By Anthony A. Barrett
Of all Roman emperors none, with the potential exception of Nero, surpasses Caligula's popularity for infamy. yet used to be Caligula fairly the mad despot and wicked monster of well known legend or the sufferer of adverse historic historians? during this research of Caligula's existence, reign and violent demise, Anthony A. Barrett attracts at the archaeological and numismatic proof to complement the later written checklist. In Professor Barrett's view, the secret of Caligula's reign isn't really why he descended into autocracy, yet how any clever Roman may have anticipated a special end result - to furnish overall strength to an green and smug younger guy was once a recipe for catastrophe. This publication, scholarly and obtainable, bargains a cautious reconstruction of Caligula's existence and instances, and a wise evaluation of his historic significance.
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Additional resources for Caligula. The corruption of power
10 Suetonius admits that there is conflicting testimony on the question, and lists the suggestions. 11 Suetonius is not impressed. He dismisses Gaetulicus as a flattering liar, then goes on to refute Pliny’s evidence. An inscription seen 6 FAMILY BACKGROUND at Ambitarvium referring to Agrippina’s delivery, and taken by Pliny to refer to Caligula’s birth, could refer to the birth of one of Agrippina’s daughters. Unspecified historians of Augustus, Suetonius says, were in agreement that Germanicus did not return to Germany until the close of his consulship (when Caligula was already born).
Tacitus claims that it was Sejanus who urged the idea of leaving on Tiberius. The departure certainly suited the Prefect well, since he would now be able to launch a more open attack on Agrippina and her family. His first target was Caligula’s brother 20 THE STRUGGLE FOR THE SUCCESSION Nero, who would be next in line for the succession, as Sejanus would have been reminded when the young man received the quaestorship in 5 December of that year. Although generally modest and reasonable, Nero had a habit of speaking his mind rather bluntly, and the example set by his mother would not have helped.
Tiberius, in character, sought to keep the tragedy in perspective and issued a declaration that many illustrious Romans had died for their country, though none had been so deeply mourned. He reminded the people of the other losses that the Imperial family had suffered over the years, observing that men were mortal, only the state was immortal. Tiberius’ observations may have been well founded, but they were not likely to win him friends. Nor did the subsequent trial and suicide of Piso change feelings.