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Suetonius the BiographerStudies in Roman Lives$
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Tristan Power and Roy K. Gibson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199697106

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697106.001.0001

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Suetonius and the uiri illustres of Pliny the Younger

Suetonius and the uiri illustres of Pliny the Younger

Chapter:
(p.199) 10 Suetonius and the uiri illustres of Pliny the Younger
Source:
Suetonius the Biographer
Author(s):

Roy K. Gibson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697106.003.0011

This chapter compares the literary figures mentioned in Pliny the Younger’s Letters with the biographical subjects in the remains of Suetonius’ Illustrious Men. Places of overlap and divergence between the two contemporary authors are discussed, and conclusions are drawn about their different reasons for including the names that they do. Pliny’s senatorial outlook is held to explain his greater emphasis on writers of the later Julio-Claudian era, and those of certain genres, such as accounts of famous deaths. Pliny’s Letters may be read as a critique and pre-empting of Suetonius’ biographical collection, especially since the former had probably seen the Illustrious Men, at least in draft form, prior to its publication. A useful list of Plinian passages in which literary men appear is included as an appendix to the chapter.

Keywords:   Suetonius, Illustrious Men, Pliny the Younger, literary biography, social class

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