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The Twelve Caesars

The Twelve Caesars

4.0 10
by Suetonius

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The Twelve Ceasars of Suetonius (born AD 69), covering the Roman rulers from Julius Caesar to Domitian, remains one of the richest and most fascinating of all Latin histories. Suetonius gathered much of his information from eye-witnesses, checking his facts carefully and quoting conflicting evidence without bias. But his history is also the most vivid and

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The Twelve Caesars 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
PatrickKanouse More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed Roman history and reading the classical historians, but I had not yet found time to read Suetonius's De vita Caesarum. In Donna Leon's Brunetti series, the Commissario often reads The Twelve Caesars, and I thought it was about time I read the book. I do not read Latin, so I read the updated Robert Graves translation. Suetonius has a reputation for scandalous writing, the kind of writing seen in the more outlandish celebrity coverage. "Emperor Nero caught burning down Rome" with associated paparazzi photographs. Suetonius compared to Tacitus and other Roman historians is certainly more that way, though I think his reputation here is a bit overblown. In general, he proceeds along a calm if interesting path. Suetonius begins his brief biographies with Julius Caesar and ends with Domitian. Both Julius Caesar and Augustus receive the longest biographies, with the short reigns of Galba, Otho, and Vitellius are appropriately short. Each biography follows a set structure (mostly): Background with omens of eventually becoming emperor, primary "accomplishments" during the reign, physical description, death, and omens regarding the death. Suetonius makes much use of letters and quotes the emperors and others, which is not a common practice. Suetonius provides a lot of information about what these emperors were like along with interesting details of daily Roman life along the way. Enjoyable, humorous at times, and engaging, for those interested in the early principate, read Suetonius's The Twelve Caesars.
Bas-Bleu51 More than 1 year ago
After reading several other historical books, one name kept coming up over and over again as a reference - SUETONIUS! It is the most intact of the ancient accounts, and he had access to information long destroyed or lost. James Rives has taken Robert Graves translation and updated it to perfection...truly worthy of a Penguin publication!
-Kari- More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books that I have ever read- Suetonius' The Twelve Caesars is filled with both horror and humor- making it quite entertaining. Suetonius provides the reader with descriptions of the history, lifestyle, and behavior of each Caesar (i.e. Caligula used to sit and make horrible faces in front of a mirror for several hours...), as wells as excellent physical descriptions of each Caesar (hairstyle, facial features, physique, and even clothing).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Penguin Classics personally is my favorite publishing company. And when a good publishing company comes together with a good translator'Robert Graves, author of I,Claudiu', comes a thrilling adventure for all time. The 12 Caesars are the lives of the first emperors, well except Julius Caesar, who was Dictator. It tells the deeds and the habits of all the emperors, from the comradeship of Julius Caesar with his soldiers, Augustus's participation in public life, Nero's houses, and Vespasian's good sense of humor, you have quite a book on your hands. The 12 Caesars is like no other classic, Tacitus basically covers the reigns, Appian covers the Civil War, Cassius Dio is just about all of Rome and does not take specific highlights on the Emperors 'aka what Augustus liked to eat'. This book is for all time and should be enjoyed by the dead and young alike.
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