Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spirited: Sallust "Bellum Catilinae 2"

I am finally back to my Sallust paper after my Plato paper. It's going to be quite a rush to get it done. Anyway, as I'm working on the paper I thought I would post Chapter 2 of the Bellum Catalinae. It's been a while since I read this the first time and I found that English, in places, was more restrictive than I would like-- or maybe I'm just having problems with my Latin.

Igitur initio reges (nam in terris nomen imperi id primum fuit) divorsi pars ingenium, alii corpus exercebant: etiam tum vita hominum sine cupiditate agitabatur; sua cuique satis placebant. Postea vero, quam in Asia Cyrus, in Graecia Lacedaemonii et Athenienses coepere urbis atque nationes subigere, lubidinem dominandi causam belli habere, maxumam gloriam in maxumo imperio putare, tum demum periculo atque negotiis compertum est in bello plurumum ingenium posse. Quod si regum atque imperatorum animi virtus in pace ita ut in bello valeret, aequabilius atque constantius sese res humanae haberent neque aliud alio ferri neque mutari ac misceri omnia cerneres. Nam imperium facile iis artibus retinetur, quibus initio partum est. Verum ubi pro labore desidia, pro continentia et aequitate lubido atque superbia invasere, fortuna simul cum moribus inmutatur. Ita imperium semper ad optumum quemque a minus bono transferetur.

Quae homines arant, navigant, aedificant, virtuti omnia parent. Sed multi mortales, dediti ventri atque somno, indocti incultique vitam sicuti peregrinantes transiere; quibus profecto contra naturam corpus voluptati, anima oneri fuit. Eorum ego vitam mortemque iuxta aestumo, quoniam de utraque siletur. Verum enim vero is demum mihi vivere atque frui anima videtur, qui aliquo negotio intentus praeclari facinoris aut artis bonae famam quaerit. Sed in magna copia rerum aliud alii natura iter ostendit.

And so in the beginning, kings -- for this was the name of power first in the land-- kept busy pursuing opposite courses, some with the mind, others with the body; even then the life of men was conducted without desire, his own things were sufficiently pleasing to him. But at last, after Cyrus in Asia and the Lacadamonians and the Athenians in Greece began to subjugate cities and peoples, lust was deemed to be a cause of subduing, they thought that the greatest glory is in the greatest power, then at last knowledge was obtained through experiment and affairs that  the mind is the most able in war. But if the virtue of the minds of kings and rulers were strengthened by peace in this way as by war, the human affairs would be situated more similarly and more constantly, neither would you discern one thing be carried by another nor all things be mixed. for power easily is easily retained by those arts with which it was obtained at first. But where idleness instead of labor, and equally desire and arrogance instead of self-restraint has burst in, at the same time fortune changes with the mores. In this way, power always is transferred from a less good man to whomever is best.

These things which men [do when they] plow, sail, build, all depend upon virtue. But many mortals, having given [themselves over] to appetitive and sleep, pass through life ignorant and uncultured just as wanderers. To whom, certainly, against nature the body has pleasure while the life-force is a burden. For them, I estimate that life and death are equal, because about both there is silence. But truly he alone seems to me to live and to delight in his life-force, who being intent upon some occupation seeks famous deeds or reputation through good conduct. But in the great abundance of these things, nature shows one path to one, one path to another.
Paper is due in just over 24 hours.

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