The Classical Quarterly (New Series)

Research Article

Marius And Fortuna1

C. D. Gilberta1

a1 The Royal Liberty School, Romford

In his treatment of Marius in the Bellum Jugurthinum Sallust lays considerable stress on fortune2 and Marius' belief in divine assistance. I shall offer an analysis of these concepts in two sections: (I) their use by Sallust himself in relation to Marius; (2) their use in the earlier tradition about Marius.

I. Though he is frequently mentioned in the earlier chapters of the B.J., our first formal introduction to Marius is in chapter 63. This chapter is of crucial importance. For it is the response given by the haruspex to Marius when he chances (forte) to be making a sacrifice at Utica that prompts him to ask for leave to go and stand for the consulship, an office for which he has an ingens cupido. Because of the aristocratic superbia of his commander Metellus he is ‘snubbed’ by him and thenceforth ‘cupidine atque ira grassari; neque facto ullo neque dicto abstinere quod modo ambitiosum foret' (64. 5).


1 I am very grateful to Mr. M. W. Frederiksen for his comments on an earlier draft of this paper.