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The Lives of the Twelve Caesars

The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus
By: (c75 - c160 AD)

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”.

First Page:


By C. Suetonius Tranquillus;

To which are added,


The Translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D.

Revised and corrected by T.Forester, Esq., A.M.


C. Suetonius Tranquillus was the son of a Roman knight who commanded a legion, on the side of Otho, at the battle which decided the fate of the empire in favour of Vitellius. From incidental notices in the following History, we learn that he was born towards the close of the reign of Vespasian, who died in the year 79 of the Christian era. He lived till the time of Hadrian, under whose administration he filled the office of secretary; until, with several others, he was dismissed for presuming on familiarities with the empress Sabina, of which we have no further account than that they were unbecoming his position in the imperial court. How long he survived this disgrace, which appears to have befallen him in the year 121, we are not informed; but we find that the leisure afforded him by his retirement, was employed in the composition of numerous works, of which the only portions now extant are collected in the present volume... Continue reading book >>

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