UBC Theses and Dissertations
A commentary on Suetonius’ Galba Lee, Stephen Michael
It is difficult to ascertain the reason why the Lives of Suetonius have been so neglected by English-speaking scholars. In the historical significance of the period they cover, in the light they throw upon Roman life and manners and as a rich mine of anecdotes concerning Roman emperors, they have always been regarded as a most important source of information. There have been, however, few commentaries devoted to the Lives. The Galba has been particularly disregarded. Not since Mooney's edition of 1930 has there been any complete English commentary on the Life. However, other factors than the lack of a recent edition contributed to the choice of the Galba as the subject of this thesis. The Life deals with one of the most remarkable periods of Roman history, with the decline of the Julio-Claudian line and the subsequent political upheaval. It is also typical of Suetonius' style of biography in its impartiality, the structure and organization of its narrative, and its linguistic style. Finally, in the parallel accounts of Galba's life by Tacitus, Dio and Plutarch there exist constant points of reference that are vital for reasons of characterisation and historical value. It has been my aim in this thesis to produce a critical commentary on the Galba that both demonstrates the peculiar characteristics of the work and evaluates the contributions of modern scholarship. The thesis falls into three parts. The first chapter deals with the life of Suetonius and includes a discussion of the problems caused by the discovery of the Hippo Inscription. Subsequent sections are devoted to the date of composition of the Lives, the contentious question of Suetonius' sources and, finally, the manuscript tradition. Chapter two consists of a text of the Galba based on that of Ihm ( 1958). Some variations have been made and defended in the Commentary. Chapter three, the Commentary, constitutes the bulk of the thesis and is a section-by-section discussion of historical, textual and linguistic points arising from the text. The method of citation, through out, is by name of author and year of publication only. Full details can be found in the bibliography at the end of the thesis.
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