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Suetonius the BiographerStudies in Roman Lives$
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Tristan Power and Roy K. Gibson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199697106

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697106.001.0001

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The Endings of Suetonius’ Caesars

The Endings of Suetonius’ Caesars

(p.58) 3 The Endings of Suetonius’ Caesars
Suetonius the Biographer

Tristan Power

Oxford University Press

This chapter evaluates the final sections of Suetonius’ Caesars with regard to the notion of ‘closure’ in ancient biographical and historical texts. It is shown that Suetonius utilizes the endings of his individual Lives to solidify the entire collection, either alluding to earlier parts of the Caesars, or foreshadowing later biographies. These allusions reinforce the resolution of conflicts in the imperial Lives, rather than hinting at ways to read them as open-ended. The greater ambiguity in the endings of other authors illustrates how Suetonius has a much stronger sense of closure in his work. Suetonius uses the common device of comparison, or synkrisis, but he uses it to cement and never to unsettle the Life’s verdict. The chapter ends by drawing a conclusion from Suetonius’ endings about his date of composition.

Keywords:   Suetonius, closure, synkrisis, ring composition, date of composition

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