Monday, February 11, 2008

Suetonius and his treatment of the Emperor Domitian's favourable accomplishments

I just finished reading Suetonius and his treatment of the Emperor Domitian's favourable accomplishments by Geoff W. Adams. It appeared in volume VI (2005) of STUDIA HUMANIORA TARTUENSIA. I found it very enjoyable. Was the Emperor Domitian really as bad as he has been portrayed by ancient historians?

From the abstract:

Suetonius has become one of the most influential and important ancient sources for our understanding ofthe socio-political climate in First Century Imperial Rome and the personalities of its emperors. However, he has illustrated in his texts a bias, often in a subtle manner that illustrates the historical and cultural aspectsof the literary climate during this period. One notable example is his Life of the Emperor Domitian, which corresponds well with the maturity of Suetonius’ writings by this time, but is also unique because of its constructionand personal attributes, being the most recent imperial life written by Suetonius. This life illustrates both the literary climate of this period (being clearly influenced by its Senatorial audience) as well as the damning and lasting impressions that the damnatio memoriae has had upon the historical sources on the Emperor Domitian.

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