The book Conspiracy of Catiline by Sallust is one of the best histories in Latin literature that presents a vigorous account of the notorious conspiracy of Catiline in the ancient times in his endeavors to topple the civil power in Rome. The vivid and consistent events as evident in this narration are very interesting and admirable indeed in their power and conciseness. The author explicates his view by criticizing the Democratic Party with which Catiline was in support. In his work, Sallust’s concept of history was very modern as he tries to unveil a connection existing between the ancient events and those of the contemporary world. It is this connection that makes Sallust’s work very relevant to the development of the modern western culture. His work has to a greater extent contributed to giving a more relevant and better understanding of the western culture.
This essay will explicate the significance of Sallust’s work through the book Conspiracy of Catiline in the today’s way of life as far as western civilization’s social, economical, and political life is concerned.
The narrative explicates the virtues of the ancient Romans and their way of life despite the fact that they were a combination of two distinct tribes. Though of different origin, dissimilar language, and perfectly opposing habits of life, the two different tribes managed to come together as one and agreed to form a union where they confined themselves to deliberate on certain critical issues relevant to their lives. This coherence and understanding amongst these two groups saw an increase in their population, improved condition of morals, a tolerably flourishing territory and power led to a more stable and independent government.
The government which was regulated by laws encouraged the Romans to live together in unity and fight to the tooth in a bid to protect their liberty, their homes as well as their country. Notably, it is this togetherness that saw their outright victory against incursions from the neighboring kingdoms who sought to divide them and amass their prosperity (Sallust 44). Indeed, the relevance of this spirit of togetherness is very evident in the contemporary world. A nation that encourages its citizens to avoid treating one another from the basis of ethnicity and/or language is destined to greater prosperity. The power of unity is still applied in the present times, a fact that has led to the development of the western civilization in appreciating the diverse nature of individuals.
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However, contrary to the expectation of a nation well known for its integrity and other honorable principles, pride, inhumanity, contempt of religion, and general venality were inculcated into the Romans. The advancement of these vices prompted people to become overambitious, greedy, deceitful and begun to estimate friendships and enmities not by their worth but according to interest. As a result, the state was utterly changed leading to an entire change in governance from being the most equitable and praiseworthy government to a rapacious and insupportable government.
The cropping of these vices led to the fall of the great nation an indication that self gratification and pursuance of self interest rather than that of building the nation in unity, peace, love and respect for one another calls for the downfall of a nation. Today, our nations have realized the need to incorporate laws and regulations that encourages individuals to live in unity as well as respect one another. The need and vitality of encouraging people to live in unity, love and care for one another while respecting other people’s views is a very imperative measure that our governments have made efforts to improve over ages in the quest to encourage the development of the modern western culture.
In exploring the character of Catiline, the author unveils Catiline as a richly endowed man both in mind and body, a man of extreme depravity, extraordinary power of endurance, inordinate ambitions and a master of deception. The author also shows Catiline’s associates and followers as well as his manipulative arts he designed in order to rally their support in perpetuating his evil missions. His endeavors and design to subvert the government were coupled with numerous tuitions personally delivered to his accomplices in preparation for the main event among them being subsequent plots to have Cicero assassinated clearly unveils who Catiline really was from a wider perspective. His evil pursuits are stumbled when his accomplices solicits the Allobroges to engage in his conspiracy but fail to succeed. Instead, they uncover what is behind the scene to Cicero.
Meanwhile, Catiline continues in his war like preparations in Etruria. He conjures his men to maintain a brave and resolute spirit to in the battle field. He explains the reasons behind the adoption of his course even though he knew the severe penalty that would befall them. His bravery act and unrelenting efforts to encourage his accomplices to follow his footsteps and fight to the tooth for their honor, wealth, glory and enjoyment of their liberty depended on their dedication to fight in hope for an outright victory. However, they succumbed to a defeat in that fateful day that they had engaged their opponents in fight. This defeat was also accompanied by his demise in the battle field.
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This kind of incursion is condemned even in the present time and just like Catiline lost his fight in the attempt to topple the government, so does many of such cases and will always face the consequences of their acts. As a result, men have learnt the value of expressing oneself as well as representing the wish of the public in a very civilized manner. In today’s society and as law dictates, there are legal formalities to be followed in a case where there are numerous expressions of dissatisfaction from the population. Everybody is entitled to the freedom of expression but one should respect the demands of law and follow the required legal procedures in expressing himself or herself. Anyone who reads and relates the events of this work is eventually enlightened on the transition that has taken place since the ancient times and the present in giving a new definition to the modern western culture.
As much as Catiline may be seen to have brought havoc in Rome, his design that saw him try to engage women in his course is also a part of interest. Considering the nature of his conspiracy in the Roman soil, Catiline considers the role of women who had supported an expensive life by the price of their beauty in his endeavors to subvert the government (Sallust 89). He saw this as an opportunity to gain over the slaves in Rome as well as secure the support of their husbands. His diligent designs in incorporating the role of women in carrying out his mission is very vital and shows an imperative aspect of social life as far as recognizing women and the roles they can play other than just being housekeepers contrary to the way women were perceived in the ancient times.
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In conclusion, Sallust’s work through his book Conspiracy of Catiline plays a key role in the development of the modern western culture as far as adapting to the systems of governance either socially, economically, and politically. The narrative unfolds clear and concise events of interest that draws attention and warns of those vices that if inculcated into our society, they may lead to an outright fall in what we have spent years putting together.
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