It originated among the ancient Greeks, and appears to have been considered as a characteristic of Greek costume, even after it had long been adopted by the Romans, as may be understood from a passage of Suetonius in his life of Augustus. “He distributed among various other persons, togæ and pallia, and made a law that the Romans should wear the Greek habit, and the Greeks the Roman habit;” that is, that the Greeks should wear the toga, and the Romans the pallium.
Niebuhr also observes that the beginning of the Life of Cæsar in Suetonius is imperfect; "a fact well known, but it is only since the year 1812, that we know that the part which is wanting contained a dedication to the præfectus prætorio of the time, a fact which has not yet found its way into any history of Roman Literature." It is an old opinion that the Life of Cæsar in Suetonius is imperfect.
Suetonius in the reign of Domitian, speaking of these naumachia, says, "Edidit navales pugnas, pene justarum classium, effosso, et circumducto juxta Tyberim lacu, atque inter maximas imbres prospectavit," "He exhibited naval engagements of almost intire fleets, in an artificial Lake formed for the purpose hard by the Tyber, and viewed them in the midst of excessive Rains."
These include a reference in Tacitus' Annals, and brief references by Suetonius and Pliny the Younger. These three references are considered spurious by many scholars, and even if they were all to be accepted it would mean that the total pagan testimony as to the historicity of Jesus is confined to three very vague and brief references written a century after the reputed time of Jesus.
A number of oaken bookshelves contain a rich and choice library, in which Horace, the Epicurean and Sybarite, stands side by side with the tender Virgil, in whose verses we see the heart of the enamored Dido throbbing and melting; Ovid the large-nosed, as sublime as he is obscene and sycophantic, side by side with Martial, the eloquent and witty vagabond; Tibullus the impassioned, with Cicero the grand; the severe Titus Livius with the terrible Tacitus, the scourge of the Caesars; Lucretius the pantheist; Juvenal, who flayed with his pen; Plautus, who composed the best comedies of antiquity while turning a mill-wheel; Seneca the philosopher, of whom it is said that the noblest act of his life was his death; Quintilian the rhetorician; the immoral Sallust, who speaks so eloquently of virtue; the two Plinys; Suetonius and Varro in a word, all the Latin letters from the time when they stammered their first word with Livius Andronicus until they exhaled their last sigh with Rutilius.
Memoirs were written in the Neronian age by numbers both of men and women. Those of the Empress Agrippina were used by Tacitus; and we have references to others by the two great Roman generals of the period, Suetonius Paulinus and Domitius Corbulo. The production of scientific or technical treatises, which had been so profuse in the preceding generation, still went on.
If Claudius himself gave a dowry to the bride, he therefore knew that the marriage of Messalina and Silius was to take place; and it is precisely this fact which seems so incredible to Suetonius.
Biography was at this time a favourite form of literature, and some of the memoirs then written were available for use by later writers, such as Valerius Maximus, Suetonius, and Plutarch; yet it is curious how little has come down to us of the childhood or boyhood of the great men of the time.
Reason and riper years tempered his warmth; and from the study of wisdom, he retained what is most difficult to compass moderation. He learned the rudiments of war in Britain, under Suetonius Paulinus, an active and prudent commander, who chose him for his tent companion, in order to form an estimate of his merit.
"Perhaps so, Suetonius; but I will endeavour to utilize their strength in our service, and not to call it into the field against us. Now, let us enter the house. Varo," he said to one of his officers, "take charge of the captives until Suetonius sails. Guard them strongly, but treat them well. Place them in the house, where they will not be stared at by the crowd.