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Extended Audio Sample The Twelve Caesars Audiobook, by Suetonius Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Suetonius Narrator: Clive Chafer Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2011 ISBN: 9781452671239
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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, MD.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paulkelly05 | 2/16/2014

    " I enjoy ancient Rome this was an enjoyable book. Starts with Julius and continues on. Brings them to life very well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rozonda | 2/12/2014

    " A piece of gossip if there ever was one. Suetonius tells us all the juicy bits about the Emperors of Rome, and while flattering the Emperor of that time, Hadrian (who didn't trust him one bit, since he was found plotting with Hadrian's wife)he writes about the vices and virtues of the likes of Caesar, Augustus and Nero. Surprisingly entertaining and fun. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nathan | 2/10/2014

    " Contemporary Roman history (with a good bit of editorializing by Suetonius), readably and eloquently translated. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rob Atkinson | 2/1/2014

    " One of those classics that is a genuine, even salacious pleasure to read, and the historical basis for Robert Graves's "I, Claudius", "The Twelve Caesars" covers the first twelve emperors of Ancient Rome (Including Julius Caesar, though Augustus was the first officially); the Julio-Claudians through Nero, his very brief successors Galba,Otho and Vitellius (in the tumultuous 'year of three Emperors', A.D. 69), and finally the Flavians Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian. Secretary to Hadrian, Suetonius had direct access to the Imperial archives, which gives his account a depth and immediacy lacking in the other Roman chroniclers' accounts, as well as a wealth of anecdote regarding the subjects' often scandalous personal lives. While full of jaw-dropping accounts of profligacy and debauchery, the author nevertheless appears to be very conscientious in presenting balanced accounts of each ruler, often including differing accounts of the same events when the facts are in dispute, and carefully crediting even the worst Emperors with any mitigating benevolent acts -- this is no hatchet job in the manner of Procopius' 'Secret History', and appears to be very credible, on the whole. Each Emperor is given his own chapter, which begins with an account of his acts and accomplishments, followed by a discussion of his character and personal life. This non-chronological approach can sometimes be slightly confusing, but the Penguin Edition is replete with explanatory footnotes, glossaries, and maps of Rome and the Empire, which are very helpful to the lay reader. A bonus for those who come to this work after reading and loving Robert Graves's novels and wanting more is that this is his own fine and pellucid translation from the Latin. A very informative read for anyone interested in Imperial Rome, and juicy fun as well! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thera~ Rescuing you from sanity~ Dagorlin | 2/1/2014

    " Caesars may be psychotic, but they're a great read. Feeling an overkill on Roman history ATM. Thank goodness-- after Julius Caesar, it's Socrates and a break. :P "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patrick\ | 1/31/2014

    " A politicaly correct account of the lives of the Caesars from Julilus through Domitian. One of the reference companions to Gibbon. A good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 1/24/2014

    " Well, this is one juicy gossip-fest if ever there was one. Downright scandalous and thoroughly entertaining. Bravo, Suetonius. I don't care if everyone doubts you or doesn't think you are credible enough. You are like that friend who dishes relentlessly, unmercifully, deliciously. This is what History should be all about. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dfordoom | 1/13/2014

    " Sex and violence, scandal and murder, depravity and excess. Those Roman historians knew how to write history! Forget the awful ROME TV series - this is the real deal, and it's infinitely more salacious and more outrageous, and far more entertaining. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenna | 1/7/2014

    " Julius Caesar the catamite of King of Bithnyia?? Augustus singeing off his leg hair with hot walnut shells!! Caligula's seductive maiden dance!! Oh my! Simply delicious! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mommy Farris | 12/23/2013

    " I found this book completely fascinating. It's true what they say "Power currupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely". The Twelve Caesars proved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebecca | 12/6/2013

    " Brilliantly chatty, scandalous and licentious biographies of the first twelve men to wear the purple in Rome. Perfect for when you want to be entertained with something that isn't too heavy going. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helena | 11/17/2013

    " I used one particular chapter in this book for describing some events in my debut novel Pont du Gard. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Opal Trelore | 11/8/2013

    " OK, this may mark me forever as a nerd, but this was one of my favorite books in high school. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katharyn | 10/2/2013

    " Read for HISTAM 313: The Roman Empire "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom Hastings | 6/2/2013

    " Hilarious. The chapter on Caligula is priceless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 5/26/2013

    " If your a history, human nature, or TMZ fan. You'll like Suetonius. Fascinating read. The Roman emperors were demigods. This book could read like any biography of powerful men during any age. Kinda of an ancient Tell All for the Caesars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 12/11/2012

    " Terrifically entertaining even though quite a lot of it is unfounded rumor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason Arnold | 3/13/2012

    " A book that captivated me when I was just beginning to learn the best things are hidden in books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont | 3/3/2012

    " One of the raciest history books every written, full of fascinating detail. :-) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 William | 2/2/2012

    " Interesting and fun read. I don't know much about ancient Rome, but I certainly appreciate our leaders more now. Some of these people were really psychotic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elsimom | 10/21/2011

    " Chose this prior to my trip to Italy. Learned a lot. Laughed at the foibles of mankind. Some very intimate, even embarrassing, details about the Roman emperors and their personal lives, their claims to fame and their foibles. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Nelson | 8/13/2011

    " For a book from so long ago, this is very vivid and plainly written. It's the kind of book that makes you want to read more works by the author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ana Maria | 2/8/2011

    " Classic... better to read it with a lot of time "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bryn Hammond | 8/27/2010

    " The mad, the bad and the dangerous to know. I don't care if he's a gossip. It's hilarious, and I gluttoned on the worst bits in my teens. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Harkins | 6/11/2010

    " The Twelve Caesars by Michael Grant that I'm currently reading is actually taken from the original by Suetonius. "

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About the Author
Author Suetonius

Suetonius (AD 69–AD 122?) was a Roman biographer and antiquarian whose writings include De viris illustribus (“Concerning Illustrious Men”), a collection of short biographies of celebrated Roman literary figures, and De vita Caesarum (Lives of the Caesars). The latter book, seasoned with bits of gossip and scandal relating to the lives of the first eleven emperors, secured him lasting fame.

About the Narrator

Clive Chafer is a professional actor, director, producer, and theater instructor. Originally from England and educated at Leeds and Exeter universities, he has performed and directed at many theaters in the San Francisco area, where he makes his home, and elsewhere in the US. In 1993 he founded TheatreFIRST, Oakland’s professional theater company, where he served as artistic director until 2008.