Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Sallustius (or Sallust)


Sallustius or Sallust was a 4th-century Latin writer, a friend of the Roman Emperor Julian.
Sallustius (or Sallust)
Souls are punished when they have gone forth from the body, some wandering among us, some going to hot or cold places of the earth, some harassed by spirits. Under all circumstances they suffer with the irrational part of their nature, with which they also sinned. For its sake there subsists that shadowy body which is seen about graves, especially the graves of evil livers.
Sallustius (or Sallust) quotes
There is a certain force, less primary than being but more primary than the soul, which draws its existence from being and completes the soul as the sun completes the eyes. Of souls some are rational and immortal, some irrational and mortal. The former are derived from the first Gods, the latter from the secondary.
Sallustius (or Sallust)
If fortune makes a wicked man prosperous and a good man poor, there is no need to wonder. For the wicked regard wealth as everything, the good as nothing. And the good fortune of the bad cannot take away their badness, while virtue alone will be enough for the good.




Sallustius (or Sallust) quotes
The fact that the stars predict high or low rank for the father of the person whose horoscope is taken, teaches that they do not always make things happen but sometimes only indicate things. For how could things which preceded the birth depend upon the birth?
Sallustius (or Sallust)
That power of the Gods which orders for the good things which are not uniform, and which happen contrary to expectation, is commonly called Fortune, and it is for this reason that the Goddess is especially worshipped in public by cities; for every city consists of elements which are not uniform.
Sallustius (or Sallust) quotes
Those who believe in the destruction of the world, either deny the existence of the Gods, or, while admitting it, deny God's power.
Therefore he who makes all things by his own power makes all things subsist together with himself. And since his power is the greatest power he must needs be the maker not only of men and animals, but of Gods, men, and spirits. And the further removed the first God is from our nature, the more powers there must be between us and him. For all things that are very far apart have many intermediate points between them.
Sallustius (or Sallust)
Souls that have lived in virtue are in general happy, and when separated from the irrational part of their nature, and made clean from all matter, have communion with the gods and join them in the governing of the whole world. Yet even if none of this happiness fell to their lot, virtue itself, and the joy and glory of virtue, and the life that is subject to no grief and no master are enough to make happy those who have set themselves to live according to virtue and have achieved it.
Sallustius (or Sallust) quotes
It is not only spirits who punish the evil, the soul brings itself to judgment: and also it is not right for those who endure for ever to attain everything in a short time: and also, there is need of human virtue. If punishment followed instantly upon sin, men would act justly from fear and have no virtue.
Sallustius (or Sallust)
The cosmos itself must of necessity be indestructible and uncreated. Indestructible because, suppose it destroyed: the only possibility is to make one better than this or worse or the same or a chaos. If worse, the power which out of the better makes the worse must be bad. If better, the maker who did not make the better at first must be imperfect in power. If the same, there will be no use in making it; if a chaos... it is impious even to hear such a thing suggested. These reasons would suffice to show that the world is also uncreated: for if not destroyed, neither is it created. Everything that is created is subject to destruction.
Sallustius (or Sallust)
It is impossible that there should be so much providence in the last details, and none in the first principles. Then the arts of prophecy and of healing, which are part of the cosmos, come of the good providence of the Gods.
Sallustius (or Sallust)
Next in order comes knowledge of the first cause and the subsequent orders of the Gods, then the nature of the world, the essence of intellect and of soul, then providence, fate, and fortune, then to see virtue and formed from them, and from what possible source evil came into the world.
Each of these subjects needs many long discussions; but there is perhaps no harm in stating them briefly, so that a disciple may not be completely ignorant about them.
It is proper to the first cause to be one for unity precedes multitude and to surpass all things in power and goodness. Consequently all things must partake of it. For owing to its power nothing else can hinder it, and owing to its goodness it will not hold itself apart.
If the first cause were soul, all things would possess soul. If it were mind, all things would possess mind. If it were being, all things would partake of being. And seeing this quality in all things, some men have thought that it was being. Now if things simply were, without being good, this argument would be true, but if things that are are because of their goodness, and partake in the good, the first thing must needs be both beyond-being and good. It is strong evidence of this that noble souls despise being for the sake of the good, when they face death for their country or friends or for the sake of virtue. After this inexpressible power come the orders of the Gods.




