Jump to content
UNRV Ancient Roman Empire Forums
Sign in to follow this  
CoreoVII

Caligula

Recommended Posts

I'm doing a research paper on the Roman Emperor Caligula. I want to argue that the evidence of him being cruel and/or mad is linked to timing in power, the true people against him, and his inexperience as a ruler. Also to possibly find some information that show that these negative outlooks on Caligula are either misunderstood or simply not their.

 

Would anyone know of any good sites for finding scholarly information on Caligula?

 

Any help would be greatly appriecated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, I think the first scholar who tried to rescue Gaius from the malignant tradition was Professor J.V. Balsdon in The Emperor Gaius. Although the book is somewhat dated now (1934) and I think out of print (I have a copy on my shelves) you may be able to pick up a second hand copy somewhere. I've just had a scout around the Net and there are places selling ex-library copies. Balsdon's thesis sounds to be exactly what you are looking for. Alas, if you can't get hold of this, you could try the Anthony Barrett biography Caligula: The Corruption of Power (1989), which is readily available at Amazon, and follows a similar line to Balsdon. Barrett is accessible and writes a lively prose. He also gives an extensive bibliography and sources, so he may well serve your purposes.

 

Other members may have other suggestions.

 

Hope this helps and welcome to the Forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have read the Caligula appointed his horse to senator and build a palace to him, therafter he was probaly mad. Because his bad reigm the preatorians killed him and appointed his uncle who was hiding behind the curtain in the same room.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have read the Caligula appointed his horse to senator and build a palace to him, therafter he was probaly mad. Because his bad reigm the preatorians killed him and appointed his uncle who was hiding behind the curtain in the same room.

 

Yes, this is certainly part of the legend and myth of our Gaius - but I think the truth was somewhat different. I can not defend him entirely - for what it's worth, my view is that he was a megalomaniac with Jacksonian epilepsy. However, that does not make him insane. Far from being insane, I think he was shrewd, calculating and overbearing. But it is to our eternal loss that Tacitus' account of his reign has not survived. I will say just one thing in his favour - any poor child who had Germanicus and Agrippina for parents must have been affected in some way. I think we'd be giving him counselling in this enlightened age :)

 

But to return to the original poster's question, Legio X - he/she was not looking for the legendary, scurrilous bits - but a more balanced appraisal of his reign and character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have read the Caligula appointed his horse to senator and build a palace to him, therafter he was probaly mad. Because his bad reigm the preatorians killed him and appointed his uncle who was hiding behind the curtain in the same room.

 

Actually choosing his horse for consul (If this even ever did happen, I guess my theory would nothing but be silly if it's only a myth) is not even closely as mad as it may seem - It's merely a way to point out how worthless the consular position was by this time compared to the power of the princeps.

 

On the question of literature, I actually thing you would find your best evidence in Suetonius working your way back from what seems to be reasonable and what seems to be rumours. The topic sounds very interesting by the way!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have read the Caligula appointed his horse to senator and build a palace to him, therafter he was probaly mad. Because his bad reigm the preatorians killed him and appointed his uncle who was hiding behind the curtain in the same room.

 

Actually choosing his horse for consul (If this even ever did happen, I guess my theory would nothing but be silly if it's only a myth) is not even closely as mad as it may seem - It's merely a way to point out how worthless the consular position was by this time compared to the power of the princeps.

 

On the question of literature, I actually thing you would find your best evidence in Suetonius working your way back from what seems to be reasonable and what seems to be rumours. The topic sounds very interesting by the way!

A Urban Myth indeed.

 

Our main gossipy source, C. Suetonius T. goes no farther than suggesting that "it was said" Caius (aka Caligula) even planned to award Incitatus a consulship in the cp LV of his biography, from almost a century later.

 

Writing after an additional century, L. Cassius Dio told us more or less the same on his Romanika Historia (Liber LXIX, cp XIV); both authors presumably quoted from a common source (maybe Cluvius Rufus).

 

And of course, Incitatus never appeared on any consular fasti.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think we'd be giving him counselling in this enlightened age ;)

 

His father had been poisoned (at least his mother believed that), his uncle was killed, his mother was killed, his elder brothers killed (one reduced by hunger at eating the straws of his prison bed). He lived as a teen with a ferocious tutor that could have killed him any time. And then, bang, at 18 he is the absolute master of everything under the sky. I recommend medication. Lots of medication!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And then, bang, at 18 he is the absolute master of everything under the sky. I recommend medication. Lots of medication!

 

Gaius was 25 when he became emperor. (Born 12 AD)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And then, bang, at 18 he is the absolute master of everything under the sky. I recommend medication. Lots of medication!

 

Gaius was 25 when he became emperor. (Born 12 AD)

 

True. Sorry!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have read the Caligula appointed his horse to senator and build a palace to him, therafter he was probaly mad. Because his bad reigm the preatorians killed him and appointed his uncle who was hiding behind the curtain in the same room.

 

Actually choosing his horse for consul (If this even ever did happen, I guess my theory would nothing but be silly if it's only a myth) is not even closely as mad as it may seem - It's merely a way to point out how worthless the consular position was by this time compared to the power of the princeps.

 

On the question of literature, I actually thing you would find your best evidence in Suetonius working your way back from what seems to be reasonable and what seems to be rumours. The topic sounds very interesting by the way!

A Urban Myth indeed.

 

Our main gossipy source, C. Suetonius T. goes no farther than suggesting that "it was said" Caius (aka Caligula) even planned to award Incitatus a consulship in the cp LV of his biography, from almost a century later.

 

Writing after an additional century, L. Cassius Dio told us more or less the same on his Romanika Historia (Liber LXIX, cp XIV); both authors presumably quoted from a common source (maybe Cluvius Rufus).

 

And of course, Incitatus never appeared on any consular fasti.

 

I'm not convinced that it's just a myth, in my opinion might it be a political move by a very arrogant young man. It was possible in the imperial times for the princeps (I reckon) to appoint consuls as he wished and it was sometimes a honour granted for a very short timespan if say a consul had died earlier during the year. This would not be noted in the fastii consularii.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth here, I tend to support Klingan's theory on this one. If memory serves me correctly, Balsdon also favours this approach. Something along the lines of 'You senators are all so bloody feeble and useless, that I might as well make my horse a consul...' It illustrates just how contemptuous he was of the Senate and was not afraid to tell the Fathers what he thought of them.

 

This would be fully within character for the Emperor as we know him. I doubt that he ever truly brought Incitatus into the Senate. I think this is a case of a reported quip being embellished. On the other hand, he may well have staged such a display as a deliberate humiliation. Either way, I doubt the glorious Incitatus was ever truly enrolled among the Consuls :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And then, bang, at 18 he is the absolute master of everything under the sky. I recommend medication. Lots of medication!

 

Gaius was 25 when he became emperor. (Born 12 AD)

 

True. Sorry!

Even so, with my mental health nurse's head on, I would be hesitant to advise making a head of state of someone with such a dysfunctional upbringing. Looking back, I was only slightly less vulnerable and foolhardy at 25 than I was at 18!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And then, bang, at 18 he is the absolute master of everything under the sky. I recommend medication. Lots of medication!

 

Gaius was 25 when he became emperor. (Born 12 AD)

 

True. Sorry!

Even so, with my mental health nurse's head on, I would be hesitant to advise making a head of state of someone with such a dysfunctional upbringing. Looking back, I was only slightly less vulnerable and foolhardy at 25 than I was at 18!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read that Caligula was fine before he got sick, then he was insane.

 

A question if I may, was he a blond?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Map of the Roman Empire

×