Article

Suetonius

David Wardle

in Classics

ISBN: 9780195389661
Published online May 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0154
Suetonius

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Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (born c. 69 ce) was prominent as a senior figure in the imperial administration of the early 2nd century ce and as a scholar who produced a range of works in the areas of biography, antiquarianism, and philology. The majority of these survive only as titles or in fragmentary form. He is best known for his best-preserved work, De vita Caesarum, biographies of the rulers of the Roman world from Julius Caesar to Domitian, and was probably the first Roman to write imperial biographies that were distinct from annalistic histories. The work is of major importance as a historical source for the early Principate, as his inclusivity has preserved much unique material revealing what contemporaries, and near-contemporaries, of the emperors said about them. It has often been criticized for its inclusion of trivial material and (wrongly) for an absence of critical judgment of the emperors. Its vivid depictions spawned imitators in antiquity and have remained a principal source for many modern depictions of the emperors.

Article.  7246 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Classical Art and Architecture ; Classical History ; Classical Literature ; Classical Philosophy

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