The Roman Biographers Collection brings together over 60 biographies of historically significant Roman figures, including some of the most powerful men to have ever lived: the Caesars. Suetonius humanizes these men who have been immortalized in stone with biographies that include the earliest accounts of Julius Caesar’s epileptic seizures and other detailed descriptions of the people who sat on the greatest throne the world has ever known. Suetonius’ Lives of the Caesars and Lives of Illustrious Men became source texts for later writers across various fields, including the historical writers Eutropius, Aurelius Victor, and Orosius. His influence on historical writing reached into the following centuries and inspired waves of biographical texts.
With On Great Generals and On Historians, Cornelius Nepos compares some of the most influential ancients—Roman and non-Roman—including generals, kings, and historians. His works were both popular and concise, and remain valuable resources today because of their accessibility and Nepos’ use of credible sources.
The Scriptores Historiae Augustae remains a perplexing and controversial piece of ancient literary history for its bizarre blending of fact and fiction, but it also contains snapshots of history recorded nowhere else. The text brings together 30 biographies, covering emperors, their heirs, the pretenders, and various other people who had claims to the throne.
This collection contains the complete texts in their Loeb Classical Library editions. Each text is included in its original Latin, with an English translation for easy side-by-side comparison. Logos’ language tools help you to go deeper into the Latin text and explore the biographers’ elegant language. Use the dictionary lookup tool to examine difficult Greek words and find every appearance of the same word in your library. Students and fans of ancient history, literature, Roman rulers, and Latin will enjoy these works and appreciate their significance.
Cornelius Nepos (c. 110–25 BC) was a Roman biographer who lived during the reign of Augustus. Nepos’ simplicity made his writings popular selections for people studying Latin. Most of his writings have been lost, but they are mentioned by other ancient writers such as Pliny the Younger, Catullus, Ausonius, Aulus Gellius, and Charisius.
C. Suetonius Tranquillus (c. AD 69–122) was a Roman biographer and a friend of Pliny the Younger. Pliny said Suetonius was “quiet and studious, a man dedicated to writing.” Their friendship helped Suetonius climb his way to the emperor’s staff, serving as secretary of studies and director of Imperial archives under Trajan. During the reign of Hadrian, he served as the emperor’s secretary until he was dismissed for an affair with the Empress Vibia Sabina.
Aelius Spartianus, Julius Capitolinus, Vulcacius Gallicanus, Aelius Lampridius, Trebellius Pollio, and Flavius Vopiscus were possibly Roman biographers, though scholars are still not certain if they were real people or fabricated authors included as part of a satirical text.
John Carew Rolfe (1859–1943) was an American classical scholar. He graduated from Harvard in 1881, and received his PhD from Cornell in 1885. He taught at Cornell, Harvard, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania. He was a professor at the American School of Classical Studies and the American Academy in Rome, and from 1910–1911 he was president of the American Philological Association. Rolfe translated several Latin authors for the Loeb Classical Library, including Ammianus Marcellinus, Cornelius Nepos, Aulus Gellius, Quintus Curtius, Sallust, and Suetonius.
David Magie (1877–1960) was a professor of classics at Princeton University and a member of the staff of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace. Both he and his father were Princeton graduates. Magie was a part of the university as an undergraduate, graduate student, and faculty member for over 50 years in total. In 1930, he retired from teaching to devote himself to research. His works include the translation of Historia Augusta and Roman Rule in Asia Minor.