Structure and Persuasion in Suetonius’ Caesars

Date & time

5.15–6.30pm 31 August 2017


Milgate Room, 1st Floor, A.D. Hope Bldg 14, ANU


Dr Phoebe Garrett, Guest Lecturer, ANU Centre for Classical Studies


Phoebe Garrett

Presented as part of the Centre for Classical Studies Seminar Series

At the sentence level Suetonius often appears to be neutral, but I argue here that the persuasive force of Suetonius’ text in the arrangement of his material creates a portrait that is absolutely not neutral. As David Wardle put it in a 2016 review, ‘Anyone who reads Suetonius without regard to the careful structures within which the biographer places his material can produce almost any picture.’ Yet these ‘careful structures’ are a mystery known only to the initiated. This paper lays out the complex and varied ways in which Suetonius uses structure, specifically the system of arranging his material under sub-headings and those sub-headings in sequences, in the hope that with this knowledge we see more accurately what ‘picture’ the biographer was creating.
Dr Phoebe Garrett has been working on Suetonius since her Honours degree at ANU. Her PhD (Univ. Newcastle, NSW) was on Ancestry in Suetonius’ De uita Caesarum. She is a guest lecturer in the Centre for Classical Studies and is working on various projects to do with Suetonius’ Caesars and the fragments of his lost works.
This seminar is free and all are welcome to attend.


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