The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (75 AD – 160 AD), commonly known simply as Suetonius, was a Roman writer.

Suetonius was an administrator working as a secretary to the emperor Hadrian, prior to his disemployment by Hadrian. He is remembered chiefly as the author of "The Lives of the First Twelve Caesars" (De vita Caesarum), a history of Roman leaders, which has been the source for many works on Roman history, and he is generally considered one of the most impartial historians of ancient times.

This does not mean, however, that he did not have his favorites such as Caesar Augustus, whom he preferred vastly over such emperors as Nero and Gaius Caligula. Suetonius was also rather fond of alleged lewd details from the lives of those about whom he wrote. Many of these episodes, often sexual in nature, are likely derived from rumors going about at the time of Suetonius or in the records available to him in his erstwhile position in the administration of Hadrian, thus potentially representing 2nd century attitudes regarding prior emperors and the imperial office.

In very few cases did Suetonius cite his sources; one such example is when he was accentuating the fact that Caesar Augustus's detractors were often his enemies, such as Mark Antony, who is cited as a dubious source for some negative rumors regarding Caesar Augustus in the fourth chapter of Suetonius's biography thereof.

Suetonius made one reference to "Chrestus", which may refer to "Christ". See Suetonius on Jesus.

Other works

  • De Illustribus Grammaticis
  • De Claris Rhetoribus
  • De Viribus Illustris

External links

Last updated: 08-27-2005 06:16:30