Gaius Suetonius: De vita Caesarum [Lives of the Caesars]

(2816 words)
  • Remy Poignault (Université de CLERMONT-FERRAND 2)

The Lives of the Caesars establishes Suetonius literary profile as a biographer: it is possible to discern, according to Leo (1901), an influence coming from the tradition of Alexandrian biography, which favored a precise style that was devoted to men of letters, and was opposite to the character-centered biography of the Peripatetics (the philosophical biography to which Plutarch would be the heir). Matters, nonetheless, are not so clear-cut, and the third-century BC peripatetic Satyrus’ Life of Euripides discovered since Leo’s assessment shows that Alexandrian biography did evolve in the centuries prior to Suetonius. Suetonius also borrows from the Roman tradition of funeral oration, which centered on the …

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Poignault, Remy. "De vita Caesarum". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 February 2014
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]