The Role of Honor in Sallust’s ‘Jugurthine War’

Literature / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
An analysis of the role of honor in Sallust’s ‘Jugurthine War’.

The paper examines Gaius Sallustius Crispus` account of the Jugurthine War and discusses how he sees intelligence and self control as two of the qualities necessary to be an individual worthy of praise, though he also notes the fact that such virtues can be easily erased in favor of the ambitious pursuit of power and glory. The paper analyzes his portrayal of the four protagonists (Jugurtha, Metellus, Marius and Sulla) and points out that they stand as models for what one should or should not be, the results of their actions proving whether or not the decisions they made were the right ones.
`Gaius Sallustius Crispus account of the Jugurthine War, as is the case with any ancient Roman or Greek text, focuses upon certain moral issues as a means of understanding and justifying the events which transpired. A man of thought rather than a man of action, Sallust wrote in a very intellectual and subtle manner, picking up on certain small details in the plot which later turn out to be of very great significance. He sees intelligence and self control as two of the qualities necessary to be an individual worthy of praise, though he also hastens to disclose the fact that such virtues can be easily erased in favour of the ambitious pursuit of power and glory. Indeed, this is the most prevalent theme in his text, as the tactics which Jugurtha used to get his way tried and tested the integrity of the Roman nobles.”


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