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(Caius Suetonius Tranquillus) (swētō`nēəs), c.A.D. 69–c.A.D. 140, Roman biographer. Little is known about his life except that he was briefly the private secretary of Emperor Hadrian. His De vita Caesarum [concerning the lives of the Caesars] survives almost in full; it was translated into English by Robert Graves as The Twelve Caesars (1957). There are also fragments of a much larger collection of biographies, De viris illustribus [concerning illustrious men]. He gathered together all sorts of anecdotes, and the resultant biographies are lively and informative. Suetonius was taken as a model by many later biographers.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus). Born circa A.D. 70; died after 122. Roman historian and writer.

Of equestrian rank, Suetonius served as secretary under the emperor Hadrian from approximately 119 to 122. Of Suetonius’ numerous works on history, everyday customs, and philology, only two principal works have survived: the whole of Lives of the Caesars (in eight books) and De Grammaticis et rhetoribus, from a longer work about famous figures of Roman literature.

Lives of the Caesars contains biographies of the Roman emperors from Julius Caesar to Domitian. All the biographies follow the same outline: first, a description of the emperor’s origins and youth; next, an account of his political, military, and juridical activities and details of his character, external appearance, and private life; and finally, an account of the circumstances of his death. Suetonius depicts Augustus and Titus as ideal rulers. Suetonius was interested mainly in presenting facts rather than in analyzing the historical causes or the psychological motives of the events he recorded. His entertaining style accounts for the popularity of his works among his contemporaries and later readers.


In Russian translation:
Zhizn’ dvenadtsati Tsezarei. [O znamenitykh liudiakh: Fragmenty. Translated from Latin and with notes by M. L. Gasparov.] Moscow, 1966.


Gasparov, M. L. “Novaia zarubezhnaia literatura o Tatsite i Svetonii.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1964, no. 1.
Steidle, W. Sueton und die antike Biographie, 2nd ed. Munich, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


full name Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus. 75--150 ad, Roman biographer and historian, whose chief works were Concerning Illustrious Men and The Lives of the Caesars (from Julius Caesar to Domitian)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In response to an answer last week which stated historians Tacitus and Seutonius both wrote about a man called Jesus who had stirred up so much discontent among the Jews, Steven Carr emailed: "It is certain that there were thousands of people called Jesus living in the Holy Land between 26 AD and 36 AD.
Robinson's theory is that she pursued her enemy Seutonius up Watling Street - the A5 to you and me - before facing his legions at Mancetter, near Atherstone in Warwickshire.
She cut a swath through Britain and the city of London (then Londinium) and such was her power that Seutonius Paulinus, the Roman governor, could do nothing except evacuate the city.
Leading expert on Roman Britain, the late Dr Graham Webster, former head of archaeology at the University of Birmingham, believed the village by the old Roman Watling Street, near Atherstone, matched the Tacitus description of where the Roman general Seutonius Paullinus defeated Boudicca's large army of Britons.