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SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS
Form: Gaius.
The Roman historian, born about 75 A.D. He lived during the time of Trajan as an advocate and teacher of rhetoric in Rome, in close intimacy with the younger Pliny, to whose influence he owed many favours. Under Hadrian he was appointed private secretary to the emperor; but in 121 he fell into disgrace, and appears thenceforth to have devoted his life to learned studies and to varied research. He died about the middle of the 2nd century. Like Varro, he collected notes on all kinds of subjects, history, literature, antiquities, philology, physical sciences, and worked them up in numerous writings (some of them apparently in Greek). Amongst these an encyclopaedic work called Prata, in at least ten books, occupied a prominent position; and just as he himself frequently quoted Varro, so he in his turn was frequently quoted by later writers. Apart from titles and fragments the following works of his are still intact: (1) The lives of the first twelve emperors (De Vita Coesarum) in eight books books i-vi treating of one emperor each, from Caesar to Nero; vii, of Galba, Otho, Vitellius; viii, of Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. This work contains an abundance of more or less important facts about the public and private life of the emperors, grouped in a systematic manner and expressed in clear and simple language. (2) Of his literary and historical work, De Viris Illustribus, which apparently included the Roman poets, orators, historians, grammarians, and rhetoricians down to the time of Domitian, we possess the lives of Terence and Horace, and a fragment of that of Lucan, besides extracts made by the grammarian Diomedes and by St. Jerome from the book De Poetis. From the book De Historicis, we have a fragment of the biography of the elder Pliny, and the greater part of the chapter De Grammaticis et Rhetoribus. In the beginning of the 3rd century, under the reign of Alexander Severus, his work on the Lives of the Caesars was continued by Marius Maximus, who treated of the emperors from Nerva to Elagabalus.
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