Many many years ago, about 1992, I happened to drop by the Mansion House in Dublin at the tail end of a book fair. I spotted a battered-looking pair of books on a stall, looked at them long enough to realise that it as an 18th century edition of Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars, bargained the price down from £70 to £50 (those were pre-euro days), and have been carting them around with me from house to house ever since.

So I was rather surprised when I tried pricing it on ADDALL and discovered that a Swedish vendor is selling the same 1736 edition for 7,500 kronor, or just over $1000.

Very exciting, until I realised that their copy is in almost mint condition (covers are “Contemporary full vellum with gilt spine and yellow labels, boards with gilt monograms, marbled edges”) and has clearly been well looked after in the last 270 years. Alas, the condition that my copy is in (covers battered, not gilt, not monogrammed, and in fact detached, though still present) probably means I got a fair price at best. AbeBooks doesn’t seem to have my particular edition, but does have three older ones for less than £60, all of which sound like they are in much better shape (if less heavily annotated) than mine.

So I think I’ll hang onto it for now. I’ve used it only once, for my note on the assassination of the emperor Domitian

One thought on “Suetonius

  1. Terminus, Enlightenment, Snakedance — the “worthy but dull” trilogy.

    I haven’t rewatched Terminus since it was first broadcast but at the time I really wanted to love it. It revealed its secrets gradually and had secrets that were worth revealing, and some great misdirection with the initial obvious twist, Soylent Green is people!, replaced by the twist that oh my god they’re actually curing them! The Vanir were enjoyably shambolic, a far cry from the declaiming mercenaries that Saward usually oversaw. But yes, still, a lot of virtues but when it got to the screen it didn’t really pop.

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