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10_04 Paper 1 - Fornecker 1 Benjamin Fornecker 4 October...

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Fornecker 1 Benjamin Fornecker 4 October 2006 Ancient Roman History Prof. Penella Suetonius’ Depiction of the Last Three Caesars All authors have different styles of writing that help readers differentiate between them. When writing a biography about other people, an author must have a valid source to prove their stories are true. One way of finding the truth is witnessing the accounts of their subjects firsthand, just as Suetonius wrote The Twelve Caesars . His last three subjects, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian, are all written following the same format. He begins by writing about their birth followed by the years up to their rule. Suetonius then tells about their year or years as emperor, followed by death and obituary. His style of writing remains consistent throughout The Twelve Caesars , especially in his description of the last three Caesars in the Roman Empire. Suetonius seems to favor Vespasian more than his sons, Titus and Domitian, all members of the Flavian family. Vespasian, the tenth Caesar, overthrew Vitellius and took over his troops to become emperor during the year of the four emperors. During his reign as emperor, he gained admiration and reverence from his own troops as well as those of other armies. He captured the throne and was thought of as a great leader by all. Suetonius depicts his reign as a victory within Rome with his people and other people throughout the land. His emphasis on Vespasian’s ordering of the “restoring of the burned capitol by collecting the first basketful of rubble and carrying it away on his shoulders” (Suetonius 288) showed Vespasian’s strength and leadership ability to rule such a great empire.
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Fornecker 2 Suetonius portrays Vespasian as a great leader with some flaws, including his love for money which led him to increase the amount of tribute paid by the provinces. Avarice could be considered a huge flaw, but Vespasian’s generosity showed when he gave needy ex-consuls annual stipends. Although he could have been criticized for this flaw, Suetonius seems to quickly display a positive feature of Vespasian in his glory. He characterizes Vespasian as “square-bodied, with strong, well-proportional limbs” (Suetonius 292) and thinks highly of this emperor of Caesar.
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