The Twelve Caesars

The Twelve Caesars

by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, A. S. Kline

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940159115300
Publisher: Poetry in Translation
Publication date: 03/22/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Suetonius (Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus) was born c. 69AD, probably in Hippo Regius in North Africa, (modern Annaba, in north-eastern Algeria), and died sometime after 122AD. His father, Suetonius Laetus, was a tribune of equestrian rank in the Thirteenth Legion Gemina. From the letters of Suetonius’ close friend Pliny the Younger, consul in 100AD, we know that he briefly practised law. Pliny helped him buy a small property and find favour with the Emperor Trajan. Suetonius later became general secretary to the Emperor Hadrian (117-138AD), and occupied a number of other important offices. He was however one of several Palace officials, including the Guards Commander, whom Hadrian later dismissed, apparently for complex reasons to do with Hadrian’s relationship with his Empress Vibia Sabina. In addition to fragments of Illustrious Writers, which include short biographies of Virgil, Horace, and Lucan, his main work extant is The Twelve Caesars.

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The Twelve Caesars 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Surely the lurid and readable text of Suetonius is scandal-mongering at its best. The fabulous lives of the rulers of Imperial Rome are set forth in bite-size chapters, well-spiced with anecdotal detail. What Suetonius may lack as an historian he makes up for as a gossip columnist. I return to him periodically, and always find it an enjoyable read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although you can't rank him with Tacitus, and Suetonius certainly dosen't bother to give much background information, he did write an entertaining introduction to the lives of those first rulers of imperial Rome we have only known by rumors but find the truth was even more bizarre. This fine translation by the poet Robert Graves was the inspiration for his classic novels 'I, Claudius' and 'Claudius the God.'
datrappert on LibraryThing 26 days ago
This is a pleasure from beginning to end and started me on a long streak of reading original Roman and Greek authors. Suetonius is not always reliable, but he is the source of so many things that have entered our culture and our language. Reading this book will create more "a-ha" moments for a reasonably intelligent reader than just about anything else I can think of. Robert Graves translation is excellent, as one would expect from reading his own books.
adpaton on LibraryThing 26 days ago
If you thought salacious tell-all celebrity biographies were a 20th Century phenomenon, think again! Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus was a 1st Century Roman nobleman who worked as secretary for both the emperors Trajan and Hadrian: his position in the Imperial household did not stop him penning the most gossipy and scandalous histories of former holders of the highest office. Tellingly, he did not write about the two men under whom he had served: I don't know what the laws of libel were like back in 75 AD [roughly the time of writing] but many of the things Suetonius said would have got him killed had the charges been leveled against someone strill living.Caligula, for example, was not only insane, he was also incestuous, pimped out his royal sisters, turned the palace into a brothel and tried to make his horse a consul - the rough equivalent of a Prime Minister.However, Caligula's name is a byword by depravity and we would expect no less: we might be surprised however at his description of Julius Caesar as an epileptic with a high-pitched voice and a comb-over, he enjoyed taking it up the bum, or Tiberius as a perverse and vicious brute. Claudius drooled, had a bad stutter and was also prone to fits: he was a greedy drunkard, weak, cruel and stupid - but still a paragon of all the virtues when compared with his successor, the infamous Nero, about whom the only good thing he has to say is that he was a gifted musician. On the other hand, Suetonius started the rumour that Nero fiddled while Rome burned.Great stuff, a real page turned even now. If you thought the Romans were stuffy, read the Twelve Caesars and think again! Also pity our poor modern biographers who have such tame fodder to work with...
AlexTheHunn on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Graves's translation of Seutonious allows the modern reader an intimate look into the personal lives of the first Roman emperors. These are useful clues into the attitudes of Romans and the workings of the early Empire. Although it seems Seutonious had an agenda of his own, his information seems credible and useful, and always interesting.