The author plays a clever game of hide-and-seek with the readers, pretending that the text was written by six people living during the reigns of Diocletian (284-305) and Constantine the Great (306-337). Probably, the text was in fact written in the 390′s, and it is certainly the product of one single, pagan author. He also offers false information and quotes at least 130 fake sources, only to disagree with them.
This ancient mockumentary is nice, but one can sympathize with the ancient historian’s despair. However, the work is, for a historian, not entirely worthless. It can be shown that the “major biographies”, i.e. the lives of the officially recognized emperors until Heliogabalus, are based on a collection of biographies written by an important senator named Marius Maximus, who is known to have finished a more or less reliable continuation of Suetonius‘ Lives of the Twelve Emperors.