Book Review: Collected Papers on Suetonius


by Tristan Power

New York & London: Routledge, 2021. Pp. xviii, 287. Notes, biblio., index. $52.95 paper. ISBN:0367560011

Parsing Thorny Points in Suetonius

Dr. Power has taught Classics at Reading, Syracuse, and Columbia, and written on Pliny, Catullus, and other ancient authors, including Suetonius. In this book, we get a collection of nearly three dozen short essays on various thorny points in the works of Suetonius, author most notably of “The Lives of the Twelve Caesars.”

The essays are grouped into four parts:

“Illustrious Men.”

“Poetical Allusions.”

“Textual Conjectures”

“Suetonius and History,”

Some of the papers will prove primarily of interest to literary scholars, dealing with questions of influences on his writing, sources, relations with other contemporary authors, and so forth. But many of the essays address tricky questions of historical interest, such as the purported last words of Augustus, and, for example,

“Nero in Furs”

“Oedipal Nero”

“The Disgrace of Suetonius”

“Caligula and the Bludgeoned Priest”

“The Conspirator Against Caligula”

“Nero’s Amazons, Sporus, and Alexander”

“Jesus’s Flight into Egypt”

“Vitellius and the Baker and Cook”

These often reveal errors in transmission or editing of the text that have influenced our ideas about particular persons or events, literary or cultural allusions that are not obvious to the modern reader, and so forth.

Naturally of value to serious scholars of Roman history Collected Papers on Suetonius will also make good reading for laymen with an interest in the subject.




Note: Collected Papers on Suetonius is also available in hardback and e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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