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II

DICTION AND STYLE OF SUETONIUS

SUETONIUS

may be said to possess a distinct style of his own. Naturally, he exhibits certain characteristics observable in other writers of the Silver Age: he can scarcely be expected to avoid the poetic coloring, the use of words and phrases in altered meanings, even the adoption of novel expressions and unusual constructions when compared with the usage of writers of the classical period. Yet his staid and sober intellect has resisted, to an extraordinary degree, the tendency to rhetorical ornamentation so characteristic of Pliny and other writers of his time. Far more concerned is he with a condensed presentation of the facts of ancient history, of ancient life and institutions. His Lives of the Caesars is a marvel of terse, compact, vigorous narrative, comprising within brief compass a remarkable amount of interesting and valuable information. Yet his brevity is not the epigrammatic terseness of a Tacitus. Suetonius commands attention rather by his simple, clear, straightforward delineation, but rarely displaying qualities of eloquence and genuine dramatic power. Even his longest periods are seldom tinged with obscurity of expression. More often, perhaps, it is his very conciseness of utterance, with undue importance attaching to a single word or phrase, that causes his reader to pause and reflect upon the full significance of a statement. But Suetonius himself never tarries for calm judgment and accurate weighing of the evidence he presents. Although he is not lavish of words, he has nevertheless composed passages of animated, concise narrative that are entirely free from a tendency to abruptness or obscurity.

The following are some of the characteristic features of Suetonius's diction and style, though not necessarily peculiar to him as a writer. Only certain of the more striking examples, all taken from the two Lives in this volume, are quoted in a given instance. The references are to chapter and section of the text.

§ 1. VOCABULARY

a. Suetonius, apparently, coined these words, which occur in no other Latin author:

domesticatim, Jul. 26. 2; inclaudicaret, Aug. 80; lucubratoriam, Aug. 78. 1; manubiali, Aug. 30.1; resuta, Aug. 94. 10; subsultim, Aug. 83; togatarium, Aug. 45. 4.

6. Suetonius uses a very large number of unusual and technical words. He employs other words, as well, that in earlier Latin are used not at all or in a different sense. Bagge (De Elocutione C. Suetonii Tranquilli) and others have given more or less complete lists of words which illustrate Suetonius's diction. Many of these words are discussed in the notes of this volume. As examples the following may be cited :

aeneatores, Jul. 32; baceolum, Aug. 87.2 (quotation); betizare, Aug. 87.2 (quotation); breviarium, Aug. 101. 4; catervarios, Aug. 45. 2; cinctura, Jul. 45. 3; civilitatis, Aug. 51. 1; commissionibus, Aug. 89. 3; concamaratum, Aug. 90; conditorium, Aug. 18. 1; desultorios, Jul. 39. 2; duretam, Aug. 82. 2; effutuisti, Jul. 51 (quotation); fabulatoribus, Aug. 78.2; feminalibus, Aug. 82.1; genituram, Aug. 94. 12; grassaturas, Aug. 32. 1; habitationem, Jul. 38.2; indignabundus, Aug. 40.5; nummulari, Aug. 4. 2; patriciatum, Aug. 2.1; permodicus, Aug. 6; pluri

1 For more detailed information the student is referred to the following works: H. R. Thimm, De Usu atque Elocutione C. Suetonii Tranquilli, Königsberg, 1867; P. Bagge, De Elocutione C. Suetonii Tranquilli, Upsala, 1875; E. Trachmann, De Coniunctionum Causalium apud Gaium Suetonium Tranquillum Usu, Halle, 1886; R. Düpow, De C. Suetonii Tranquilli Consuetudine Sermonis Quaestiones, Jena, 1895; J. W. Freund, De C. Suetonii Tranquilli Usu atque Genere Dicendi, Berlin, 1901 ; L. Dalmasso, La Grammatica di C. Suetonio Tranquillo, Turin, 1906.

fariam, Aug. 46; praecupidus, Aug. 70.2; profusissime, Aug. 75; promercale, Jul. 54. 2; pulleiaceum, Aug. 87.2 (quotation); rationarium, Aug. 28. 1; restionem, Aug. 2.3; subflavum, Aug. 79.2; tessellata, Jul. 46; vacerrosum, Aug. 87.2 (quotation); vapide, Aug. 87.2 (quotation).

c. Suetonius employs an extraordinary number of technical phrases and expressions :

qui . perduellionis diem diceret, Jul. 12; cum denuntiaret delaturum se nomen eius, Jul. 30. 3; Recensum populi .

vicatim ... egit, Jul. 41. 3; inter officia prosequentium fascesque lictorum, Jul. 71; in secundis heredibus, Jul. 83. 2; divisores operasque campestres, Aug. 3.1; reosque caedis absentis deferre statuit, Aug. 10. 1; publicum . . . et translativum ius, Aug. 10. 2; Cumque . aliam capi oporteret ambirentque multi ne filias in sortem darent, Aug. 31. 3; Ne quod autem maleficium negotiumve inpunitate vel mora elaberetur, Aug. 32. 2; Affuit et clientibus . . . qui postulabatur iniuriarum, Aug. 56. 4.

d. Of about one hundred words borrowed from the Greek that occur in these two Lives the following are a few of the most unusual in their Latinized spelling; several of these are exceedingly rare:

aretalogos, Aug. 74; Autographa, Aug. 71.2; Cacozelos, Aug. 86.2 ; carcinomata, Aug. 65. 4 ; coaxare, Aug. 94. 7 ; collybo, Aug. 4. 2 (quotation); conchyliatae, Jul. 43. 1 ; disticho, Jul. 51; gerontikos, Aug. 71. 2 (quotation); lachanizare, Aug. 87. 2 (quotation); myrobrechis, Aug. 86. 2 (quotation); naumachiam, Jul. 39. 1 ; Orthographiam, Aug. 88; phonasco, Aug. 84. 2 ; Pyrricham, Jul. 39. 1 ; technyphion, Aug. 72. 2; thalamego, Jul. 52. 1; thema, Aug. 94. 12; tympanizante, Aug. 68; wysticorum, Aug. 45. 4 ; xystis, Aug. 72. 3.

