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Caligula (Lancaster Pamphlets in Ancient History) Paperback – 2 Dec 2004

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; New Ed edition (2 Dec. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415341213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415341219
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 0.7 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,208,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Well, where do i begin. Pure genius. I purchased this book a few weeks ago and was surprised when i was not confronted by the densely lifeless trawl through the vast expanses of Ancient Rome that have come to typify such historical works. Wilkinson ingeniously takes us into the nooks and crannies of Rome's cracked and triumphant architecture, sweeping aside the cobwebs and wiping away the depraved residue that has for so long occluded our studies. His treatment of the emperor Gaius is both subtle and astounding and he approaches the morbidly fascinating elements of Gaius's controversial statesmanship with a particularly refreshing gaze. Not only is this book essential to anyone studying the topic but with its dealing of widespread executions, horses being made consul, lunacy, depraved sexual practices and hints of incest, I defy any one to read this book without feeling that they have just been taken on a tour of the REAL Ancient Rome. Wilkinson reveals the underbelly of a Rome where the tattered and frayed history books of our day, those books by which we commit so much, dare not venture.
Wilkinson tackles the world of academia head on as he combines delicate historical detail with high art rigour. He writes with zeal and candour, artfully lulling us into his grasp before bringing us face to face with the quirks and whims of this controversial emperor. Wilkinson is a surprise package, much like Leeds United in their infamous champions league campaign; an author who i will indeed be looking out for in the future as I plant a joyful kiss goodbye on the dusty, faded, grey covers of those cumbersome historical journals that populate our decaying libraries.
I bought it.
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Format: Paperback
I have read everything on Caligula from Balsden to Barrett to Ferrill as well as all the extant historical works (still hoping the lost chapters of Tacitus will turn up somewhere...), and I found this to be a worthwhile addition to the genre.

While I can perhaps agree with the basic premise of the work - that Caligula was influenced by his early experiences in the east and did not approach his rulership in a manner in keeping with Roman traditions, I found that the author tends to use this to explain every action by the later emperor, which while I can appreciate that is his theory, seems a little too simplistic to me.

Caligula was only in the East from 16-19AD (when he would have been aged 4-7) which hardly seem like enough time to me to develop lifelong approaches to power based on the myriad of cultures he would have experienced over the period.

Finally there are some typos and factual problems that should have been picked up in editing (for example the author mentions Caligula spending several years in Egypt when in fact his father Germanicus visited there once a sight-seeing trip in 18AD and died the next year - hardly enough time for a young boy to decide that the Ptolemies got it right and screwing your sisters was the right way for monarchs to behave).
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By A Customer on 7 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
Finally a realistic portrayal of the emperor Caligula. He acted like his contemporaries and used the power he had, which was total. Forget the myth; here is an accurate account of the man. He was not mad; he knew exactly what he was doing. Wilkinson's opinion on the Jewish question is the most sensible I have come across. A concise and precise account.
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