Caligula

Caligula

Caligula

Caligula

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

The Emperor Gaius, otherwise known by his nickname Caligula ('little boot'), came to power at the age of 24 in March ad 37, only the second man to inherit the principate. By January ad 41 he had been assassinated. For someone whose reign was so short he has certainly achieved notoriety. The name Caligula is synonymous with vice, depravity and even insanity. He was the standard example of the archetypal tyrant to his literary contemporary Lucius Annaeus Seneca. And that is how posterity has remembered him. But is there really historical evidence to support such a tradition? This work intends a reappraisal of Gaius by not only investigating his policy at home and abroad in the four years of his reign but also by comparing and contrasting this with those of his immediate predecessors and successors. His reign is too short to be treated in isolation. Only by searching for consistency of government with regard to Roman policy at the time can his reign be fully evaluated. Did Gaius diverge from Augustan precedent? Did he innovate in his domestic government or foreign policy, and if so were such actions successful? Did his successors continue his work? By studying Gaius in this wider context, and by concentrating on his government, taking a more rigorously political approach, light will be shed on the value and consequence of his reign.

It is essential to investigate Gaius' government, and his relations with the various strata of Roman society, in order to understand

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