CALIGULA: An Unexpected GeneralLEE FRATANTUONO Book Number: 88150 Product format: Hardback
Gaius Caligula ruled the Rome for just four years from 37-41CE but his actions during this period have made his name synonymous with cruelty, depravity, bloodshed and madness. Given these legendary excesses it is unsurprising that much has been written about his personal and court life, to the extent that his achievements in military and foreign policy have been largely overlooked. Young Gaius was raised as a military man. Roman soldiers wore a half boot called a caliga - Caligula is the diminutive of this, hence "Little Boot", the nickname his mother Agrippina bestowed upon him, dressing him up in a miniature army outfit so that he became the virtual mascot of the troops his father Germanicus commanded. In truth, Caligula was a surprisingly competent general, given the relentless onslaught of madness and chaos that was part of his day-to-day life. Under his leadership the Empire consolidated Tiberius? gains in northern Europe and his expeditions into Gaul provided the groundwork for the successful invasions of Gaul and Britain by his uncle and successor, Claudius. Lee Fratantuono offers a new appraisal of this notorious emperor from a military point of view, arguing that his achievements helped to secure Roman military power in Europe for a generation. He also investigates the reasons for his behaviour - his difficult formative years, the expectations of living up to his illustrious forebears, his youth (24 years old) when being handed absolute power and an intelligence which enabled him to recognise the hypocrisy of the Senate and the impossibly contradictory nature of a Republic of which he was "first citizen" - king by any other name. Employing the accounts of Suetonius, Dio Cassius, Tacitus, Josephus, Philo, Seneca the Younger and Pliny the Elder, plus numerous "fragmentary" Roman historians, this is the first biography of Caligula to look beyond the bloodlust and depravity at his successes in battle. 262pp with 8 pages of colour plates.
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