This is an account of the lives of emperors Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, written in the days of emperor Hadrian. With regard to all those to whom he had, on Pompey's recommendation, given any command in the army, he left them at perfect liberty to go over to him, if they pleased. Some he disgraced for borrowing money at low interest, and letting it out again upon usurious profit. Conquest had so multiplied business at Rome, that the Roman Forum became too little for transacting it, and could not be enlarged without clearing away the buildings with which it was surrounded. Born in an age posterior to Socrates and Plato, he could not anticipate the principles inculcated by those divine philosophers, but he is justly entitled to the praise, not only of having prosecuted with unerring judgment the steps which they trod before him, but of carrying his researches to greater extent into the most difficult regions of philosophy. The magistrates and others who had formerly filled the highest offices, carried the bier from the Rostra into the Forum. The same fate attended Caesario, Cleopatra's son by Caesar, as he pretended, who had fled for his life, but was retaken.
As most of the knights had been much reduced in their estates by the civil wars, and therefore durst not sit to see the public games in the theatre in the seats allotted to their order, for fear of the penalty provided by the law in that case, he enacted, that none were liable to it, who had themselves, or whose parents had ever, possessed a knight's estate. Roused by these proceedings, and thinking, as he was often heard to say, that it would be a more difficult enterprise to reduce him, now that he was the chief man in the state, from the first rank of citizens to the second, than from the second to the lowest of all, Caesar made a vigorous opposition to the measure, partly by means of the tribunes, who interposed in his behalf, and partly through Servius Sulpicius, the other consul. Suetonius lost access to the official archives shortly after beginning his work. Upon the first day of his praetorship, he summoned Quintus Catulus to render an account to the people respecting the repairs of the Capitol ; proposing a decree for transferring the office of curator to another person. He lost his father when he was only four years of age; and, in his twelfth year, pronounced a funeral oration in praise of his grand-mother Julia. Imagine training little boys, whom he called his 'minnows', to chase him while he went swimming and get between his legs to lick and nibble him. Political circumstances again concurred with popular superstition to revive this posthumous adulation in favour of Julius Caesar, the founder of the empire, who also fell by the hands of conspirators.
When they entered the military service, he not only gave them the rank of military tribunes in the legions, but likewise the command of the auxiliary horse. His temper was also naturally averse to severity in retaliation. Secondly, contests of agility and strength; of which there were five kinds, hence called Pentathlum. On the acquittal of the accused, he resolved to retire to Rhodes , with the view not only of avoiding the public odium 4 which he had incurred, but of prosecuting his studies with leisure and tranquillity, under Apollonius, the son of Molon, at that time the most celebrated master of rhetoric. Matter of fact, I was This Penguin Classic of The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius is the perfect place to start for anybody interested in ancient Greco-Roman history and culture.
Of twenty-five comedies written by Plautus, the number transmitted to posterity is nineteen; and of a hundred and eight which Terence is said to have translated from Menander, there now remain only six. The salutary terrors of religion no longer predominated over the consciences of men. They were all condemned by the senate: some were taken off by one accident, some by another. Also, in the night on which the day of his murder dawned, he dreamt at one time that he was soaring above the clouds, and, at another, that he had joined hands with Jupiter. I was not disappointed by the book and managed to read it in a course of an afternoon! The death of Pansa was so fully believed to have been caused by undue means, that Glyco, his surgeon, was placed in custody, on a suspicion of having poisoned his wound. Varro's work is divided into three books, the first of which treats of agriculture; the second, of rearing of cattle; and the third, of feeding animals for the use of the table.