Some of these words would more properly be printed in Greek characters, as are cüdavao sav (Aug. 99. 2) and others : especially, gerontikos, myrobrechis, technyphion.

e. Suetonius often uses diminutives, sometimes without their usual force :

adulescentulo, Jul. 56.7; altiusculis, Aug. 73 ; asellus, Aug. 96. 2 ; auriculis, Aug. 69. 1; folliculum, Aug. 83; forulis, Aug. 31. 1; imagunculam, Aug. 7. 1; lactuculae, Aug. 77 ; lecticulam, Aug. 78. 1; lodi

cula, Aug. 83 ; nutricula, Aug. 94. 6; palmulas, Aug. 76. 1 (quotation); ponticulum, Jul. 31. 2 (quotation); regaliolum, Jul. 81. 3 ; vasculorum, Jul. 81. 1.

f. The adverbs in -im are remarkable both for their number and their use. Some of them are, apparently, used only by Suetonius, while others are but seldom found elsewhere :

circulatim, Jul. 84. 5; confestim, Jul. 84. 3 ; dispersim, Jul. 80. 1 ; domesticatim, Jul. 26. 2 ; municipatim, Jul. 14. 1; olim, Jul. 11 ; oppidatim, Aug. 59 ; partim, Aug. 21. 1 ; passim, Jul. 67. 1 ; paulatim, Aug. 31. 4 ; privatim, Jul. 26. 2 ; provinciatim, Aug. 49. 1; raptim, Aug. 79. 1 ; regionatim, Jul. 39. 1 ; separatim, Jul. 10. 1; singillatim, Aug. 9; statim, Aug. 27. 4 ; subsultim, Aug. 83 ; summatim, Jul. 44. 4 ; summissim, Aug. 74; ubertim, Jul. 81. 2 ; vicatim, Jul. 41. 3 ; viritim, Aug. 41. 2.

§ 2. SUBSTANTIVES

a. Abstract nouns for concrete :

absentiam suam (= se absentem), Jul. 23. 2; captura (= praeda capta), Aug. 25. 4; condicionem (= sponsam), Jul. 27. 1; iuventute (= iuvenibus), Aug. 43. 2; mancipia (= servos in bello captos), Jul. 26. 3; matrimoniis (= matronis, uxoribus), Jul. 51 ; necessitudines (= necessarios), Aug. 17. 2 ; servitia (= servos), Jul. 47.

b. Concrete singulars in a collective sense:

equite ( = equitibus, equestri ordine), Aug. 34. 2 ; milite (= militibus), Aug. 25. 2 ; Militem (= milites), Aug. 44. 2.

c. The material of which a thing is composed for the thing itself:

:

in ima cera, Jul. 83. 2.

d. Substantives, in apposition, as adjectives :

intercessores tribunos, Jul. 29. 1 ; victores exercitus, Aug. 11 ; candidati senatores, Aug. 40. 1.

$ 3. ADJECTIVES

a. Adjectives and participles in all genders, both numbers and all cases are frequently used as substantives, the participles in past, present or future time:

armatis, Jul. 30. 3 (with participial attribute) ; commoto, Aug. 51. 2 ; conspirati, Jul. 82.1; remanentium, Aug. 43. 1.

.

b. Often the adjectives have become substantives through the ellipsis of certain nouns :

aureos (sc. nummos), Aug. 98. 2 ; calidis (sc. thermis), Aug. 82. 2 ; cereis (sc. funibus), Jul. 84. 3 ; natalem (sc. diem), Aug. 57.1 ; pecuariam (sc. rem), Jul. 42.1; praetextas (sc. togas), Jul. 84. 4; quartanae (sc. febris), Jul. 1. 2; triumphales (sc. viros), Aug. 25. 3 ; laticlavios (sc. viros), Aug. 38. 2.

C. Not infrequently attributive adjectives are used where the genitive of the corresponding noun would be more usual :

clade Tituriana, Jul. 67. 2 ; hostilium sagittarum, Jul. 68. 3 ; annonae urbicae, Aug. 18. 2 ; militari opere, Aug. 18. 2 ; ultione paterna, Aug. 29. 2 ; triumphali effigie, Aug. 31.5.

d. An adjective, followed by a disjunctive question, is occasionally inserted in the midst of a sentence, without regard to construction :

dubium cautior an audentior, Jul. 58.1; dubium eventu meliore an voluntate, Aug. 28. 1; incertum metune . . . an quo subveniret, Jul. 18.1; imposne mentis an simulata dementia incertum, Aug. 19. 2.

e. Adjectives are not used adverbially as frequently as in contemporary writers :

libens, Jul. 73 ; seras, Aug. 17. 4 ; veteri (= iamdudum), Aug. 6.

§ 4. CASES

a. The genitive is used after adjectives and participles in a way characteristic of Silver Latin :

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