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The identity of the author
The identity of the author of On
the Gods and the World is object of an ancient controversy. Already
Tillemont, based on numerous passages of the Res Gestae by Ammiano
Marcellino, had distinguished two personages who were legacies to the emperor
Julian the Apostate to which could have been attributed with equal probability
the paternity of the treaty.
These are Flavius Sallustius and
Saturninius Secundus Salustius. Both are famous also thanks to two honorable
registrations found both in Rome that concur to know their cursus honorum
(political careers). In particular from these registrations it is gained
that Flavius Sallustius, original of Spain, was prefect of the pretorship
of the Gaul from 361 until 363; Saturninius Secundus Salustius, born in
Gaul, was named prefect of the pretorship of the East in the 361. Since
there are sustained reasonings in favor of one or the other personage for
the attribution of the treaty, the critics are equally divided in two.
However the more recent studies,
seems to justify with more convincing reasonings the attribution of the
treaty to the prefect of the East, that is to Saturninius Secundus Salustius.
It is the ideological affinity and the friendship between Saturnino Second
Sallustius and the emperor Julian, from historical literary sources, that
support the inclination for such attribution.
Sallustius was a Neoplatonic philosopher
who flourished in the fourth century CE and was like his friend Julian
the Emperor member of the school of Pergamon. It is said to have written
the present work on On the Gods and The World for the benefit of
the Emperor Julian.
The Work by Sallustius
Personage pertaining to the group
of intimates of Julian the Emperor (nicknamed for spite "the Apostate"
by the Christians). Sallustius, the author of this short but dense treaty
evidently resolved to trace somewhat of a "catechism of Paganism ", one
formulation concise - but exhausting and incontrovertible - of the truth
that supports the Greco-Roman religion.
If therefore the written formulation
becomes part of a historical moment towards 363 CE (the vain restoration
attempt of Paganism from Julian), it contributes to reveal the remarkable
cultural knowledge, such it is the lucidity and the value of the short
but important job, that it can still today be read with advantage by those
who want to know that tradition better.
The anagogic interpretation of the
myth, the foundations of the ritual, the metaphysic principles, the ethic
formulations, the particular vision of the world of what all that has been
convenient to call "Paganism" - parades in front of the eyes of the precise
and agile reader a slowly expositive narrative of rare clarity, tricky
in its apparent simplicity.
the Gods and the World at the
Hellene Paganism page
the Gods and the World by Platonis Sallustius...
Dei Et Mundo MSS by Sheik Sebir
Et Mundo by Sallustius reviewed by Al Shaiyk Sebir
the Universe and the Gods Lecture Notes
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©1998-1999 Roy George