Igitur ubi animus ex multis miseriis atque periculis requievit et mihi reliquam aetatem a re publica procul habendam decrevi, non fuit consilium socordia atque desidia bonum otium conterere neque vero agrum colundo aut venando, servilibus officiis, intentum aetatem agere; sed, a quo incepto studioque me ambitio mala detinuerat, eodem regressus statui res gestas populi Romani carptim, ut quaeque memoria digna videbantur, perscribere, eo magis, quod mihi a spe, metu, partibus rei publicae animus liber erat. Igitur de Catilinae coniuratione, quam verissume potero, paucis absolvam; nam id facinus in primis ego memorabile existumo sceleris atque periculi novitate. De cuius hominis moribus pauca prius explananda sunt, quam initium narrandi faciam.
Accordingly, when my mind settled down after many wretched things and trials and I decided to spend my remaining life at a distance from the Republic, it was not my intention to spend good leisure in laziness or inactivity, but neither was I intent upon spending my life tilling a field nor hunting, in servile tasks; but having gone back to the same thing from which undertaking my zeal and ambition detained me, I made up my mind to write in parts the deeds having been done of the Roman people, whatsoever ones seemed worthy of memory; that much more because my mind is free from hope, fear, and partisanship for the Republic. Accordingly, about the conspiracy of Cataline I will set forth a brief account as truthfully as I will be able; for this deed I estimate is especially memorable because of the novelty of the crime and attempt. Concerning the mores this man, first a little must be explained, so I may produce the beginning of my narrative.I think Sallust's proem, in its entirety, is quite brilliant. I did not expect to like a Roman historian, but Sallust's bizarre and interesting take on the world as well as a wonderful professor changed my mind.