Caligula: A Biography

Front Cover
University of California Press, Sep 1, 2011 - Political Science - 240 pages
8 Reviews
The infamous emperor Caligula ruled Rome from A.D. 37 to 41 as a tyrant who ultimately became a monster. An exceptionally smart and cruelly witty man, Caligula made his contemporaries worship him as a god. He drank pearls dissolved in vinegar and ate food covered in gold leaf. He forced men and women of high rank to have sex with him, turned part of his palace into a brothel, and committed incest with his sisters. He wanted to make his horse a consul. Torture and executions were the order of the day. Both modern and ancient interpretations have concluded from this alleged evidence that Caligula was insane. But was he?

This biography tells a different story of the well-known emperor. In a deft account written for a general audience, Aloys Winterling opens a new perspective on the man and his times. Basing Caligula on a thorough new assessment of the ancient sources, he sets the emperor's story into the context of the political system and the changing relations between the senate and the emperor during Caligula's time and finds a new rationality explaining his notorious brutality.
  

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Review: Caligula: A Biography

User Review  - Lydia - Goodreads

I don't read much nonfiction but I was intrigued by a review of this book and gave it a try. The author is clearly countering the prevailing wisdom that Caligula was crackers. In so doing he explains ... Read full review

Review: Caligula: A Biography

User Review  - Andrew Patrick - Goodreads

Good-bye, crazed frat-boy. Hello, super-villain. Winterling makes a solid argument that everything Caligula did (as opposed to what he was accused of doing a century after the fact) was a brutal ... Read full review

Contents

A Mad Emperor?
1
1 Childhood and Youth
9
2 Two Years as Princeps
52
3 The Conflicts Escalate
90
4 Five Months of Monarchy
132
5 Murder on the Palatine
172
Inventing the Mad Emperor
187
Epilogue to the English Edition
195
Notes
197
Bibliography
215
Index
219
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Aloys Winterling holds a chair for Ancient History at Humboldt-University Berlin. He is the author of Aula Caesaris and Politics and Society in Imperial Rome, among other books.

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