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Suetonius' Life of Augustus

Commentary by Darryl A. Phillips

Publication Date - 01 August 2023

ISBN: 9780197676080

208 pages
7 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches


The lifetime of Augustus (63 BCE -14 CE) was a key moment of transition for the Roman world. Following decades of civil war, the traditional government of the Roman Republic evolved to include a leading role for Augustus. Peace at home was balanced with wars of expansion and consolidation on the frontiers. Literature and the arts flourished. A building boom transformed the city of Rome. Augustus was at the center of it all, and thus the lifetime of Augustus and the life of Augustus himself have attracted keen interest from antiquity up to the present day.

In his biography of Augustus, the early second century CE author C. Suetonius Tranquillus offers not only a survey of the major political, military and civic accomplishments of his subject, but also includes such diverse topics as Augustus's family lineage, spouses, personal appearance, leisure activities, intellectual pursuits and style of living. We find in the Life of Augustus a detailed biography of a leading figure at a pivotal historical moment, as well as the material for political, social, and cultural history that offers a wide range of approaches to the Augustan age.

This volume provides a comprehensive edition of Suetonius's Life of Augustus for readers of Latin at the intermediate and advanced levels. The complete Latin text is presented, accompanied on the same page by a running vocabulary, grammatical support, and historical notes to aid comprehension, making this volume ideally suited for use on its own. An introduction to Suetonius and his style of biographical writing provides context for interpreting the text.


  • Presents the full Latin text along with historical commentary, vocabulary, and grammatical notes
  • Can be used on its own without supplementary materials
  • Offers a detailed introduction to Suetonius and his writing style

About the Author(s)

Darryl A. Phillips is Associate Professor of Classics at Connecticut College. An historian of ancient Rome with interdisciplinary interests, his research explores the political history, literature, and topography of Rome during the late Republic and principate of Augustus.

Table of Contents

    Augustus's Lifetime and the Life of Augustus
    Suetonius's Life and Works
    Suetonius and the Biographical Tradition
    Structure and Content of the Life of Augustus
    Suetonius's Latin Style
    This Volume
    Outline of the Life of Augustus
    Further Reading
    Commentary Abbreviations
    Frequent Vocabulary
    The Family of Augustus as Mentioned by Suetonius
    Life of Augustus with Commentary