Suetonious: Latin Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (AD 69?—after 122) Roman biographer and antiquarian. Suetonius’ family was of the knightly class. His writings include De viris illustribus (“Concerning Illustrious Men”), short biographies of literary figures what were the ultimate source of nearly all that is known about the lives of eminent Roman authors. Lives of the Caesars, his other major work, is seasoned with bits of gossip and scandal related to the first 11 emperors; it is largely responsible for the vivid picture of Roman society and its decadent leaders that dominated historical thought until modified in modern times by the discovery of nonliterary evidence.

Excerpted/Adapted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

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