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The Twelve Caesars (Penguin Classics) by…
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The Twelve Caesars (Penguin Classics) (edition 2003)

by Suetonius, Michael Grant (Editor), Michael Grant (Introduction), Robert Graves (Translator)

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5,086541,409 (4.02)96
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 Caesarschronicles 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 Caesarspresents us with a gallery of vividly drawn - and all too human - individuals.… (more)
Member:colodom
Title:The Twelve Caesars (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Suetonius
Other authors:Michael Grant (Editor), Michael Grant (Introduction), Robert Graves (Translator)
Info:Penguin Classics (2003), Paperback, 384 pages
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History of the Twelve Caesars by Suetonius

  1. 20
    The Secret History by Procopius (Michael.Rimmer)
    Michael.Rimmer: Both are 'behind-the-scenes' exposés of the lives of emperors which provided inspiration to Robert Graves.
  2. 00
    The Twelve Caesars by Michael Grant (Birlinn)
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» See also 96 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
For the past two millennia Caesar has denoted the absolute ruler of an empire, a legacy of one man who ruled Rome and the men who succeeded him and used his name. The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius gives biographical sketches of the men who ruled the Western world for a century and a half, from the end of the Republic to the death of Domitian.

Each of Suetonius’ biographies follow the similar pattern in which the individual’s heritage, political-military career, private lives, personal habits, and physical appearance. Though the pattern is the same, Suetonius’ style is to slowly weave in elements of one section into another—except for physical appearance—thus not breaking a nice flow for the reader. As the main source of Caligula (Gaius in the text), Claudius, and Vespasian’s family history, Suetonius not only adds on top of Tacitus but covers what was lost from his contemporary’s works. Yet unlike Tacitus, gossip and innuendo features a lot in the work making this book a little bit racy compared to Suetonius’ contemporary.

The translation by Robert Graves—of I, Claudius fame—was wonderfully done and did a lot to give the text a great flow. Of Suetonius’ text the overwhelming use of portents and omens was a bit too much at times, though given the time period of the historian’s life this superstitious view was a part of everyday life.

The Twelve Caesars gives another view of the men who ruled the Western world. Suetonius’ writing style and subject matter contrast with Tacitus but only for the better for the reader of both who get a full picture of the individuals the two contemporary historians cover. ( )
  mattries37315 | Dec 4, 2019 |
This edition not to be confused with the much longer edition with commentary. Robert Graves has simple translated Suetonius and left the author to speak for himself
  NaggedMan | Nov 27, 2019 |
Interesting account of the 1st 12 emperors of Rome. It puts a whole knew spin on history to hear that Julius Caesar was never able to live down the appellation "Queen of Bithynia." One problem with this recording, which may be a result of the book being read, is large chunks of untranslated Latin. There also seems to be a change of tone in each section which might indicate a commentary rather than the original work. All helpful, but I like to know which is which. The idea of commentary by the translator is suggested to me by references to the Christian Era, which would have foreign to a Pagan author who died ca 125, well before any Roman would have considered the future dominance of an obscure sect as a serious possibility.
  ritaer | Jul 8, 2019 |
The Penguin Classics volume: “Suetonius - The Twelve Caesars” is a difficult book to rate. From a classics standpoint it is a must read for anyone interested in the history of Rome, and the Penguin Classics treatment is well done and provides a wealth of information to help the reader understand the context and meaning, as well as where Suetonius is the only source and where he appears to be wrong in what he has written. From this standpoint, I would give it 5 stars, but when it comes to the actual content and the uneven way it is presented, and the non-chronological information, it is hardly the greatest biographical or historical work from ancient times.
We know from what he writes, that Suetonius had information from his family, as well as from his positions working for emperors such as Trajan and Hadrian, though it is possible that it was only under Hadrian that he held them. The biographies have the same basic format, a chronological section about the ancestry and emperor’s birth and life prior to accession. This is followed by a topical discussion of what took place during the reign of the person, and then a section on the death of the individual. The topical section is handled differently, in the case of the longer serving emperors there appear to be public and private sections, whereas with those emperors who are viewed as bad, the topical section is divided into the good and neutral vs. the negative.
Regardless of its flaws, these works are important to read for anyone interested in the history of Rome, and the Penguin Classics edition adds tremendously to that experience. ( )
  dave_42 | Jun 30, 2019 |
How does a institutionalized respect for political figures decay over time? How an emperor view their predecessor, and what happens to this retrospective gaze as it is serialized through a succession of many emperors?

The Twelve Caesar's is the necessary companion to Plutarch's Lives, at least concerning the emperors. ( )
  alexanme | Dec 9, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (204 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Suetoniusprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ailloud, HenriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barton, TamsynIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bird, H. M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dessì, FeliceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edwards, CatharineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freese, J. H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gavorse, JosephEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gérôme, Jean-LéonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grant, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graves, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graves, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hawthorn, RaymondIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hengst, D. denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, PhilemonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollo, J. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
La Harpe, Jean-François deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
La Pause, Henri Ophellot deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lagerström, IngemarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Linkomies, EdwinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pape, Frank C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whibley, CharlesIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Contains

The Twelve Caesars, Book 10: Vespasian by Suetonius

The Twelve Caesars, Book 06: Nero (Latin) by Suetonius

The Twelve Caesars, Book 12: Domitian (Latin) by Suetonius

The Twelve Caesars, Book 05: Divus Claudius by Suetonius

Suetonius, Vol. 1: The Lives of the Caesars--Julius. Augustus. Tiberius. Gaius. Caligula (Loeb Classical Library, No. 31) by Suetonius

SUETONIUS Vol.II The Lives of the Caesars, II: Claudius. Nero. Galba, Otho, and Vitellius. Vespasian. Titus, Domitian. Lives of Illustrious Men: Grammarians and Rhetoricians. ..Passienus Crispus (Loeb by Suetonius

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In the course of his sixteenth year, he lost his father.
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