Suetonius

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Suetonius

Key or Gayo Suetonio Tranquilo (Latin: Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus; c.70 – post 126), commonly known as Suetonio , He was a Roman historian and biographer during the reigns of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian. He was part of the circle of friends of Pliny the Younger and, in the end, of that of the Emperor Hadrian himself; until he fell into disgrace by antagonizing himself with this. His most important work is the Lives of the twelve Caesars (De vita Caesarum, also known as Vitae Caesarum), in which he narrates the lives of the rulers of Rome from Julius Caesar to Domitian.

Suetonius’s Biography

Origin, family and formation

Very little is known of his life and reconstructing it requires comparing three sources: the letters of Pliny the Younger, the writings of Elio Esparciano in Historia Augusta and the works of Juan Lido, besides paying attention to the small indications given by the same. According to these materials, and thanks to the appearance in the 1950s of an honorary inscription in his more than likely hometown, it is known that his full name was Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, and that he would have been born in Hippo, former Hippo Regius , in Numidia (present Annaba, Algeria), towards the year 70 or 71 d. C., at the beginning of Vespasian’s reign. He died after the year 126 d. & Nbsp; C.

His father, Suetonio Leto, came from the equestrian order (equites) and was the augusticlavo tribune of the thirteenth legion. He fought in the army of Otto in the battle of Bedriacum (69-70 d. & Nbsp; C.), Which Vitellius won, and disposed of a well-off situation. Although belonging to such a class, it would have been usual for the son to have followed the military career and then the fiscal administration, Suetonio did not decide for it and, on the contrary, in the time of Domitian (81-96), he was sent to Rome to study literature, grammar and rhetoric, until becoming a professor and lawyer, in 1997.

Friendships and protectors

He was a friend and protege of Pliny the Younger, who got him the ius trium liberorum (exemptions granted to a father of three children) and would have also recommended him to Emperor Trajan, thanks to which he could enter the imperial bureaucracy, performing during his reign (98-117) the positions of superintendent of public libraries (a bibliothecis) and responsible for archives (a studiis). He served Plinio during his stay as governor of Pontus and Bithynia, between 110 and 112.

After Pliny’s death, Suetonius had another great supporter, Gaius Septice Claro, the prefect of Hadrian’s Praetorium. This got the emperor to appoint Suetonius secretary ab epistulis (in charge of official correspondence), a position of great status and trust. This position gave him access to the imperial archives and to the correspondence of César and Augusto, and even to the testaments of both, which served to confer truthfulness to his work, of story with first-hand information. Possibly accompanied the emperor in his trips to Gaul, Germania and Britannia, between 120 and 122 years.

Loss of favor from the emperor

In 122, both he and Septice Claro fall into disgrace, and relations with Adriano break abruptly; the colophon of this last and sad time supposed its expulsion from the Court. It seems that it was due to “having taken too many familiarities with the Empress”, although other authors suggest that Adriano was only trying to isolate Vibia Sabina.

From this moment, he retired to private life and devoted himself to literary work, even though the data on his life since then are practically nil: he does not even know with certainty the date of his death that, in any case, it had to be after the year 126. [citation required]

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