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Caligula (Lancaster Pamphlets in Ancient History)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Caligula (Lancaster Pamphlets in Ancient History).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Sam Wilkinson(Author)

    Book details


Sam Wilkinson provides an accessible introduction to the reign of Caligula, one of the most controversial of all the Roman Emperors. Caligula's policies have often been interpreted to be those of a depraved tyrant.

This study provides a reassessment of this controversial reign by scrutinising the ancient literary sources that are so hostile to Caligula, and by examining the reasoning behind the policies he enforced. Key topics discussed include:

* Caligula's early life and accession to power
* Caligula's relationship with the Senate
* how far Caligula's domestic and foreign policies can be judged to be a success
* why Caligula was assassinated in AD 41, only four years after his accession to power.

With a guide to primary and secondary sources, a chronology and a detailed glossary, Caligula is an invaluable study of the reign of this fascinating Emperor.

3.4 (5025)
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Book details

  • PDF | 120 pages
  • Sam Wilkinson(Author)
  • Routledge; 1 edition (2 Dec. 2004)
  • English
  • 2
  • Biography

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Review Text

  • By E Clare on 10 July 2009

    I found this book very disappointing. The author has tried to turn history on its head by looking at one aspect of Caligulas life and making him out to be victimised by those he opposed ie the Senate and wealthy. All of history's biographers and sources have been said to have been heavily biased against Caligula. Whilst the author does have some good points and mabye Caligula's worst points have been exagerated. In my view he has spoiled these by applying the theory of gross exageration and bias to everything. Surely in this case there was no smoke without fire.

  • By Peter Appleton on 29 February 2008

    I have read everything on Caligula from Balsden to Barrett to Ferrill as well as all the extant historical works (still hoping the lost chapters of Tacitus will turn up somewhere...), and I found this to be a worthwhile addition to the genre.While I can perhaps agree with the basic premise of the work - that Caligula was influenced by his early experiences in the east and did not approach his rulership in a manner in keeping with Roman traditions, I found that the author tends to use this to explain every action by the later emperor, which while I can appreciate that is his theory, seems a little too simplistic to me.Caligula was only in the East from 16-19AD (when he would have been aged 4-7) which hardly seem like enough time to me to develop lifelong approaches to power based on the myriad of cultures he would have experienced over the period.Finally there are some typos and factual problems that should have been picked up in editing (for example the author mentions Caligula spending several years in Egypt when in fact his father Germanicus visited there once a sight-seeing trip in 18AD and died the next year - hardly enough time for a young boy to decide that the Ptolemies got it right and screwing your sisters was the right way for monarchs to behave).

  • By Adam Graham Malster on 8 July 2008

    This biography of one of Rome's most misunderstood emperors is very short but at the same time very informative. At around only one hundred pages I can only say that my one disappointment was its brevity.The story of the emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known as Caligula is familiar to many. We are told he was the emperor who went crazy with disastrous consequences not only for those close to him but also for the empire itself. His rule was so insane that he had to be assassinated by his own government. This story has been popularised and repeated many times perhaps most famously by the film starring Malcolm McDowell and also the I Claudius books by Robert Graves.The picture painted here of the young man who came to power at the age of twenty four and was murdered less than four years into his reign is quite different. Wilkinson weighs the different biases of the historical sources with the verifiable facts of his reign and comes to a completely different conclusion than insanity. His sketch of an intelligent emperor who strove to wield his awesome power with responsibility is a convincing one.Perhaps it is difficult to write at more length about someone who only ruled for such a short time, lived so very long ago and who has had his reputation twisted by so many writers since his death. Sam Wilkinson's book has encouraged me to find out more.

  • By Guest on 7 November 2005

    Finally a realistic portrayal of the emperor Caligula. He acted like his contemporaries and used the power he had, which was total. Forget the myth; here is an accurate account of the man. He was not mad; he knew exactly what he was doing. Wilkinson's opinion on the Jewish question is the most sensible I have come across. A concise and precise account.

  • By Mr Dust on 15 May 2014

    The author is trying to explain away Caligula's excesses and madness, but doesn't really succeed. Valiant attempts to rationalize the young emperor's exploits and erratic behaviour, blaming hostile sources, without taking into account the fact that the sources we have are hostile towards all the Julio-Claudians, but accusations of mental illness appear only in case of Caligula, and that his recorded actions give these claims solid merit. The historical sources, biased or not, are unanimous, and after all, the literary sources are all we have. Archeology or official documents/inscriptions can give no insight in his personality or mental state.A typical example of revisionist history, claiming to present "a new perspective", while just being contrary.


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