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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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Was Suetonius’ Julius a Caesar?

Was Suetonius’ Julius a Caesar?

(p.81) 4 Was Suetonius’ Julius a Caesar?
Suetonius the Biographer

John Henderson

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the anomaly of Suetonius’ first biography, the Divine Julius, and its importance for the rest of the collection. It is shown that both Caesar the historical person and his biography are recurring themes in the subsequent Lives, as both examples and warnings. The structure of the Julius itself and its indications of sources are intricately catalogued, and evidence for Suetonius’ writing process throughout the collection is assessed, particularly his autobiographical statements and references to the Caesars as a group. Special attention is paid to the relationship of the Julius to its adjacent biography, the Divine Augustus. Suetonius’ first Life is found to be arguably the most programmatic, being no less instructive than its successor in defining what a Caesar should and should not be.

Keywords:   Suetonius, Julius Caesar, Augustus, sources, methodology

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