Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, the son of Suetonius Laetus, was probably born in Hippo, Regius (Algeria) in about AD 69. Suetonius trained as a lawyer and, after a succession of jobs working for the Roman government.
Suetonius was a close friend of Pliny the Younger who described him as "quiet and studious, a man dedicated to writing." Pliny, who inherited a large sim of money from Pliny the Elder, helped him buy a small property in Italy.
Suetonius served under Pliny the Younger in Bithynia Pontus (northern Asia Minor) between 110 and 112. Pliny introduced Suetonius to Emperor Trajan. Later, Suetonius served as secretary of studies and director of the government archives. Suetonius also served as chief secretary to Emperor Hadrian. These posts gave him access to documents that enabled him to write his most famous book, The Twelve Caesars (a collection of biographies of the twelve Roman Emperors who lived between 48 BC and AD 96).
Suetonius believed that historians should try to write unbiased books. He included information for and against the people he was writing about and tried to avoid making personal judgements about them. However, one of the themes of his biographies was that emperors started off with good intentions but ended up being corrupted by their tremendous power.
Suetonius has been criticised by modern historians for relying too much on gossip and rumour. It has been argued that, as many of the anecdotes (interesting and amusing short stories) that he included dealt with personal incidents that took place a long time before he was born, they could not be checked for accuracy.
In 122, Emperor Hadrian dismissed Suetonius for disrespectful behaviour towards Empress Vibia Sabina. Suetonius retired and is believed to have died in about AD 130.