The Twelve Caesars
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The Twelve Caesars

3.9 9
by Suetonius
     
 

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An essential primary source on Roman history and a fascinating achievement of scholarship covering a critical period in the Empire

As private secretary to the Emperor Hadrian, the scholar Suetonius had access to the imperial archives and used them (along with eyewitness accounts) to produce one of the most colourful biographical works in history. The

Overview

An essential primary source on Roman history and a fascinating achievement of scholarship covering a critical period in the Empire

As private secretary to the Emperor Hadrian, the scholar Suetonius had access to the imperial archives and used them (along with eyewitness accounts) to produce one of the most colourful biographical works in history. The Twelve Caesars chronicles the public careers and private lives of the men who wielded absolute power over Rome, from the foundation of the empire under Julius Caesar and Augustus, to the decline into depravity and civil war under Nero and the recovery that came with his successors. A masterpiece of observation, anecdote and detailed physical description, The Twelve Caesars presents us with a gallery of vividly drawn—and all too human—individuals.

James B. Rives has sensitively updated Robert Graves's now classic translation, reinstating Latin terms and updating vocabulary while retaining the liveliness of the original. This edition contains a new chronology, further reading, glossaries, maps, notes and an introduction discussing Suetonius' life and works.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140455168
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/18/2007
Series:
Penguin Classics Series
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
96,828
Product dimensions:
5.09(w) x 7.78(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus was probably born in AD69—the famous "year of the four Emperors." From the letters of Suetonius’ close friend Pliny the Younger we learn that he practiced briefly at the bar, avoided political life, and became chief secretary to the Emperor Hadrian (AD117-38). Suetonius seems to have lived to a good age and probably died around the year AD140.

James Rives teaches in the area of Classical Studies at Stanford University. He is currently serving as Review Editor for Phoenix, Journal of the Classical Association of Canada.

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The Twelve Caesars 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 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. &quot;Emperor Nero caught burning down Rome&quot; 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 &quot;accomplishments&quot; 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).
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