Sallustius (or Sallust) quotes
If the transmigration of a soul takes place into a rational being, it simply becomes the soul of that body. But if the soul migrates into a brute beast, it follows the body outside, as a guardian spirit follows a man. For there could never be a rational soul in an irrational being.
Sallustius (or Sallust)
Where all things are done according to reason and the best man in the nation rules, it is a kingdom; where more than one rule according to reason and fight, it is an aristocracy; where the government is according to desire and offices depend on money, that constitution is called a timocracy. The contraries are: to kingdom, tyranny, for kingdom does all things with the guidance of reason and tyranny nothing; to aristocracy, oligarchy, when not the best people but a few of the worst are rulers; to timocracy, democracy, when not the rich but the common folk possess the whole power.
Sallustius (or Sallust) quotes
Now these things never happened, but always are. And mind sees all things at once, but reason (or speech) expresses some first and others after. Thus, as the myth is in accord with the cosmos, we for that reason keep a festival imitating the cosmos, for how could we attain higher order?
Sallustius (or Sallust)
Everything destroyed is either resolved into the elements from which it came, or else vanishes into not-being. If things are resolved into the elements from which they came, then there will be others: else how did they come into being at all?
Sallustius (or Sallust) quotes
Of myths some are theological, some physical, some psychic, and again some material, and some mixed from these last two. The theological are those myths which use no bodily form but contemplate the very essence of the Gods: e.g., Kronos swallowing his children. Since god is intellectual, and all intellect returns into itself, this myth expresses in allegory the essence of god.
Myths may be regarded physically when they express the activities of the Gods in the world: e.g., people before now have regarded Kronos as time, and calling the divisions of time his sons say that the sons are swallowed by the father.
The psychic way is to regard the activities of the soul itself; the soul's acts of thought, though they pass on to other objects, nevertheless remain inside their begetters.
The material and last is that which the Egyptians have mostly used, owing to their ignorance, believing material objects actually to be Gods, and so calling them: e.g., they call the earth Isis, moisture Osiris, heat Typhon, or again, water Kronos, the fruits of the earth Adonis, and wine Dionysus.
To say that these objects are sacred to the Gods, like various herbs and stones and animals, is possible to sensible men, but to say that they are Gods is the notion of madmen except, perhaps, in the sense in which both the orb of the sun and the ray which comes from the orb are colloquially called "the sun".
Sallustius (or Sallust)
The essences of the Gods never came into existence (for that which always is never comes into existence; and that exists for ever which possesses primary force and by nature suffers nothing): neither do they consist of bodies; for even in bodies the powers are incorporeal. Neither are they contained by space; for that is a property of bodies. Neither are they separate from the first cause nor from one another, just as thoughts are not separate from mind nor acts of knowledge from the soul.
Sallustius (or Sallust) quotes
The mixed kind of myth may be seen in many instances: for example they say that in a banquet of the Gods Discord threw down a golden apple; the Goddesses contended for it, and were sent by Zeus to Paris to be judged. Paris saw Aphrodite to be beautiful and gave her the apple. Here the banquet signifies the hypercosmic powers of the Gods; that is why they are all together. The golden apple is the world, which being formed out of opposites, is naturally said to be "thrown by Discord." The different Gods bestow different gifts upon the world, and are thus said to "contend for the apple." And the soul which lives according to sense for that is what Paris is not seeing the other powers in the world but only beauty, declares that the apple belongs to Aphrodite.
Sallustius (or Sallust)
The Gods being good and making all things, there is no positive evil, it only comes by absence of good; just as darkness itself does not exist, but only comes about by absence of light.
Sallustius (or Sallust)
It is not unlikely, too, that the rejection of God is a kind of punishment: we may well believe that those who knew the Gods and neglected them in one life may in another life be deprived of the knowledge of them altogether. Also those who have worshipped their own kings as gods have deserved as their punishment to lose all knowledge of God.


© 2009–2013Quotes Privacy Policy | Contact