Reading Suetonius’ LIVES OF THE TWELVE CAESARS

Getting to the end of Augustus. After reading the Annales, I’d kind of assumed that all the Caesars were either weaklings or terrible degenerates or both. But both Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar seemed kind of okay (at least insofar as powerhungry despots go). I’m still not entirely sure why Julius Caesar basically dismantled the Roman Republic, except that he really wanted to be in charge (and maybe didn’t feel like the Republic was working anymore). But at least when he ruled, he did so in a relatively just and merciful fashion. And although Augustus was slightly less just and merciful than Julius, he too also seems like a relatively okay guy. Or…well…at least he didn’t go around willy-nilly executing people on trumped up charges. Which seems like a bit of a low bar, but I don’t think most of the Caesars managed to clear it.