Suetonius on Christian persecution

Something should be added in reference to Suetonius's mention of early Christian history. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:40, 23 January 2010 (UTC)


Is Suetonius really considered one of the most impartial ancient historians? This seems distinctly wrong to me. john k 07:17, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

My understanding is that Tacitus is considered far more reliable. Suetonius does mention many details that are questionable, most notably I think regarding the omens preceeding the birth of Nero. These seem very improbably. Simply because he mentions more than Tacitus, does not mean that his account is de facto the more complete one. -- User:wackyvorlon, 16 Dec 2005.

Bartlett's 16th edition gives his birthdate as 76-138 CE. Neutralitytalk 05:44, 23 December 2005 (UTC)


Not at all, and no matter. The greatest scandal-sheet reporter of all time.

Surfeit of palfreys (talk) 04:12, 3 September 2011 (UTC)

Tacitus is more reliable but he still records lots of dubious details (some stories on Nero and tiberius, the death of tiberius, poppea or evel claudius... All those events occurred in private settings so it's hard to know how Tacitus would have learned about it). The difference is that on most facts, tacitus will still give us some indication about the likelihood of the event, while suetonius just wrote what he heard and thought would be appealing to readers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:04, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Ah yes, the impenetrable conundrum of how biographers can report events that "occurred in private settings". All biography that does so is automatically suspect. After all, people do not ever talk and leave notes. (talk) 08:52, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Wiki links

Any appearances of Twelve Caesars I'm piping into Lives of the Twelve Caesars, in case that page is later split off. Please leave them be and don't relink them directly to Suetonius. Thanks. Neddyseagoon 22:17, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Any help gratefully received. neddyseagoon
Is there consensus that splitting out the "Lives of Twelve Caesars" is necessary? If there isn't, then it would seem to be unnecessary, even undesirable, to pipe incoming links. On first glance, I would suggest that having one article is a reasonable fit here, since "[The Lives of Twelve Caesars] is the only book that has survived from Suetonius’ writings" (as the article puts it). Matt Crypto 16:14, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Matt Crypto. This split seems very unnecessary, excessively hasty, and poorly-reasoned. It adds complication, confusion, and redirection where none is necessary and there was none before, creates hundreds of links to a redirect page just because of the off chance, both hypothetical and unlikely, that at some point in the future there might be a distinct "Lives of the Twelve Caesars" article (which you should have established consensus for, or at least discussed, first), and is incredibly poor wikipedia-internal-linking style in that it buries the actual title of Suetonius' work like so: [[Lives of the Twelve Caesars|Suetonius]], rather than something more reasonable that would allow links to both, like Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars. Piped links that go to unexpected pages (someone clicking "Suetonius" expects a link to the person, not to a random one of the books he wrote (I realize that it's the only extant one, but it's still random and arbitrary from an objective perspective)!) are strongly discouraged because of the circuitous and confusing path they give to our readers, and the information they coyly hide (i.e. that the book of Suetonius' being referenced is Lives of the Twelve Caesars) from anyone who doesn't take the time to click the link and read the whole page provided.
I felt it was justified to put them as such, since 9 times out of 10 'Suetonius' is just a shorthand for his main work (In the form "According to Suetonius" or "Suetonius, Caesar X.10") rather than as a reference to the man, and so is more usefully linked to the work not to the man himself. In any case, on reaching Lives of the Twelve Caesars, it is not a vast logical leap to click the link there to Suetonius. Neddyseagoon 01:46, 13 March 2006 (UTC)neddyseagoon

these edits of Neddyseagoon's are necessary, they're being done so poorly that all of them will need to be reverted and fixed anyway. Hence my dissatisfaction with how much haste and needless rushing around, and how little discussion and forethought, went into this. Lots of wasted effort for everyone involved. -Silence 22:12, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Support neddyseagoon's split. Just logical. "Suetonius" is a person (can, e.g., be sorted in an authors category); Twelve Caesars is a text (can be sorted in categories on texts). Both articles can be expanded, they deserve that, and I already have some ideas, to which I'd be prepared to collaborate:

  • Suetonius article:
    • write something about the pseudo-Suetonius, I heard about today
    • Elaborate on comparisons of Suetonius' style/historic reliability, to e.g. Tacitus; Plutarch; Cassius Dio; Robert Graves (note that e.g. the Tacitus bio has two very full pages -that is, apart from a page on each of his works-, a big part of these pages devoted to such topics as his style/importance as historian)
  • Twelve Caesars article:

...etc --Francis Schonken 23:08, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Many thanks. Would appreciate help in following those up. Neddyseagoon 01:46, 13 March 2006 (UTC)neddyseagoon
  • Apologies for my behaviour, and not discussing it first, but I believe that it was for the best, as discussed in my reply above - as was the Suetonius' minor works link, which provides for someone in the future writing articles on de grammaticis, Lives of the poets etc. - I agree that may seem unlikely, but we should not enforce that on 'future generations'. References (in case it becomes unlinked in future) to these minor works are archived here

neddyseagoonNeddyseagoon 01:46, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

WHY is Wikisource included?

