having shared the treasures and jurisdiction of the kingdom with his cousins, Jugurtha caused the younger one, Hiempsal, to be murdered, and, by preparations to make himself sole sovereign of the country, drove the elder one, Adherbal, to appeal in person to the Roman senate. Fearing their resentment, Jugurtha despatched ambassadors to Rome with a profusion of gold and silver, to secure the influence of the nobility in his favour by bribery; and thus, instead of the death of Hiempsal being avenged, a decree was made that commissioners should divide the kingdom between the two claimants; and Jugurtha contrived that the most fertile and populous regions should be allotted to him.

Sallust here describes the situation of Africa, and its inhabitants, remarking that most writers consider it as a third part of the earth. The northern coasts, he tells us, were originally occupied by the Getulians and Libyans, and afterwards by Medes and Persians who had served in an army commanded by Hercules in Spain ; the name of Medes being gradually corrupted by the Libyans into Moors, and the children of the Getulians and Persians forming the kingdom of Numidia. At a later period several cities were founded by the Phoenicians and other colonists, the Carthaginians gradually extending their territory, and the Cyrenians becoming a powerful people. Beyond them were the Ethiopians, and, farther south, regions parched by the heat of the sun. At the time of the Jugurthine war most of the Punic towns were governed by Roman prætors, and the Moors by a king named Bocchus.

Believing that all things were purchaseable at Rome, Jugurtha again invaded the dominions of Adherbal, and invested the town of Cirta, now called Constantina. The senate sent deputies to inform both the princes that they must settle their disputes by arbitration; but Jugurtha assured them that he was only counteracting the designs of his rival, and they departed without seeking an interview with him. Adherbal, however, forwarded a pitiful letter to the senate, and another embassy was despatched to remonstrate with Jugurtha, but returned without making any impression upon him; and, Cirta having surrendered, Adherbal and all the inhabitants were massacred. An army commanded by the consul Calpurnius was now sent to Numidia. Jugurtha, however, bribed him, and, having ostensibly capitulated, he was merely required to deliver some elephants and cattle, which were afterwards res ed, into the hands of the quæstor, and the consul returned to Rome. But Memmius, a tribune elect, and who was hostile to the power of the nobility, persuaded the people to send for Jugurtha, who was arraigned before them and admonished that, unless he named his accomplices, he would ruin himself and his hopes for ever. By the audacity, however, of Boebius, another tribune, whose aid he had secretly purchased, not only was the assembly set at nought, but, by a lavish distribution of gold, Jugurtha accomplished the death of a new rival to his throne, and was simply ordered to quit Italy, saying, as he left Rome, that it was a venal city, and would soon perish, if it could but find a purchaser. The war against him being then renewed by Aulus, the brother of the consul Albinus, he surrounded the Roman camp at night, and so completely alarmed and routed them, that he was able to dictate severe and ignominious terms of peace. The senate, however, decreed that no peace could be made without their consent and that of the people, and a bill was passed for instituting inquiries into the conduct of those who had received money from the enemy, or made com pacts with him.

Sallust next alludes to the prevalence of parties among the people, and of factions in the senate, after the cessation of the war with Carthage, the patricians carrying their authority, and the plebeians their liberty, to an excess which had often ruined powerful states; but time will not permit him, he adds, to say more on the subject.

Metellus, one of the new consuls, and a man of energy and integrity, now took charge of the army in Numidia, and, outwitting their artifices, gained an important victory over Jugurtha and his general Bomilcar, for which the senate decreed a thanksgiving, and the city was filled with joy. Hostilities were continued with varying success; but the interest of the narrative here centres in the designs of Marius, the lieutenant of Metellus, to supplant him in the command, which he accomplished by obtaining leave of absence, and securing his election to the consul-ship by the votes of the people. Jugurtha, meanwhile, increased his forces by collecting recruits among the Getulians, and incited Bocchus, the king of Mauritania, to declare war against the Romans. Several amusing incidents are related by the historian, and his descriptions of the battles, the natural peculiarities of the country, the habits of the people, and the expedients resorted to by the Romans and Numidians to gain an advantage over one another, are most interesting. Metellus was so chagrined at his supercession, that he temporised with the enemy instead of continuing active operations ;. whilst Marius, encouraging the expectations of the populace, enlisted large re-inforcements for the legions, and inveighed against the nobility, who despised his humble origin, in a speech which Sallust gives at considerable length.