Even when some infamous libels against him were dispersed in the senate-house, he was neither disturbed, nor did he give himself much trouble to refute them. In the fourth book, he traces those which relate to place; in the fifth, those connected with the idea of time; and in the sixth, the origin of both these classes, as they appear in the writings of the poets. Remarks on the Life and Times of Julius Caesar The termination of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey forms a new epoch in the Roman History, at which a Republic, which had subsisted with unrivalled glory during a period of about four hundred and sixty years, relapsed into a state of despotism, whence it never more could emerge. He went so far in restraining the licentiousness of stage-players, that upon discovering that Stephanio, a performer of the highest class, had a married woman with her hair cropped, and dressed in boy's clothes, to wait upon him at table, he ordered him to be whipped through all the three theatres, and then banished him. Of all the ancients, he has acquired the greatest fame for his extensive erudition; and we may add, that he displayed the same industry in communicating, as he had done in collecting it. But his abstinence did not extend to pecuniary advantages, either in his military commands, or civil offices; for we have the testimony of some writers, that he took money from the proconsul, who was his predecessor in Spain, and from the Roman allies in that quarter, for the discharge of his debts; and plundered at the point of the sword some towns of the Lusitanians, notwithstanding they attempted no resistance, and opened their gates to him upon his arrival before them.
Considering it of extreme importance to preserve the Roman people pure, and untainted with a mixture of foreign or servile blood, he not only bestowed the freedom of the city with a sparing hand, but laid some restriction upon the practice of manumitting slaves. Having been burnt down during the civil wars, A. He expelled from the senate such members as were convicted of bribery; and he dissolved the marriage of a man of pretorian rank, who had married a lady two days after her divorce from a former husband, although there was no suspicion that they had been guilty of any illicit connection. After this victory, dividing between them the offices of the state, Mark Antony undertook to restore order in the east, while Caesar conducted the veteran soldiers back to Italy, and settled them in colonies on the lands belonging to the municipalities. That the sons of senators might become early acquainted with the administration of affairs, he permitted them, at the age when they took the garb of manhood , to assume also the distinction of the senatorian robe, with its broad border, and to be present at the debates in the senate-house.
When he came to be known as a poet, all these circumstances would naturally contribute to increase his reputation for ingenuity; and accordingly we find his genius applauded by several of his contemporaries. The reason of his building a new forum was the vast increase in the population, and the number of causes to be tried in the courts, for which, the two already existing not affording sufficient space, it was thought necessary to have a third. The senate-house in which he was slain, was ordered to be shut up , and a decree made that the ides of March should be called parricidal, and the senate should never more assemble on that day. Having entered upon his office , he introduced a new regulation, that the daily acts both of the senate and people should be committed to writing, and published. In this public mourning there joined a multitude of foreigners, expressing their sorrow according to the fashion of their respective countries; but especially the Jews , who for several nights together frequented the spot where the body was burnt. These Augustus supposes, with reason, to be rather the production of blundering short-hand writers, who were not able to keep pace with him in the delivery, than publications of his own. Although Caius Memmius had published some extremely virulent speeches against him, and he had answered him with equal acrimony, yet he afterwards assisted him with his vote and interest, when he stood candidate for the consulship.
Therefore he gets five stars because seriously this is the best ancient gossip column still in print. It had perhaps been a better apology, to have pleaded the manners of the times; for even Horace, who wrote only a few years after, has suffered his compositions to be occasionally debased by the same kind of blemish. To render the approaches to the city more commodious, he took upon himself the charge of repairing the Flaminian way as far as Ariminum , and distributed the repairs of the other roads amongst several persons who had obtained the honour of a triumph; to be defrayed out of the money arising from the spoils of war. His conduct likewise gave the lie to that of luxurious extravagance in his furniture, when, upon the taking of Alexandria, he reserved for himself nothing of the royal treasures but a porcelain cup, and soon afterwards melted down all the vessels of gold, even such as were intended for common use. Mark Antony upbraidingly tells him that his great-grandfather was a freedman of the territory of Thurium , and a rope-maker, and his grandfather a usurer. Notice of his funeral having been solemnly proclaimed, a pile was erected in the Campus Martius, near the tomb of his daughter Julia; and before the Rostra was placed a gilded tabernacle, on the model of the temple of Venus Genitrix; within which was an ivory bed, covered with purple and cloth of gold.