Home Syllabus Project Articles Tests Resources Site map  
CL 311 : Tests
Introduction Format Quiz 1 Quiz 2 Quiz 3 Final

Take-home quizzes on Suetonius' style, syntax, and grammar will be assigned throughout the term: three quizzes in all, at regular intervals.

Quizzes must be completed and submitted by the specified date, either in person or via email (MS Word attachments, please).



Each quiz will ask students to re-read the text to locate and explicate specific grammatical or syntactic constructions (e.g., purpose clauses, result clauses, gerundives).  Each quiz also calls for a modest (5-6 paragraph) essay.  STUDENTS MUST WORK ENTIRELY ON THEIR OWN.

For grammatical or syntactical constructions students should do the following:

1.   Quote as much of the construction as needed in order to demonstrate that it has been located successfully.  If, however, the construction is a subordinate clause, as a general rule some of the main clause (which usually "triggers" the subordinate clause) should be included for context.  By citing only the necessary components of a construction, students reveal themselves as careful and discerning readers.

2.   Identify quotations by chapter/section references (e.g., "Aug. 2.3").

3.   Provide a translation of the quotation, which should be as accurate as possible.  Be sure to translate only what is quoted.  Students should translate in their own words.

4.   Identify and discuss the essentials of the construction.  If the construction is a subordinate clause, be sure to relate it back to the main clause.

IMPORTANT:  Students should consult the Guide to subordinate clauses (44k, MS Word format) when formulating discussion, especially as regards the essential elements and functions of such constructions.

Essays should be supported with ample evidence from the text ans secondary readings.


  • Each construction is normally worth 10 points:  three for locating the construction, two for quoting it correctly, two for translating it, and three for discussing it.  Constructions for which you have special responsibility throughout the term, though, are worth 20 points.
  • Each essay is worth 60 points unless otherwise specified.
Quiz 1.

Due:  Friday, March 6, 5:00 p.m.
Coverage:  Suet. Aug. 1-10.4, 17-18, 25-35

A.  Constructions.  Locate and explicate examples of the following:

1 purpose clause
1 result clause
1 indirect command (a.k.a. jussive noun clause)
1 indirect statement
1 indirect question
1 cum-clause
1 ablative absolute
1 ablative of time
1 use of genitive neither possessive, partitive, nor objective
2 predicative participles

B.  Essay.

Wallace-Hadrill emphasizes that Suetonius was a scholarly biographer.  In what you've read in the Augustus so far, how is Suetonius' scholarship apparent in his writing? Cite specific examples that allow you to generalize a little.

Quiz 2.

Due:  Sunday, April 5, 5:00 p.m.
Coverage:  Suet. Aug. 43-44, 79-80, 82, 87-89, 92, 94.1-2, 97.1-2, 99-100

A.  Constructions.  Locate and explicate examples of the following:

1 purpose clause
1 indirect command (a.k.a. jussive noun clause)
1 indirect statement
1 gerund and 1 gerundive

1 predicative participle

B.  Essay.

How might the Divus Augustus be read as an instruction manual to future emperors on how (or how not) to rule effectively?

Quiz 3.

Due:  Wednesday, April 27, 5:00 p.m.
Coverage:  Suet. Cal. 3-4, 9, 11, 13, 18.1-2, 19.1-2, 22.1, 24, 33, 36, 41, 44, 49-50, 58
Coverage:  Suet. Ner. 21-22, 27-29, 30-31

A.  Constructions.  Locate and explicate examples of the following:

1 result clause
1 cum-clause
1 indirect question
2 ablative absolutes
1 predicative participle

Final exam.

Tuesday, May 5, 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

A.  Essay:  Suetonius' lost preface.

Suetonius' Life of Julius Caesar, the first life of the De Vita Caesarum ("Twelve Caesars"), lacks an introduction, beginning rather abruptly with the death of Caesar's father.  Johannes Lydus' (Greek) summary of the lost introduction mentions that Suetonius dedicated or presented the lives to his patron and Hadrian's praetorian prefect, Septicius Clarus, "in a letter."

In this essay you will reconstruct — in English — the lost letter based on your readings of Suetonius. Adopt the persona of Suetonius and, in five to six full paragraphs, write what you think Suetonius would or should have said to Clarus as a preface to his work. You should assume that this introductory letter would have been published as part of the De Vita Caesarum; make it speak not only to Clarus but also to Suetonius' contemporary (and future) audience.

The successful essay, in addition to convincingly projecting the persona of Suetonius, will address in some way the following questions:

  • Why did S. undertake this project?
  • What resources did he have at his disposal?
  • What was his methodology? Why did he operate thus?
  • Why did he begin with Julius Caesar?
  • Why did he dedicate the work to Clarus?

The best essays will find a way to transcend these minimum requirements and invoke other issues surrounding S. and his life and work.

You may write your essay at the exam, or you may write it ahead of time and bring it with you.  If you choose the latter option, please submit a typed and double-spaced essay.

Helpful primary and secondary sources.  In composing your Suetonian introduction, you might wish to consult other ancient prose introductions. Historiographers of antiquity were acutely aware of the importance of starting off on the right foot.  For your consultation and comparison, here are links to the openings by six different Greek and Latin historians, which collectively illustrate how authors introduced their works:

In addition to the articles we have discussed this semester, you might find the following secondary sources useful:

If you use these or other secondary sources for your essay, you must cite them accordingly.

B.  Sight translation.

Translate into English 4 out of 6 short passages chosen from Suetonius' Augustus, Caligula, and Nero.

Like our in-class practice passages, all of the selections on the exam will be supplemented with vocabulary lists.  In addition, you may ask Prof. Curley — in person, if he is in the room, or via telephone (580-5463) if not — one question pertaining to vocabulary, grammar, or syntax.

If you phone Prof. Curley, ask your question in the exam room and share the answer with your peers.  This will be the only peer-peer communication allowed during the exam.  You may not collaborate with your peers on the question itself, nor may you discuss any other aspect of the exam with anyone other than your professor.

You will benefit greatly by making your own outlines of each biography, so as to aid your locating each passage within a larger context.

Also, in accordance with the notion that practice makes perfect, you will find additional practice passages here.

© Skidmore College Classics Department