Ancient History & Civilisation

Further Reading


The best introduction to Suetonius and his work is Andrew Wallace–Hadrill, Suetonius: The Scholar and his Caesars (1983; reprinted Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1995). A number of useful studies are collected in Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, vol. II. 33. 5 (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 1991), especially R. G. Lewis, “Suetonius” “Caesares” and their Literary Antecedents’, pp. 3623–74, and K. R. Bradley, ‘The Imperial Ideal in Suetonius’ “Caesares”’, pp. 3701–32. On the ancient biographical tradition, see Arnaldo Momigliano, The Development of Greek Biography (expanded edn: Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993).

The surviving lives from On Illustrious Men are most easily available in the Loeb edition of Suetonius, ed. and trans. J. C. Rolfe (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1914; rev. edn by K. R. Bradley, 1997–8); the section on grammatici and rhetors has recently been edited, with an English translation and extensive commentary, by Robert Kaster (Suetonius: De grammaticis et rhetoribus, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995). The remains of Suetonius’ lost works have not been translated.

Commentaries on individual lives contain a wealth of information on points of detail, especially historical; although based on the Latin text (the chief exception is that of Jones and Milns on the Flavian emperors), they can generally be used with profit by anyone.


Butler, H. E., and M. Cary, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Iulius (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1927; rev. G. B. Townend, Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1982)

Carter, John M., Suetonius: Divus Augustus (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1982)

Lindsay, Hugh, Suetonius: Tiberius (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1995)

Hurley, Donna W., An Historical and Historiographical Commentary on Suetonius’ Life of C. Caligula (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993)

Lindsay, Hugh, Suetonius: Caligula (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1993)

Hurley, Donna W., Suetonius: Divus Claudius (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)

Mottershead, J., Suetonius: Claudius (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1986)

Bradley, Keith R., Suetonius’ Life of Nero: An Historical Commentary (Brussels: Latomus, 1978)

Warmington, B. H., Suetonius: Nero (2nd edn, Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1999)

Murison, Charles, Suetonius: Galba, Otho, Vitellius (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1992)

Shotter, David, Suetonius: Lives of Galba, Otho and Vitellius (Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 1993)

Jones, Brian W., Suetonius: Vespasian (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 2000)

Jones, Brian W., Suetonius: Domitian (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1996)

Jones, Brian, and Robert Milns, Suetonius: The Flavian Emperors (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 2002)


Many modern histories are available; the following, differing widely in scope, can be recommended.

Boatwright, Mary T., Daniel J. Gargola and Richard J. A. Talbert, A Brief History of the Romans (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Goodman, Martin, A History of the Roman World, 44BC–AD 180 (London and New York: Routledge, 1997) Le Glay, Marcel, Jean–Louis Voisin and Yann Le Bohec, A History of Rome (3rd edn, Oxford: Blackwell, 2005)

Scullard, H. H., From the Gracchi to Nero (5th edn, London: Methuen, 1982) – a more detailed account of the period 133 BC–AD 68

Syme, Ronald, The Roman Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1939) – a very detailed account of the period 60 BC–AD 14, and a classic of modern historiography

Wellesley, Kenneth, The Year of the Four Emperors (3rd edn, London and New York: Routledge, 2000) – a detailed study of the civil wars in AD 68–9

Virtually all the ancient writers and texts mentioned in the introduction and notes are available in English translation: the Loeb Classical Library provides the most extensive collection, but many can also be found in the Penguin Classics and Oxford World's Classics series. Translations of important documentary texts (those preserved in inscriptions or papyrus) are also available. Robert K. Sherk, ed. and trans., The Roman Empire: Augustus to Hadrian (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988) includes among much other material the inscription recording Augustus’ celebration of the Saecular Games and his Res gestae. The latter is also translated, with introduction and extensive notes, in P. A. Brunt and J. M. Moore (eds. ), Res gestae Divi Augusti: The Achievements of the Divine Augustus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967). The recently discovered copy of the senatorial decree regarding Cn. Calpurnius Piso, accused of murdering Germanicus, is translated by Cynthia Damon in a special issue of theAmerican Journal of Philology: 120/1 (spring 1999): The Senatus Consultum de Cn. Pisone Patre, ed. Cynthia Damon and Sarolta Takács.

The lives and reigns of the Roman emperors have continued to attract the attention of scholars. The following studies (some closer to traditional biographies than others) are only a selection of those available, but can be recommended as judicious and reliable; I have also included a few studies of other figures who played important roles in this period.

Gelzer, Matthias, Caesar: Politician and Statesman, trans. Peter Needham (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968)

Goldsworthy, Adrian, Caesar: Life of a Colossus (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006)

Meier, Christian, Caesar, trans. David McLintock (New York: HarperCollins, 1995)

Huzar, Eleanor, Mark Antony: A Biography (rev. edn, London: Croom Helm, 1986)

Jones, H. M., Augustus (New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1970)

Shotter, David, Augustus Caesar (2nd edn, London and New York: Routledge, 2005)

Wallace–Hadrill, Andrew, Augustan Rome (Bristol: Bristol Classical Press, 1993)

Barrett, Anthony A., Livia: First Lady of Imperial Rome (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002)

Levick, Barbara, Tiberius the Politician (London and New York: Routledge, 1976)

Seager, Robin, Tiberius (2nd edn, Oxford: Blackwell, 2005)

Kokkinos, Nikos, Antonia Augusta: Portrait of a Great Roman Lady (rev. edn, London: Libri, 2002)

Barrett, Anthony A., Caligula: The Corruption of Power (London: B. T. Batsford, 1989)

Levick, Barbara, Claudius (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990)

Momigliano, Arnaldo, Claudius: The Emperor and his Achievements, trans. W. D. Hogarth (2nd edn, Cambridge: Heffer, 1961)

Ginsburg, Judith, Representing Agrippina, ed. Erich Gruen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005)

Champlin, Edward, Nero (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003)

Griffin, Miriam T., Nero: The End of a Dynasty (London: B. T. Batsford, 1984)

Griffin, Miriam T., Seneca: A Philosopher in Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976)

Murison, Charles L., Galba, Otho, Vitellius: Careers and Controversies (Hildesheim and New York: Georg Olms, 1993)

Levick, Barbara, Vespasian (London and New York: Routledge, 1999)

Jones, Brian W., The Emperor Titus (London: Croom Helm, 1984)

Jones, Brian W., The Emperor Domitian (London and New York: Routledge, 1992)

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