Overview

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, better known as Suetonius (ca. 69/75 – after 130), was an Ancient Roman historian during who lived at a time when the Roman Empire was still relatively new. He wrote about the daily life in Rome, politics, and biographies of famous poets and other historians. But he’s best remembered for his biographies of the Twelve Caesars, starting with Julius Caesar and ending at Domitian.

De vita Caesarum, Latin for “On the ...
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The Twelve Caesars (Illustrated)

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Overview

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, better known as Suetonius (ca. 69/75 – after 130), was an Ancient Roman historian during who lived at a time when the Roman Empire was still relatively new. He wrote about the daily life in Rome, politics, and biographies of famous poets and other historians. But he’s best remembered for his biographies of the Twelve Caesars, starting with Julius Caesar and ending at Domitian.

De vita Caesarum, Latin for “On the Life of the Caesars,” is better known as The Twelve Caesars. Suetonius wrote it in 121 A.D. at the height of the reign of Hadrian. Suetonius was apparently Hadrian’s secretary, but the frequently traveling emperor apparently provided Suetonius enough down time to put in a serious amount of research at Rome’s imperial archives to study the lives of the Caesars.

The Twelve Caesars is an important work that gives readers an in depth look at the lives of these emperors, as well as the turmoil going on in Rome as it switched from the Republic to the Empire during Julius Caesar’s life. This edition includes images, original commentary, and a linked Table of Contents for each biography.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940012945549
  • Publisher: Charles River Editors
  • Publication date: 6/5/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 513,912
  • File size: 2 MB

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I have always enjoyed Roman history and reading the classical hi

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2012

    INFORMATIVE AND EASY TO UNDERSTAND

    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!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent

    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).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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