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The Lives of Twelve Caesars

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus

Book Overview: 

The Twelve Caesars is a set of twelve biographies of Julius Caesar and the first 11 emperors of the Roman Empire. The work was written in 121 during the reign of the emperor Hadrian, while Suetonius was Hadrian’s personal secretary. On the Life of the Caesars concentrates on the acts and personalities of the Julio-Claudians and their immediate successors. Together with Tacitus’ Annals, this work is a major source for the historical details in Robert Graves’ novels “I Claudius” and “Claudius the God”.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Eutychus, and that of the animal, Nichon 251. After the victory, he erected a brazen statue to each, in a temple built upon the spot where he had encamped.

XCVII. His death, of which I shall now speak, and his subsequent deification, were intimated by divers manifest prodigies. As he was finishing the census amidst a great crowd of people in the Campus Martius, an eagle hovered round him several times, and then directed its course to a neighbouring temple, where it settled upon the name of Agrippa, and at the first letter. Upon observing this, he ordered his colleague Tiberius to put up the vows, which it is usual to make on such occasions, for the succeeding Lustrum. For he declared he would not meddle with what it was probable he should never accomplish, though the tables were ready drawn for it. About the same time, the first letter of his name, in an inscription upon one of his statues, was struck out by lightning; which was interpreted as a presage t. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Fantastic! Full of fascinating and entertaining anecdotal tales from the lives of 12 Caesars. I’m glad I started here before diving into more of the history of Rome. This is a great place to jump in. This definitely sparked my interest. Basically a book of gossip from the ancient world. If even a sm

The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius is a classic. Suetonius was the son of a Roman Night who was born towards the end of the reign of Vespasian (69 CE) and died sometime after 122 CE. He wrote this collection of biographies during the reign of Emperor Hadrian.

He intended to write memoirs rather than a

This is a book I have wanted to read for many years.
Thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is in my Top 10 books. I love it so much, i think i have read it 3 times (no joke). I took this book with me on my travels in Rome and I bored Matt with my constant readings whilst we were visiting all of the historic sites. I have a huge facination with Roman History, so I do appreciate that m

Stranger than any fiction - the chapter on Caligula is truly disturbing. The fact that Suetonius had access to material that others could not get makes this a very interesting examination of Julius Caesar and the first eleven emperors of the Rome. It is amazing to see power that corrupts so absolute

No words. Each and every member of that "family" and ahherm non family who acquired that infamous title ceasar is such a massive wrecking case of extreams that I can't even begin to fathom that these men are real. Let alone contemplate what citizens must of thought of them in their day. Really? If S

This Penguin Classic of The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius is the perfect place to start for anybody interested in ancient Greco-Roman history and culture. Not only is this a most engaging translation by Robert Graves, author of I Claudius, but there is a short Forward by classics scholar, Michael Gran

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