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Suetonius Tranquillus

Gaius. A Roman historian and scholar, who was born about the beginning of the reign of Vespasian, and practised as an advocate at Rome in the reign of Trajan. He lived on intimate terms with the younger Pliny , several of whose letters are addressed to him. At the request of Pliny , Trajan granted to Suetonius the ius trium liberorum; for, though he was married, he had not three children, which number was necessary to relieve him from various legal disabilities. Suetonius was afterwards appointed private secretary (magister epistolarum) to Hadrian, but was deprived of this office by the emperor, along with Septicius Clarus, the praefect of the Praetorians, on the ground of his offensive familiarity with Sabina, the emperor's wife. His chief work is his lives of the first twelve emperors of Rome (Vitae Duodecim Caesarum) from Iulius to Domitian. Suetonius does not follow the chronological order in his Lives, but groups together his facts according to their nature. His language is very brief and precise, sometimes obscure, without any affectation of ornament; and his works abound in scandalous anecdotes. The existing treatise De Illustribus Grammaticis et de Claris Rhetoribus is perhaps only part of a larger work, the Pratum, which seems to have been a sort of encyclopaedia, as many fragments show, dealing with a great number of subjects. (See Schanz, Röm. Litt. iii. 42-54.) The only other productions of Suetonius still extant are a few lives of Roman authors.

The standard text of Suetonius is that of Roth (Leipzig, 1886), and of the fragments that of Reifferscheid (2d ed. Leipzig, 1890). A good annotated edition (Latin notes) is that of Baumgarten-Crusius and Hase in the Lemaire collection, 2 vols. (Paris, 1828). The first two books (Iulius and Augustus) are edited with an introduction and English notes by H. T. Peck (2d ed. New York, 1893). The Lives and the remains of the Viri Illustres are translated by Thomson and Forester (London, 1881). See Regent, De Suetonii Vita et Scriptis (Breslau, 1856); Thimm, De Usu atque Elocutione C. Suetonii Tranquil. (Königsberg, 1867); and Bagge, De Elocutione Suetonii (Upsala, 1875).

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