SUETONIUS

MS 118
MS Short Title SUETONIUS
Text SUETONIUS: VITAE 12 CAESARUM
Description MS in Latin on paper, Austria, ca. 1470, 169 ff. (complete), 24x16 cm, single column, (16x10 cm), 30 lines in a square, slightly sloping humanistic book script, headings and sidenotes in pale red, 12 5- to 6-lines illuminated initials in highly burnished and punched gold, entwined with coloured leafy plantstems on blue, red or green grounds, heightened with tracery and clusters of dots, the first one with 3/4 scrolling border of coloured and gold plantstems including a bird.
Binding France, before 1878, blue morocco gilt, sewn on 5 cords, gilt inner borders, marbled endleaves, green silk markers, by Lortic.
Context
Provenance 1. Ambroise Firmin-Didot (1790-1876); 2. Adolphe Labitte (Librairie Firmin-Didot & Cie), Paris, 6.6.1878:59; 3. Maggs Bros., London (1959); 4. Major J.R. Abbey (1959-1969), J.A.6963; 5. Sotheby's 1.12.1970:2885; 6. Sotheby's 21.6.1988:89.
Commentary This classical text covers the period from Caesar (100-44 BC) to Domitian (81-96 AD). Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (ca. 70 – ca. 135) wrote the biographies of Caesar (100-44 BC) and Augustus (27 BC-14 AD) while he was secretary at the imperial palace, where he had access to the imperial archives. After he was dismissed by Hadrian in 122, he wrote the biographies of the 10 following emperors up to Domitian (81-96). Suetonius is the source of the well-known stories of Caesar crossing Rubicon, his assassination in the Senate, Tiberius’ atrocities at his villa in Capri, Nero singing while Roma was burning, Vespasian’s statement that money do not smell, etc. He also wrote the biographies of Terence, Vergil, Horace and Lucan. There are many mss surviving of this classical text, but this is the only ms written in Austria, and it has some text variants.
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Place of origin Austria
Dates ca 1470 AD

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