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The Roman Traitor, Vol. 1   By: (1807-1858)

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First Page:

THE ROMAN TRAITOR:

OR

THE DAYS OF CICERO, CATO AND CATALINE.

A TRUE TALE OF THE REPUBLIC.

BY HENRY WILLIAM HERBERT AUTHOR OF "CROMWELL," "MARMADUKE WYVIL," "BROTHERS," ETC.

Why not a Borgia or a Catiline? POPE.

VOLUME I.

This is one of the most powerful Roman stories in the English language, and is of itself sufficient to stamp the writer as a powerful man. The dark intrigues of the days which C├Žsar, Sallust and Cicero made illustrious; when Cataline defied and almost defeated the Senate; when the plots which ultimately overthrew the Roman Republic were being formed, are described in a masterly manner. The book deserves a permanent position by the side of the great Bellum Catalinarium of Sallust, and if we mistake not will not fail to occupy a prominent place among those produced in America.

Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson, NO. 102 CHESTNUT STREET

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by T.B. PETERSON, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

PHILADELPHIA: STEREOTYPED BY GEORGE CHARLES, No. 9 Sansom Street.

PREFACE.

A few words are perhaps needed as an introduction to a work of far more ambitious character, than any which I have before attempted. In venturing to select a subject from the history of Rome, during its earlier ages, undeterred by the failure or, at the best, partial success of writers far more eminent than I can ever hope to become, I have been actuated by reasons, which, in order to relieve myself from the possible charge of presumption, I will state briefly.

It has long been my opinion, then, that there lay a vast field, rich with a harvest of material almost virgin, for the romancer's use, in the history of classic ages. And this at a period when the annals of every century and nation since the Christian era have been ransacked, and reproduced, in endless variety, for the entertainment of the hourly increasing reading world, is no small advantage.

Again, I have fancied that I could discover a cause for the imperfect success of great writers when dealing with classic fiction, in the fact of their endeavoring to be too learned, of their aiming too much at portraying Greeks and Romans, and too little at depicting men, forgetful that under all changes of custom, and costume, in all countries, ages, and conditions, the human heart is still the human heart, convulsed by the same passions, chilled by the same griefs, burning with the same joys, and, in the main, actuated by the same hopes and fears.

With these views, I many years ago deliberately selected this subject, for a novel, which has advanced by slow steps to such a degree of completeness as it has now attained.

Having determined on trying my success in classical fiction, the conspiracy of Cataline appeared to me, a theme particularly well adapted for the purpose, as being an actual event of vast importance, and in many respects unparalleled in history; as being partially familiar to every one, thoroughly understood perhaps by no one, so slender are the authentic documents concerning it which have come down to us, and so dark and mysterious the motives of the actors.

It possessed, therefore, among other qualifications, as the ground work of a historical Romance, one almost indispensable that of indistinctness, which gives scope to the exercise of imagination, without the necessity of falsifying either the truths or the probabilities of history.

Of the execution, I have, of course, nothing to say; but that I have sedulously avoided being overlearned; that few Latin words will be found in the work none whatsoever in the conversational parts, and none but the names of articles which have no direct English appellation; and that it is sufficiently simple and direct for the most unclassical reader... Continue reading book >>




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