Suetonius: Strengths and Weaknesses

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The ancient historian Suetonius was born in the year AD 69, when his father, a Roman knight, served as a colonel in a regular legion and took part in the Battle of Baetricum. From the letters of Suetonius's 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. The historian Spartianus records that he was one of several Palace officials, including the Guards Commander, whom Hadrian, when he returned from Britain, dismissed for behaving indiscreetly with the Empress Sabina. Suetonius lived a great life as a historian and biographer and wrote many books. The titles of his books are recorded as follows: The Twelve Caesars; Royal Biographies;…show more content…
Suetonius tried to give his readers insights into the characters of individual Caesars through a wide variety of means, including, for instance, descriptions of their physical appearance which was thought by ancient people to be a clear index of a person's character. That brings about the question of if Suetonius is a credible source for the lives of the Caesars. People could say that it has nothing to do with how the Caesars worked as Caesars and the material he gives is of unimportance to us, therefore being a weakness in his works. The Romans did care of how the Caesars lived in their personal lives though because that was of great importance to them. This to the people of Rome is a great strength is Suetonius works. To build upon a greater strength for Suetonius he did understand the emperors were administrators to the Roman world. When writing about the emperor's job he does add everything that being an emperor is all about. He talks about the geography. He subdivides socially, the treatment of the senate, the equestrian order, the Roman citizens, and the slaves. He deals with the areas of public life, religion, military, and civilian. So all though he talks a lot about the personal lives of the Caesars he does include a big amount of how the Caesars did their jobs. Suetonius brought about a new style of biographies of the Caesars. Some believe it was to be for the good of society, and some

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