Suetonius  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly known as Suetonius (ca. 69/75 – after 130), was an equestrian and a historian during the Roman Empire. His most important surviving work is a set of biographies of twelve successive Roman rulers, from Julius Caesar until Domitian, entitled De Vita Caesarum. Other works by Suetonius concern the daily life of Rome, politics, oratory, and the lives of famous writers, including poets, historians, and grammarians. A few of these books have partially survived, but many are entirely lost.

Contents

Works

Twelve Caesars

Lives of the Twelve Caesars

He is mainly remembered as the author of De Vita Caesarum ("The Lives of the Caesars", best known in English as "The Twelve Caesars"), his only extant work except for the brief lives and other fragments noted below. The Twelve Caesars, probably written in Hadrian's time, is a collective biography of the Roman Empire's first leaders, Julius Caesar (the first few chapters are missing), Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. The book was dedicated to a friend Gaius Septicius Clarus, a prefect of the Praetorian Guard in 119. The work tells the tale of each Caesar's life according to a set formula: the descriptions of appearance, omens, family history, quotes, and then a history are given in a consistent order for each Caesar.

Other works

Partly extant

  • De Viris Illustribus ("On Famous Men" — in the field of literature), to which belong:
    • De Illustribus Grammaticis ("Lives Of The Grammarians"; 20 brief lives, apparently complete)
    • De Claris Rhetoribus ("Lives Of The Rhetoricians"; 5 brief lives out of an original 16 survive) There might be a discrepancy attributing this work to Suetonius because Cicero wrote De Oratore which was his treatise on the lives of Rhetoricians. Someone should clarify.
    • De Poetis ("Lives Of The Poets"; the life of Virgil, as well as fragments from the lives of Terence, Horace and Lucan, survive)
    • De historicis ("Lives of the historians"; a brief life of Pliny the Elder is attributed to this work)
  • Peri ton par' Hellesi paidion ("Greek Games")
  • Peri blasphemion ("Greek Terms of Abuse")

The two last works were written in Greek. They apparently survive in part in the form of extracts in later Greek glossaries.

Lost works

  • Royal Biographies
  • Lives of Famous Whores
  • Roman Manners and Customs
  • The Roman Year
  • The Roman Festivals
  • Roman Dress
  • Offices of State
  • On Cicero’s Republic
  • Physical Defects of Mankind
  • Methods of Reckoning Time
  • An Essay on Nature
  • Grammatical Problems
  • Critical Signs Used in Books




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Suetonius" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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