As private secretary to the Emperor Hadrian, the scholar Suetonius had access to the imperial archives and used them (along with eyewitness accounts) to produce one of the most colorful biographical works in history. The Twelve Caesars chronicles the public careers and private lives of the men who wielded absolute power over Rome, from the foundation of the empire under Julius Caesar and Augustus, to the decline into depravity and civil war under Nero and the recovery that came with his successors. A masterpiece of observation, anecdote, and detailed physical description, The Twelve Caesars presents us with a gallery of vividly drawn---and all too human---individuals. This version of The Twelve Caesars is the translation by Alexander Thomson, M.D.
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Heavily modified and softly translated
Dry, Dry, Dry
You have to be a hard-core historian to really enjoy this book.
Cultured, dry, emotionless
Some of the really long passages in Latin.
I was doing OK with this book even though it's pretty dry material. I expected it to be a bit on the scholastic side. I know enough about Roman history that I was getting by and enjoying some of the bits and pieces. You have to have a pretty good knowledge of that history to even have a chance at understanding what is going on and recognizing the names. There are so many names to keep track of.
And then, I ran into an extraordinarily long passage in Latin that just about put me to sleep before the narrator finished it. Maybe if I understood Latin, I wouldn't have found this so irritating but it would have been better done by translation to English. I can't imagine that there are many who have a full enough knowledge of Latin to understand the passage.
- Cynthia Freeman