Having arrived in Africa, and gradually accustomed his new levies to face the enemy without fear, he captured and burnt several important towns with hardly any loss on his side, which caused the Numidians to dread him as something more than human. In the midst of his successes his army was increased by a large body of cavalry raised at Rome by his quæstor Sylla, whom Sallust describes as of patrician descent, fond of literature and pleasure, but fonder of glory, and making himself a favourite, in a very short time, both with Marius and the humblest of the soldiers. Bocchus had now been allured by Jugurtha to join him, and their united forces unexpectedly attacked the Romans with great impetuosity, but were ultimately put to flight, and more were

killed than in all the former battles. In another encounter, a few days afterwards, the barbarians were again worsted; and Bocchus, after his deputies to Marius had been attacked by robbers and entertained by Sylla, was induced to send ambassadors to Rome to sue for peace. The senate having promised their alliance and friendship when he shall have deserved them, he begged for an interview with Sylla, who, attended by a strong guard, including some Balearic slingers, was met by the king's son Volux, and warned that Jugurtha was at hand. Although he suspected treachery, Sylla exhorted his soldiers to keep up their spirits, telling them that no man, with arms in his hands, ought to turn to the enemy the defenceless and blind parts of his body; and they reached the Moorish camp in safety. At a private conference Bocchus, after some hesitation, engaged to betray Jugurtha, who was induced to attend with most of his adherents, unarmed, to concert measures for a pretended treaty of peace, when they were assailed by those who were lying in ambush, and he was delivered bound to Sylla, who conducted him to Marius. Sallust tells us no more respect

n; but we learn from other sources that, being led, with his two sons, in triumph at Rome, Jugurtha could not endure the humiliation, and, losing his senses before the termination of the procession, was cast into the Tullian dungeon, where he was strangled or died.

ing him

The narrative of the Conspiracy of Catiline' commences with the remark that it behoves all men, who desire to excel other animals, to strive not to pass through life in obscurity, like beasts of the field, and to prefer the glory of intellectual power to that of bodily strength. Having sketched the daring and ambitious disposition of Catiline, the historian dwells on the virtues of the founders of Rome, observing that the exploits of the Athenians were celebrated over the world as the most splendid achievements, because writers of great talent flourish there; whereas among the Romans men of ability chose to act rather than to narrate their merits. He proceeds, however, to trace the gradual degeneracy of their posterity, and shows how easy it was, when avarice and vice had subverted integrity and honour


able principles, for Catiline, by ministering to the passions of those who had dissipated their patrimonies in gaming and luxury, to surround himself with a crowd of profligate adherents, among whom were several senators, and many youths of noble birth. Depending on such accomplices, he formed the design of overthrowing the government, having been already concerned in a plot to murder most of the senators. Thwarted in his first design, which was to secure one of the consul-ships, he formed new schemes, both at Rome and throughout Italy, including two attempts to assassinate Cicero, who had been elected consul instead of him ; and at length determined to proceed to open warfare and resort to the utmost extremities. Meanwhile Manlius, one of his confederates, was in Etruria, stirring up the populace, and attaching to himself all sorts of marauders.

The conspiracy was now a subject of general discussion, and the senate decreed that 'the consuls should make it their care that the commonwealth should receive no injury.' Intelligence arrived that Manlius had taken the field, and reports were circulated of omens and prodigies, and of insurrections of the slaves. A force proportioned to the exigency of the danger was levied, the citizens were seized with alarm, a sudden gloom spread over all classes, and the women raised supplicating hands to heaven as they mourned over their infants.

Notwithstanding the precautions adopted, Catiline, under pretence of clearing his character, entered the senate-house, when Cicero delivered the first of his celebrated orations against him. Catiline attempted to reply, but all present denounced him as an enemy and a traitor, when he retorted that he would extinguish the flame kindled around him in a general ruin, and at once set out for the camp of Manlius, leaving his accomplices to arrange a massacre, and for firing the city, while he prepared to advance against it with an army. Manlius had sent a message to the senate protesting that he and his followers had taken up arms simply in self-defence against the inhumanity of the usurers and the prætor. Catiline, however, wrote a letter declaring that he had been provoked by injuries and indignities, and by seeing unworthy men ennobled with honours and him

« PreviousContinue »