A2 sources: Suetonius, Tactitus and the Res Gestae

The flashcards below were created by user Daniellej on FreezingBlue Flashcards.

  1. What are the weaknesses of Suetonius as a source (5 things) 
    • He was a secondary source
    • He was not critical of his sources and was privity to gossip meaning some of his sources may be rumours
    • He uses anecdotes
    • He doesn't always use a chronology and often groups things together by topic
    • Wasn't interested in military matters
  2. What was the purpose of the res gestae
    • It's immediate purpose was to direct discussion in the senate after his death to particular themes he had selected
    • Also to proscribe what people thought of him in the future
  3. How does Augustus refer to his enemies in the RG
    • Antony is a faction
    • Sextus pompeius is a pirate
    • Brutus and cassius are the murderers of my father
    • Lepudis is my colleage who was still alive
  4. How does Augustus follow normal roman custom in the RG
    He lists his magestracies and the many special tributes conferred on him
  5. What does Augutsus omit in the RG (5 things)
    • He fails to mention foreign policy
    • His administrative reforms
    • Disregards old religious customs he revived
    • Nothing is said of his natural family
    • Mentions only part of his legislation
  6. What did augustus stress in the RG
    His tribunician powers
  7. How do the things Augustus omits impact the RG as a whole
    He is highly selective of his choice meaning his sentences are not inaccurate but they do not always give a rounded picture
  8. What are the strengths of suetonius as a source (4 things)
    • Access to archives
    • There is an emphasis in the characters of the emperors themselves
    • Although he doesn't write much on the military he writes more on the domestic front
    • His formulaic approach can be useful
  9. When was suetonius born
  10. Suetonius' career...
    He reached the positon of secretary to the emperor Hadrian which meant he had access to public documents, letters and other biographical content
  11. When was tacitus born
    C. AD 56
  12. Tacitus' career
    • He began his official career under Vespasian and was in Rome to witness the final savage years of Domitians rule
    • He was also proconsul in Turkey in AD112
  13. Tacitus' writing style
    • Intensity and brevity are characteristic of his style and it is also powerful and elevated
    • This suits his belief in dignity and the moral effect of history
    • He also has a keen sense of irony
    • His style means that sometimes drama takes precedent over fact
  14. What is Tacitus' opinion of the principate
    • He reacts against the principate and looks back longingly at "free" institutions which existed during the republic
    • He was of the belief that power centred on one man blunted even the most experienced rulers moral senses
  15. What is Tacitus' general opinion of the senators
    He laments their lack of independence and courage
  16. Tactitus' religious views
    He believed that the gods were malevolent and full of wrath who worked to punish
  17. The reigns of the emperors
    • Augutsus AD 31- AD14
    • Tiberius AD 14- AD37
    • Claudius AD41- AD54
  18. Caligula's assassination
    In early 41AD Caligula became the first emperor to be assassinated as a result of a conspiracy involving officers of the preatorian guard, as well as members of the roman senate and of the imperial court
  19. Where do Tactitus and suetonius agree on the death of Agrippa Postumus
    • Both agree that when Tiberius found out about it he claimed to have no knowledge of it, suetonius states that he "had given no such order"
    • Both agree that the killer was commanded to answer for the crime by Tiberius but that this never actually happened
  20. Where do Tactitus and suetonius disagree on the death of Agrippa Postumus
    Tacitus firmly believes that it was not Augutsus who ordered the killing but suetonius considers this to be a possibility
  21. What does Tacitus completely ignore
    Economic factors as this was not a feature of historiography
  22. Why did Tactitus dislike Tiberius in particular
    Because Domitian admired him
  23. What was Tactitus' aim in writing the annals
    • To expose the evil of the principate under the Julio Claudians and to show it's degeneration
    • He hoped his readers would learn from the past and so wrote with a moral purpose
  24. What is Tacitus' most successful method of creating prejudice
    • The damming aside
    • Such as "but people did not belive his affection was sincere"
    • He also uses innuendo
Card Set
A2 sources: Suetonius, Tactitus and the Res Gestae
Show Answers