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Who Slept With Whom In The Roman Empire? Women, Sex, And Scandal In Suetonius’ Caesares

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Chapter Summary

The theme of sexual extravagance was not new to Suetonius; many Roman authors of the first century ce critiqued their own times and lamented the luxury and outrageous sexual license of men and women in their day. An examination of his interest in 'who was sleeping with whom' against the backdrop of second century propaganda regarding the Trajanic and Hadrianic imperial families indicates that his prurience was characteristic of his own generation and of his audience. Two emperors whose private sexual 'tastes' are related to their general 'character' are Claudius (also deified) and Galba. The connection between sex and political advancement, and the public's desire to contrast its leaders' private sexual liaisons with their public actions, are familiar phenomena in many historical periods. The other aspect of "who slept with whom in the first century of the Roman empire" involves the imperial family, specifically the women.

Keywords: Claudius; Galba; Hadrianic imperial families; Roman empire; Suetonius Caesares; Trajanic imperial families

10.1163/ej.9789004187757.i-439.62
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