Matrices of Time and the Recycling of Evil in Sallust’s Historiography

Sophia Papaioannou


Historical process, according to Reinhart Koselleck, is distinguished by a special kind of temporality different from that found in nature and experienced by his historical subjects. This temporality is not linear but multileveled, and functions as a causal force of history. The historiographical process follows a similar course of multileveled development, and often it is accompanied by repetition. Repetition inserts circular time, that is, a more nature-oriented understanding of time, in the ‘scientific’ historical process, and infuses it with a sense of predeterminism, but also with a suggestion that historical process may be predicted and controlled. I shall study the interaction of linear time and circular historical time, as expressed in the understanding of temporality as observed in Sallust’s historiographical work. The Jugurthine War and the War against Catiline relate events that seem similar, and in this respect they substantiate the circularity of historical time; still, these same events have occurred in successive order, as a result of which circularity is diffused through progression. And yet, progression is not one-dimensional because it is subject to more than one narrative perspective. The final part of my paper will show that the multiple possible reconstructions of Sallust’s understanding of circular historical time in the Jugurthine War and the War against Catiline, have determined the characterization of Livy’s Hannibal, which in turn infuses intertextuality with a distinct temporal (and by extension, historical) side.

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ISSN: 2281-3209                DOI Prefix: 10.7408

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