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Caligula (Hardback)

An Unexpected General

Ancient History Military Biography Military History

By Lee Fratantuono
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 262
ISBN: 9781526711205
Published: 30th May 2018



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Gaius Caligula reigned for four short years from 37 to 41 CE before his infamous tenure came to a violent end. While much has been written about Caligula’s notorious excesses and court life, relatively little of his military and foreign policy has been seriously studied.

This is a military history of Rome during Caligula’s reign. Caligula had been raised in a military camp (his nickname, Caligula, means ‘Little Boot’. His years as emperor came in the wake of the great consolidation of Tiberius’ gains in Germany and Pannonia, and in large part made possible the invasions of Gaul and Britain that were undertaken by his uncle and successor, Claudius. His expeditions in Gaul were part of a programme of imitation of his storied predecessor, and crowning completion of what had been left undone in the relatively conservative military policy years of Augustus and Tiberius.

Caligula: An Unexpected General offers a new appraisal of Caligula as a surprisingly competent military strategist, arguing that his achievements helped to secure Roman military power in Europe for a generation.

This isn’t a lightweight read, as you can probably imagine, but it is well worth the investment if you want to know about Caligula and especially if you want to explore something of the man other than his fabled excesses.

Ripperologist, June/July 2018 – reviewed by Paul Begg

About Lee Fratantuono

Dr Lee Fratantuono (Ph.D., Fordham) is Professor of Classics at Ohio Wesleyan University.  He is the author of several books and articles in Roman studies, most recently his co-authored Virgil, Aeneid 5 (Leiden: Brill, 2015).  He is a specialist in the history and literature of the late Republic, the Julio-Claudian period, and the third century AD, and has travelled extensively in the lands once under Roman domination.  He has a particular interest in the study and use of literary (especially poetic) texts as potential sources of evidence for military engagements.

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