SUETONIUS


Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus lived c. 69 - 140 AD. He was a friend of Pliny the Younger. For some years he was one of Hadrian's secretaries. The only works that have survived are the Lives of the Twelve Caesars (Julius Caesar to Domitian), and the Lives of Famous Men.


Tiberius
[Translation: Penguin, R. Graves - M. Grant]
II [205 BC] - ... siquidem gentis eiusdem utraque Claudia fuit, et quae navem cum sacris Matris deum Idaeae obhaerentem Tiberino vado extraxit, precata propalam, ut ita demum se sequeretur, si sibi pudicitia constaret. There was a Claudia who, when the ship which was bringing the sacred image of the Idaean Mother-goddess to Rome grounded on a Tiber mud-bank, publicly prayed that she might be allowed to refloat it, in proof of her perfect chastity.
X [6 BC] - ... relictis Romae uxore et filio confestim Ostiam descendit, ne verbo quidem cuiquam prosequentium reddito paucosque admodum in digressu exosculatus. ... leaving Julia and Drusus, his son by Vipsania, behind at Rome, hurried down to Ostia, without saying a word to any of the friends who came to day goodbye, and kissing only very few of them before he went aboard his ship.
XI [6 BC] - Ab Ostia oram Campaniae legens inbecillitate Augusti nuntiata paulum substitit. [After leaving Ostia], as Tiberius coasted past Campania, news reached him that Augustus was ill; so he cast anchor for awhile.

Caligula
[Suetonius, 2 vols., trans. J. C. Rolfe, (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, and London: William Henemann, 1920), Vol. I, pp. 405-497, and Penguin, R. Graves - M. Grant]
XV [37 AD] - ... nec minore scaena Ostiam praefixo in biremis puppe vexillo et inde Romam Tiberi subvectos [matris fratrisque cineres] ... intulit. XV [37 AD] - With no less theatrical effect he brought them [the ashes of his mother and brother] to Ostia in a bireme with a banner set in the stern, and from there up the Tiber to Rome.
LV [37-40 AD] - Equiti romani tumultuanti per centurionem denuntiavit, abiret sine mora Ostiam perferretque ad Ptolemaeum regem in Mauretaniam codicillos suos; quorum exemplum erat: "ei quem istoc misi, neque boni quicquam neque mali feceris." LV [37-40 AD] - To a knight who created some disturbance while Mnester was on the stage, he sent instructions by a centurion to go at once to Ostia and convey a sealed message to King Ptolemy in Mauretania. The message read: 'Do nothing at all, either good or bad, to the bearer.'

