Aurelius Victor and the ending of Sallust's Jugurtha

Justin Stover, George Woudhuysen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In his De Caesaribus, the historian Aurelius Victor drew a comparison between the emperor Diocletian and the Republican general and consul Marius: two ambitious individuals from humble backgrounds who had dressed in an excessively extravagant and arrogant fashion. That comparison used an allusion to what is now a fragment of Sallust (Maurenbrecher 2.62) to sharpen its point. This article shows that the conventional interpretation of the fragment (as a reference to the battle of Sucro) is unlikely and that it instead relates to Marius’ dress at his triumph over Jugurtha: it logically belongs to Sallust’s monograph, not his Histories (for which it is too early in date). At first sight, there appears to be no place in the Jugurtha for it, but the article then argues that there are strong reasons to think that the work is not complete, but is missing its closing portion. Transmission, testimonia, and literary features combine to suggest that it is a mutilated text. The article concludes that the fragment belongs to the lost end of the Jugurtha, and suggests an outline of what that ending might have contained. That was where Victor found it and exploited it to draw a pointed comparison between emperor and general.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2021


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