Introduction by K. R. Bradley

J. C. Rolfe’s Loeb Classical Library translation of Suetonius has stood the test of time well. In 1913 when the translation first appeared Rolfe hoped to equip his readers with a version of The Lives of the Caesars and The Lives of Illustrious Men that would give ‘a nearer approach to the manner’ of their author than anything otherwise then available. In adopting a matter of fact, unadorned English prose style, he amply succeeded in conveying the relatively straightforward, unembellished and unemotional character of Suetonius’ Latin, and not least because of its lack of ornament Rolfe’s translation has retained its usefulness and essential readability over many decades. In the current edition the presentation has been suitably brought up to date by changing many expressions and circumlocutions more appropriate to the beginning than to the end of the century. There is no obvious reason therefore why Rolfe’s translation should not continue to serve as a reliable vade mecum for students of Suetonius well into the twenty-first century.

The Latin text printed here is that of M. Ihm, which originally appeared just a few years before Rolfe’s Loeb and still remains standard. About Suetonius himself, however,