I looked. Suetonius isn't directly on there. I looked some more. THE LIVES OF THE TWELVE CAESARS ON WIKI SOURCE IS LITERALLY A REDLINKED TABLE OF CONTENTS. What the heck?! contains Nero's life, at least. GAHHHHHHH... And NO, I CANNOT add it, because I'M trying to get a paper done for finals, which I'm in the middle of right now! So, COULD SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP?! 06:27, 13 May 2007 (UTC) PS Apologize for my temper right now, but... STRESSED OUT.

Wikisource is there because it contains some of Suetonius' works, including the Lives of Eminent Grammarians, which are linkable by chapter if anyone wants to cite them in an article. The Twelve Caesars are redlinks. but they will probably be filled in at some point, and in the meantime there are plenty of links to sites with linkable texts in the article. Do calm down. --Nicknack009 20:23, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 14:49, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Ceasar's wife

I'm stumbling a little bit as I try to use the internet sources to verify dim recollections of what I thought I knew about a familiar cliche?

What if Shakespeare borrowed from Suetonius?

  • Caesar’s wife must be above reproach ...?
  • Meos tam suspicione quam crimine iudico carere oportere.
  • My wife should be as much free from suspicion of a crime as she is from a crime itself ...?

If verifiable, would this allusion have a place in this article? As an illustration of the cultural legacy of Suetonius' writing? --Tenmei (talk) 04:25, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

It's well known that Shakespeare plagiarized long sections of text from Plutarch and Suetonius. (talk) 08:55, 15 June 2014 (UTC)


The Authenticity section currently states:

This passage is likely authentic for two reasons.

The first has to do with the misspelling of Christ's name. This is not the kind of mistake a Christian scribe would make when adding an interpolation at a later date. Rather it would be the type of mistake for Romans like Tacitus and Suetonius to make. It would be natural for a Roman to interpret the word Christus as the similarly-sounding χρηστός. If this is the case, then the passage is authentic as a "Christian scribe" would not make such an error.[6] [7][8] [9] [10] [11]

The second reason supporting authenticity is the reference that Christ was inspiring the Jews to the disturbances. Later Christian scribes would not think of themselves as Jews. Again it was the type of mistake a Roman historian would make, leading to the conclusion of authenticity.

I do not find the spelling "Chrestians" in my copies of Suetonius, so this section seems to be conflating the passage from Tacitus and the one from Suetonius, offering a single reason for the authenticity of each, and claiming that their are two reasons for a single passage which does not exist. Perhaps there is an edition of Suetonius that I am not in possession of that does use the "Chrestians" spelling. If so, a citation would be appreciated. Revcasy (talk) 13:37, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

This was all rather confused, in addition to problems noted below. I've tried to make sense of it, and have a note to a scholar who says the correct readings for Suetonius are Chrestus and Christiani. Cynwolfe (talk) 22:11, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

why the emphasis on Christianity?

Why is Suetonius's incredibly brief and not unproblematic evidence for Christianity given play even before the section on his life? It's conventional to place the "Life" section first, and a survey of the "Works" should precede discussion of a specific passage. And of course the Lives are S.'s major achievement — the intro currently says "He is important to Christians because of his reference to the Historicity of Jesus", in the second sentence, as if this is of greater substance than the Lives as a whole. There are, and for centuries have been, self-identified Christians who find a great deal of interest and value in the works of Suetonius other than two mentions that possibly pertain to Christianity. (It isn't even universally held that Suetonius's Chrestus is Jesus Christ.) These are rather serious POV and balance issues, since the section on Christianity is not only out of order, but way way way out of proportion to the rest of the article. I'm going to move it and condense it — though I still think it results in WP:UNDUE. Cynwolfe (talk) 20:19, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Suetonius was not born in Hippo Regius

Suetonius reports that he was born, in Rome no doubt, on 7 or 24 September. The biographer prefers the later date, but the earlier is commonly held to be correct, largely because it provides what is thought a more satisfactory. He was educated in Rome, and there he was encouraged and supported in his earlier years by the Younger Pliny.

See also the books : A. Cook 1956–7, pp. 18–22 and J. Gascou 1978, pp. 436–444 or - Encyclopaedia Britannica. --PoseidonAndMedusa (talk) 08:29, 18 June 2012 (UTC)