Caligula: The Abuse of Power, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover


The Abuse of Power, 2nd Edition

By Anthony A. Barrett


384 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415658447
pub: 2015-03-12
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315725413
pub: 2015-03-05
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The Roman Empire has always exercised a considerable fascination. Among its numerous colourful personalities, no emperor, with the possible exception of Nero, has attracted more popular attention than Caligula, who has a reputation, whether deserved or not, as the quintessential mad and dangerous ruler.

The first edition of this book established itself as the standard study of Caligula. It remains the only full length and detailed scholarly analysis in English of this emperor’s reign, and has been translated into a number of languages. But the study of Classical antiquity is not a static phenomenon, and scholars are engaged in a persistent quest to upgrade our knowledge and thinking about the ancient past. In the thirty years since publication of the original Caligula there have been considerable scholarly advances in what we know about this emperor specifically, and also about the general period in which he functioned, while newly discovered inscriptions and major archaeological projects have necessitated a rethinking of many of our earlier conclusions about early imperial history. This new edition constitutes a major revision and, in places, a major rewriting, of the original text. Maintaining the reader-friendly structure and organisation of its predecessor, it embodies the latest discoveries and the latest thinking, seeking to make more lucid and comprehensible those aspects of the reign that are particularly daunting to the non-specialist. Like the original, this revised Caligula is intended to satisfy the requirements of the scholarly community while appealing to a broad and general readership.


"Barrett first turned his attention to the emperor Gaius Caligula in 1990, with his Caligula: The Corruption of Power. Now, 25 years later, he has produced a thoroughly revised new edition, with the words 'Corruption of Power' emended to 'Abuse of Power.' The change is significant…This is a fine study, well researched and reliable in its conclusions. Summing Up: Highly recommended. " - J. A. S. Evans, emeritus, University of British Columbia, CHOICE Review

Table of Contents

1.Family Background 2. The Struggle for the Succession 3. Private Pursuits 4. The New Emperor 5. Signs of Strain 6. Conspiracy 7. North Africa 8. Britain and Germany 9. Divine Honours 10. Assassination 11. Aftermath 12. Caligula and the Jews 13. Caligula the Builder 14. Fit to Rule? 15. Reception Appendices: a. Caligula’s Named Victims b. Coins, Inscriptions and Sculpture.

About the Author

Anthony A. Barrett is Professor Emeritus of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies, University of British Columbia, and Gastprofessor, University of Heidelberg.

About the Series

Roman Imperial Biographies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General