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review 2020-01-30 13:23
Caligula
Caligula (Little Black Classics #17) - Suetonius

Suetonius and I go way back. In Latin class, we were forced to watch these less than inspiring documentaries on Roman Empires that were filled with quotes from, among others: Suetonius. As such, I was looking forward to reading this Little Black Classic. Also, because if there ever was a mad man in power, it has to be Caligula, who allegedly planned to make his horse a consul in order to ridicule the senate (which would be one of the least cruel things he did).

 

It made an interesting read. It is of course written quite some time after his death and as such it is flavored in the politics of that time, but it is absolutely clear how cruel the man was and how unfit a ruler.

 

~Little Black Classics #17~

 

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review 2019-12-04 23:51
The Twelve Caesars
The Twelve Caesars - Suetonius,Michael Grant,Robert Graves

For the past two millennia Caesar has denoted the absolute ruler of an empire, a legacy of one man who ruled Rome and the men who succeeded him and used his name.  The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius gives biographical sketches of the men who ruled the Western world for a century and a half, from the end of the Republic to the death of Domitian.

 

Each of Suetonius’ biographies follow the similar pattern in which the individual’s heritage, political-military career, private lives, personal habits, and physical appearance.  Though the pattern is the same, Suetonius’ style is to slowly weave in elements of one section into another—except for physical appearance—thus not breaking a nice flow for the reader.  As the main source of Caligula (Gaius in the text), Claudius, and Vespasian’s family history, Suetonius not only adds on top of Tacitus but covers what was lost from his contemporary’s works.  Yet unlike Tacitus, gossip and innuendo features a lot in the work making this book a little bit racy compared to Suetonius’ contemporary.

 

The translation by Robert Graves—of I, Claudius fame—was wonderfully done and did a lot to give the text a great flow.  Of Suetonius’ text the overwhelming use of portents and omens was a bit too much at times, though given the time period of the historian’s life this superstitious view was a part of everyday life.

 

The Twelve Caesars gives another view of the men who ruled the Western world.  Suetonius’ writing style and subject matter contrast with Tacitus but only for the better for the reader of both who get a full picture of the individuals the two contemporary historians cover.

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review 2016-01-04 23:13
So one day Graves read this and years late we had a BBC soap
Caligula (Little Black Classics #17) - Suetonius

                For me, Caligula will always be John Hurt dancing.  That scene, from I Claudius where Hurt prances in front of Derek Jacobi and two other politicos   that mini-series has influenced how I see Livia and Claudius.  So Caligula is John Hurt.

                This Penguins Little Classic is Suetonius’ chronicle of Caligula, and thorough Suetonius’ history does rely on rumor and story, it is still a good read.  Even today, it still speaks largely to politics.   More importantly, Suetonius seems to be puzzled, as most people are, when looking at the two Caligulas – the good that everyone and the nut.  This is something that we still puzzle over today – Ben Carson seemed far more normal when he was a simple brain surgeon.  Now, well.

                Suetonius is part gossip mag, part sexual tape (without the blue dress) and part wonderment.

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review 2015-04-21 00:00
Caligula (Little Black Classics #17)
Caligula (Little Black Classics #17) - Suetonius Suentonius was a 2nd Century CE Roman historian, who is best known for his work The Twelve Caesars, in which he writes of the twelve Roman Emperors, from Julius Caesar to Domitian (49 BCE to 96 CE).

This Little Black Classic is a wonder to behold. It recounts the horrors of Caligula, the nickname of Gaius Caesar, 3rd Emperor of the Roman Empire during the 1st century, CE. At the age of 26, Caligula was sleeping with his sisters, stealing wives, having relations with famous dancers and killing anyone he decided to. Suetonius's biography was the original and it recounts the most bizarre and horrendous escapades of a man who would not let any man, woman or child mention goats within his vicinity. It is written so well, but at the beginning there are so many names you may need to place yourself to get to grips with the Roman Empire's lineage. Caligula, whilst obviously severely mentally ill, was also absolutely hilarious, but only with 2000 years worth of retrospective perspective.
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text 2014-02-25 04:51
Lives of the Caesars (Oxford World's Classics) - Suetonius,Catharine Edwards

I've talked much crap about all of the books that I've have to read for my research paper interfering with my books for fun time. So, color me surprised when I ended up freaking hooked to this wonder of gossipy goodness. I tell you, Suetonius was way ahead of his time. He would have rocked the reality genre. The Roman aristocracy was fucking insane. 

 

Sadly, Livy and Tacitus try to stick more to the political happenings in Rome.  Totally a bummer. 

 

One more week and I'll be able to tear myself away from Rome.  Karina Halle's Donners of the Dead is calling my name. Not too mention finally finishing God-Shaped Hole

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