De vita Caesarum, known as The Twelve Caesars, is a set of twelve biographies, each about one of the Roman emperors, including one on Julius Caesar. It was written by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly referred to as Suetonius, in 121. Considered highly significant in antiquity, The Twelve Caesars has remained a major source of Roman history.
The Lives of the Caesars include the biographies of Julius Caesar and the eleven subsequent emperors: Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitelius, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian. Suetonius composed his material from a variety of sources, without much concern for their reliability. His biographies consist the ancestry and career of each emperor in turn; however, his interest is not so much analytical or historical, but anecdotal and salacious which gives rise to a lively and provocative succession of portraits. The account of Julius Caesar does not simply mention his crossing of the Rubicon and his assassination, but draws attention to his dark piercing eyes and attempts to conceal his baldness. The Live of Caligula presents a vivid picture of the emperor's grotesque appearance, his waywardness, and his insane cruelties. The format and style of Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars was to set the tone for biography throughout western literature - his work remains thoroughly readable and full of interest. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
"Donna Hurley has done a sterling job in providing us with both an Introduction to Suetonius and a translation of The Caesars that we can confidently recommend to students. Her Introduction summarizes a complex topic succinctly and is informative without being overwhelming, set at an ideal level for the student and intelligent enthusiast. Her translation is accurate and contemporary. Her primary goal is faithfulness to the original, which she achieves, but at the same time she recognizes the need to make her text clear, entertaining, and comprehensible to the modern reader, and she strikes exactly the right balance." --Anthony Barrett, Emeritus, University of British Columbia
"Hurley, who has written extensively and with authority on Suetonius, knows her author and his text thoroughly, and her Introduction to them is a model of presentation. Annotation (footnotes, not endnotes) is concise and to the point; essential background is gracefully sketched in a preliminary section on Roman institutions; maps and plans are clear and full. This thoughtful concern for the reader's needs justifies confidence in the translation itself: for its combination of accuracy, clarity, and readability, it is the best." --Edward Champlin, Princeton University
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