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The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Volume 07: Galba   By: (75-160)

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"The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Volume 07: Galba" by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus is a captivating and comprehensive account of the life and reign of the Roman emperor Galba. This historic biography sheds light on one of the lesser-known Caesars, providing readers with a deep understanding of his character and the turbulent times he lived in.

Tranquillus' writing style is engaging and accessible, making the book an enjoyable and informative read for both history enthusiasts and general readers. He meticulously chronicles Galba's rise to power, starting with his early military career and political aspirations. The author vividly describes the political landscape of ancient Rome, highlighting the intricate alliances, power struggles, and the influence of the Senate during this period.

One of the strengths of this biography is the meticulous research and attention to detail undertaken by Tranquillus. He draws from a variety of historical sources, including official documents, letters, and eyewitness accounts, to present a well-rounded and balanced portrayal of Galba as both a leader and an individual. The extensive background information and context provided by the author help readers understand the motivations and decisions made by Galba during his time in power.

Moreover, Tranquillus delves into Galba's personal life, examining his relationships, his character flaws, and his impact on Roman society. He paints a complex picture of a man torn between duty and ambition, while also exploring the emperor's strengths and weaknesses. This holistic approach allows readers to form a nuanced understanding of Galba, going beyond the typical anecdotes and legends associated with many historical figures.

Furthermore, the author analyzes the broader historical significance of Galba's reign. He discusses the political, social, and economic challenges faced by the Roman Empire at the time, demonstrating how the decisions made by Galba influenced the course of history. Tranquillus also explores the impact of Galba's assassination on subsequent emperors, illustrating the far-reaching consequences of this pivotal event.

However, while the book provides a wealth of information, it can sometimes become overwhelming with a deluge of names, dates, and events. This may pose a challenge for readers who are less familiar with Roman history, as the narrative can occasionally become dense and hard to follow. Nevertheless, Tranquillus's efforts to present a comprehensive account of Galba's life and reign outweigh this minor drawback.

In conclusion, "The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Volume 07: Galba" is a meticulously researched and engaging historical biography. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus successfully brings Galba and the tumultuous era of Rome to life, offering readers a deeper understanding of this often overlooked emperor. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply seeking an informative and captivating read, this biography is a valuable addition to any bookshelf.

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.



I. The race of the Caesars became extinct in Nero; an event prognosticated by various signs, two of which were particularly significant. Formerly, when Livia, after her marriage with Augustus, was making a visit to her villa at Veii [639], an eagle flying by, let drop upon her lap a hen, with a sprig of laurel in her mouth, just as she had seized it. Livia gave orders to have the hen taken care of, and the sprig of laurel set; and the hen reared such a numerous brood of chickens, that the villa, to this day, is called the Villa of the Hens [640]. The laurel groves flourished so much, that the Caesars procured thence the boughs and crowns they bore at their triumphs. It was also their constant custom to plant others on the same spot, immediately after a triumph; and it was observed that, a little before the death of each prince, the tree which had been set by him died away... Continue reading book >>

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