Gaius Suetonius’ Background
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillua was a Roman historian (AD 117-138) under Hadrian (AD 76-136). He was also the secretary of Emperor Hadrian and authored a book entitled Life of Claudius.
Gaius Suetonius’ Reference To Jesus Christ
“Because the Jews at Rome caused constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [Christ], he [Claudius] expelled them from the city [Rome].” – Life of Claudius 25.4
“Nero inflicted punishment on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous religious belief.” – Lives of Casesars, Nero, 16
This reference reveals several key things:
- The Christians beliefs were called mischievous because they disagreed with those acceptable to Rome.
- There was a new religion composed of people called Christians because they followed Christ.
- Suetonius states that Claudius expelled Christians from Rome. Acts 18:2 confirms this statement when it states “Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome.”
- Suetonius states that the Christians were punished by Nero.