The Twelve Caesars by James SuetoniusThe Twelve Caesars by James Suetonius

The Twelve Caesars

byJames SuetoniusTranslated byRobert GravesRevised byJames Rives

Paperback | December 18, 2007

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An essential primary source on Roman history and a fascinating achievement of scholarship covering a critical period in the Empire

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 Caesars chronicles 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 Caesars presents us with a gallery of vividly drawn—and all too human—individuals.

James B. Rives has sensitively updated Robert Graves's now classic translation, reinstating Latin terms and updating vocabulary while retaining the liveliness of the original. This edition contains a new chronology, further reading, glossaries, maps, notes and an introduction discussing Suetonius' life and works.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus was probably born in AD69—the famous "year of the four Emperors." From the letters of Suetonius’ close friend Pliny the Younger we learn that he practiced briefly at the bar, avoided political life, and became chief secretary to the Emperor Hadrian (AD117-38). Suetonius seems to have lived to a good age and ...
Title:The Twelve CaesarsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 7.76 × 5.08 × 0.79 inPublished:December 18, 2007Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140455167

ISBN - 13:9780140455168

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Serious History Meets the National Enquirer This book was an absolute pleasure to read, offering details on the first 12 “Caesars” of the Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar to Domitian. The author, Suetonius, was a scholar and writer dating to Hadrian’s time, only a few years after Domitian’s reign, who had uncommon access to archival texts and other direct sources, including his own recollections, that enabled him to write a real “tell-all” about the 12 men, and their times to a lesser extent. From the substantive details of their achievements and personalities to the juicy gossip on how they amused themselves in their spare time . . . needless to say, some pretty screwed up dudes in this bunch. Yow. This is not a history book, and the author presumes you have a fairly detailed knowledge of the events and people of the time. All the discussion revolves around the twelve men, with no extraneous discussion that does not inform them. The author applies roughly the same template to each, starting with a bit about their bloodline, leading to their birth, some notes about their childhoods and their personalities as children, leading to a discussion of the virtues and accomplishments of each, followed by a discussion of their various flaws, weaknesses, depravities and other bad acts. Also very amusing is a very unvarnished physical description of each man, from Claudius’ tendency to drool, to Domitian’s spindly legs and bad hair . . . A fast, entertaining read and a nice compliment to more pithy historical readings on the Romans.
Date published: 2008-08-08