Life and works Sallust was born in the town of Amiternum fifty miles northeast of Rome in 86 BeE. His family was of Sabine origin, but they long held Roman citizenship in that thoroughly Romanized area. Though nothing is known of the historian's boyhood, it is evident from his writings that he received an excellent education in both Latin and Greek language, literature, and rhetoric. He was the first in his family to pursue a political career, which must have required substantial economic resources. Sallust was proud that his advancement rested on his own merits, like that of Marius and Cicero, rather than on family connections. That early struggle for political recognition was doubtless responsible for his contempt for nobles who owed their careers to their heredity rather than their achieve-

ments. The historian's view is expressed in words he gives to Marius: "Nobility begins with merit" (jugurtha 85).