Claudius
[The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, C. Tranquillus Suetonius, The Translation of Alexander Thomson, R. Worthington, New York (1883)]
XII [43 AD] - ... ut cum profectum eum Ostiam perisse ex insidiis nuntiatum esset, magna consternatione populus et militem quasi proditorem et senatum quasi parricidam diris execrationibus incessere non ante destiterit, quam unus atque alter et mox plures a magistratibus in rostra producti salvum et appropinquare confirmarent. XII [43 AD] - ... upon his going to Ostia, a report was spread in the city that he had been waylaid and slain, the people never ceased cursing the soldiers for traitors, and the senate as parricides, until one or two persons, and presently after several others, were brought by the magistrates upon the rostra, who assured them that he was alive, and not far from the city, on his way home.
XVII [43 A.D.] - Huc cum ab Ostia navigaret, vehementi circio bis paene demersus est ... XVII [43 AD] - Accordingly, he set sail from Ostia, but was twice very near being wrecked by the furious north-wester ...
XVIII [41-45 AD] - ... Artiore autem annona ob assiduas sterilitates detentus quondam medio foro a turba conviciisque et simul fragminibus panis ita infestatus, ... nihil non excogitavit ad invehendos etiam tempore hiberno commeatus. Nam et negotiatoribus certa lucra proposuit suscepto in se damno, si cui quid per tempestates accidisset, et naves mercaturae causa fabricantibus magna commoda constituit pro condicione cuiusque. XVIII [41-45 AD] - During a scarcity of provisions, occasioned by bad crops for several successive years, he was stopped in the middle of the forum by the mob, who so abused him, at the same time pelting him with fragments of bread ... He therefore used all possible means to bring provisions to the city, even in winter. He proposed to the merchants a sure profit, by indemnifying them against any loss that might befall them by storms at sea; and granted great privileges to those who built ships for that traffic.
XX [42 AD] - Opera magna potius necessaria quam multa perfecit, sed vel praecipua: ... portumque Ostiensem, quanquam sciret ... a Diuo Iulio saepius destinatum ac propter difficultatem omissum ... Portum Ostiae extruxit circumducto dextra sinistraque brachio et ad introitum profundo iam solo mole obiecta; quam quo stabilius fundaret, navem ante demersit, qua magnus obeliscus ex Aegypto fverat aduectus, congestisque pilis superposuit altissimam turrem in exemplum Alexandrini Phari, ut ad nocturnos ignes cursum navigia dirigerent. XX [42 AD] - He completed some important public works which, though, not numerous, were very useful. ... the harbour of Ostia; although he knew that ... had been several times intended by Julius Caesar, but as often abandoned on account of the difficulty of its execution ... He formed the harbour at Ostia, by carrying out circular piers on the right and on the left, with a mole protecting, in deep water, the entrance of the port. To secure the foundation of this mole, he sunk the vessel in which the great obelisk had been brought from Egypt; and built upon piles a very lofty tower, in imitation of the Pharos at Alexandria, on which lights were burnt to direct mariners in the night.
XXIV [42-50 AD] - ... Collegio quaestorum ... detractaque Ostiensi ... XXIV [42-50 AD] - ... and relieving them [college of quaestors] of their duties in Ostia ...
XXV [42-50 AD] - Puteolis et Ostiae singulas cohortes ad arcendos incendiorum casus collocavit. XXV [42-50 AD] - He quartered a cohort of soldiers at Puteoli, and another at Ostia, to be in readiness against any accidents from fire.
XXXVIII [42-50 AD] - Ostiensibus, quia sibi subeunti Tiberim scaphas obviam non miserint, graviter correptis eaque cum invidia, ut in ordinem se coactum conscriberet, repente tantum non satis facientis modo veniam dedit. XXXVIII [42-50 AD] - After severely reprimanding the people of Ostia for not sending some boats to meet him upon his entering the mouth of the Tiber, in terms which might expose them to the public resentment, he wrote to Rome that he had been treated as a private person; yet immediately afterwards he pardoned them, and that in a way which had the appearance of making them satisfaction, or begging pardon for some injury he had done them.
XL [42-50 AD] - Sed et pro tribunali Ostiensibus quiddam publice orantibus cum excanduisset, nihil habere se vociferatus est, quare eos demereatur; si quem alium, et se liberum esse. XL [42-50 AD] - The people of Ostia addressing him in open court with a petition, he flew into a rage at them, and said, "There is no reason why I should oblige you: if any one else is free to act as he pleases, surely I am."

Nero
[Translation: Penguin, R. Graves - M. Grant]
XVI [54-65 AD] - Destinarat etiam Ostia tenus moenia promovere atque inde fossa mare veteri urbi inducere. XVI [54-65 AD] - He also considered a scheme for extending the city wall as far as Ostia, and cutting a canal which would allow ships to sail straight up to Rome.
XXVII [54-65 AD] - Quotiens Ostiam Tiberi deflueret aut Baianum sinum praeternavigaret, dispositae per litora et ripas diversoriae tabernae parabantur insignes ganea et matronarum institorio copas imitantium atque hinc inde hortantium ut appelleret. XXVII [54-65 AD] - Whenever he floated down the Tiber to Ostia, or cruised past the Gulf of Baiae, he had a row of temporary brothels erected along the shore, where married women, pretending to be inn-keepers, solicited him to come ashore.
XXXI [54-65 AD] - Fossam ab Averno Ostiam usque, ut navibus nec tamen mari iretur, longitudinis per centum sexaginta milia, latitudinis, qua contrariae quinqueremes commearent. Quorum operum perficiendorum gratia quod ubique esset custodiae in Italiam deportari, etiam scelere convictos non nisi ad opus damnari praeceperat. XXXI [54-65 AD] - Another project would have connected Lake Avernus with Ostia by a ship canal 160 miles long, and broad enough for two quinqueremes to pass. Prisoners from every part of the Empire were ordered to be transported to Italy for this task, even those convicted of capital crimes receiving no other punishment but this.
XLVII [54-65 AD] - ... praemissis libertorum fidissimis Ostiam ad classem praeparandam ... XLVII [54-65 AD] - ... his most faithful freedmen had gone ahead to equip a fleet at Ostia.

Vespasianus
[Translation: Penguin, R. Graves - M. Grant]
VIII [70-75 AD] ... classiarios vero, qui ab Ostia et Puteolis Romam pedibus per vices commeant, petentes constitui aliquid sibi calciarii nomine, quasi parum esset sine responso abegisse, iussit post haec excalciatos cursitare; et ex eo ita cursitant. VIII [70-75 AD] - When the marine fire brigade, detachments of which had to be constantly on the move between Ostia or Puteoli and Rome, applied for a special shoe allowance, Vespasian not only turned down the application, but instructed them in future to march barefoot; which has been their practice ever since.