Quote: The Twelve Caesars

This is from Chapter One of Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars. I’m reading the translation by Robert Graves, one of my favorite poets.

Here is the quote:

Is crime consonant with nobility?
Then noblest is the crime of tyranny –
In all things else obey the laws of Heaven.

Actually, this is a quote from a quote from a quote. Suetonius says that Cicero wrote in his book Essay on Duty that Julius Caesar quoted the words from a play by Euripides entitled The Phoenician Women. A rather literate bunch, these Romans!

It appears that Caesar used the quote to justify his bid for monarchical power.

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