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Lives Of The Twelve Caesars

By Suetonius (Author)
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Item description for Lives Of The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius...

Suetonius wrote his Lives of the Twelve Caesars in the reign of Vespasian around 70AD. He chronicled the extraordinary careers of Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian and Domitian and the rest in technicolour terms. They presented some high and low times at the heart of the Roman Empire. The accounts provide us with perspicacious insights into the men as much as their reigns - and it was from Suetonius that subsequent writers such as Robert Graves drew so much of his material.

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Item Specifications...

Format: Abridged,   Audiobook
Studio: Naxos Audiobooks
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 5.59" Width: 4.88" Height: 1.02"
Weight:   0.88 lbs.
Binding  CD
Release Date   May 30, 2005
Publisher   Naxos Audiobooks
ISBN  9626343397  
ISBN13  9789626343395  

Availability  0 units.

More About Suetonius

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly known as Suetonius (ca. 70-ca. 135), was a Roman historian, administrator, and writer belonging to the equestrian order in the early Imperial era.
Clive Chafer is a professional actor, director, and producer, as well as a theater instructor. He is the founder of TheatreFIRST, Oakland's only professional, season-producing theater company, where he served as artistic director until 2008. He teaches classical dramatic literature and other subjects at the University of San Francisco.

Suetonius has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Audio CDs > Biographies & Memoirs
2Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
4Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > General
5Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical
6Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > General
7Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Rome

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Reviews - What do customers think about Lives Of The Twelve Caesars?

If ancient Rome had tabloids...  Dec 10, 2005
Not much is known about the life of Gaius Suetonius Tranquillis. He was probably born in A.D. 69--the famous 'year of four Emperors'--when his father, a Roman knight, served as a colonel in a regular legion and took part in the Battle of Baetricum.

Suetonius became a scribe and noted secretary to the military set, eventually ending up in the service of Hadrian, who was emperor from A.D. 117-138. He was dismissed for 'indiscreet behaviour' with Hadrian's empress, Sabina, but not before doing sufficient research to complete many books of a historical nature. His attempts at philosophy were much less well received, and most of his history has been overlooked by all but classical scholars, but this work, 'The Twelve Caesars' has held the imagination of more than just the scholarly set since it was first written.

Suetonius had the good fortune of speaking to eyewitnesses from the time of the early Caesars. Much of his information about Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero in fact comes from those who observed and/or participated in their lives. Suetonius is in many ways more of a reporter than an historian--he would record conflicting statements without worrying about the reconciliation (this set him apart from Tacitus and other classical historians who tried to find a consistency in stories and facts.

Suetonius has been described as the tabloid journalist of ancient Rome, because not only did he not appear to check facts (which in fact is not true--he did check, he just didn't try to smooth over the conflicting facts), but he choose to concentrate on the private lives, motivations and personality quirks of his subjects rather than their grand plans, policies and military/political victories. Thus, many details of the lurid scene appear. Suetonius, and this volume in particular, formed much of the basis for Robert Graves as he wrote 'I, Claudius' and 'Claudius the God', which in turn pulled up the popularity of Suetonius in this generation.

Suetonius had first hand knowledge of many of the Caesars who followed the Claudians, and ready access to the archives of the imperial family and the Senate, given his imperial posting.

This translation is not intended to be a faithful rendering of the language (which might well result in a stilted English construct) but rather a faithful account of the stories Suetonius tells. Graves has taken the liberty of changing monetary, date, and technical terms into standard English measurements of close kinship of meaning.

For the record, the twelve Caesars, about whom Suetonius writes, are:

+ Julius Caesar
+ Augustus
+ Tiberius
+ Gaius Caligula
+ Claudius
+ Nero
+ Galba
+ Otho
+ Vitellius
+ Vespasian
+ Titus
+ Domitian

Suetonius held nothing back in writing about the personal habits of the emperors and their families, nor did he hold back in his moral judgement of them. Of Tiberius, for instance, he wrote that Tiberius did so many other wicked deeds under the pretext of reforming public morals--but in reality to gratify his lust for seeing people suffer--that many satires were written against the evils of the day, incidentally expressing gloomy fears about the future.... At first Tiberius dismissed these verses as the work of bilious malcontents who were impatient with his reforms and did not really mean what they said. He would remark: 'Let them hate me, so long as they fear me!' But, as time went on, his conduct justified every line they had written.

Graves' edition of Suetonius is available under many covers, from hard-back study editions to Penguin paperbacks, including a wonderful, finely printed edition by the Folio Society. Take a step back into the seemier side of ancient Rome, the side most history courses overlook in favour of more traditional historical events, and hie thee to the bookstore for this work.

All the Dirty Laundry!  Sep 9, 2005
Seutonius did the world a great service when he wrote his "The Lives of the Twelve Caesars". This was one of the first primary sources that I read, and it remains a favourite of mine.

Seutonius tackles each of the first twelve Caesars in chronological order, with a section on each one. He claims he has used many sources, and has even included some hearsay or otherwise unconfirmed information. He certainly was not shy about airing their dirty laundry.

Unlike a lot of ancient authors that get translated into English, Suetonius' style is very relaxed and very easy to get absorbed into. Even in translation, the book maintains a brisk pace and has enough to keep one interested until the last page.

Suetonius' "The Lives of the Twelve Caesars" is a fascinating book, written with access to sources long lost to us. This is a great book to read and enjoy, simultaneously being good for those interested in serious study of the period.
Fascinating insights into 12 first century leaders  Oct 1, 2003
Suetonius book covers the lives and works of the 12 leading Romans of the periode from ca. 70BC to 96AD: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasianus, Titus and Domitianus. He describes their commendable achievements first an then goes in depth into their not so nice qualities too. The account he gives is lively and alive with quite private details of the 12 men. It's a fascinating read that also gives the reader an insight into Roman live in the first century AD
A must for advocates of democracy opposed to demagogues  Mar 8, 2001
I find this book essential not, as most readers see, a simple history of Rome, but rather as a grim example of the excesses possible when democracy fails and absolute power is contained in one human being(Rome beginning its career as a wonderfull Republic). Although most see Suetonius' vivid descriptions of lust and other deviant vices as mere gossip, I propose that is exactly what he is trying to elucidate for the ages to see. These same excesses gave rise to almost the entire fundamental ideas of the religion known as Christianity and their whole hearted opposition to orgies, torture, crucifictions, feeding to the lions and the like, all due to the whims of deranged monkeys who called themselves Caesar. Read for yourself, for example, the history behind St. Valentine's day.
Read your primary sources people!  Feb 16, 2000
In historical study there are two types of literature. Secondary sources are written based on the original writings which are known as Primary sources. If you want to lern about the earliest Roman Emperors this source is indispensable. True, some of it is not historical and Suetonius is somewhat of a gossip monger at times, seeing as he explains in detail the various sexual appetites of each Caesar as well as other deviant behaviour. Still, this is one of the foremost primary sources about those famous Romans and most of the history books written on the Caesars are standing on Suetonius' shoulders.

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