An Unexpected General, Caligula

The Roman Empire produced a series of extraordinary Emperors who were remembered for their excesses. One of most extraordinary was Caligula, who is remembered for his depraved and debauched behaviour, but the author looks at his military experience – Highly Recommended

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NAME: An Unexpected General, Caligula
FILE: R2745
AUTHOR: Lee Fratantuono
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword 
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES: 262
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Rome, Roman Empire, Emperor, general, Gaul Rhine, Germania, 
campaigns, military life

ISBN: 1-52671-120-6

IMAGE: B2745.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y8agmej2
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:  The Roman Empire produced a series of extraordinary 
Emperors who were remembered for their excesses.  One of most extraordinary 
was Caligula, who is remembered for his depraved and debauched behaviour, but 
the author looks at his military experience -  Highly Recommended

The Romans as a whole followed a life that today we might consider depraved but for them was normal 
behaviour. Even by those standards Caligula stood out and so much space has been devoted to this aspect 
of his life. Whether he was mad or bad may be debated. Considering the superstitious beliefs of the time 
some of his most extreme actions may not have been clinically mad. However, his behaviour has 
fascinated historians and the result is that virtually no attention has been turned to his military career, or 
to the military aspects of his short reign.

The author has provided an engrossing study of Caligula the soldier, the general. In doing this he has 
shown Caligula to be significantly more competent than history has previously suggested. The Emperors 
were taken from a relatively small number of aristocratic families and that family background was very 
colourful and extreme by modern standards. It is very easy to think of the Empire as providing Emperors 
by family origins but in almost every case they were soldiers first and many were highly competent 
generals. Caligula's background was no different.

Like many Romans of his social background, he was born into military life and was raised in marching 
camps, a child of the Legions. It might be considered the military college of Rome and the development 
into manhood was also a development into the warrior. Those who did not make the grade did not survive 
long. Those who survived moved up the ranks of the Legions to command. Good generals survived and 
provided a pool of talent from which to create new Emperors. Some generals tried very hard to avoid 
becoming an Emperor because the life could be short and demanding.

Caligula survived and rose to the top. That demanded a level of competence in the military. He forged his
 experience in Gaul and on the Rhine but also in the East and planned invasion of Britain, although it was 
to be his uncle and successor Claudius who executed the plans. Claudius was also remembered most for
his reputation as a fool, when in fact he was a shrewd survivor and successful military commander in 
addition to being something of a scholar and guardian of the family skeletons.

This is a book primarily of text, readable and based on original research. It sheds much new light on a 
controversial Emperor with fresh and original insights. There is a colour plate section providing modern 
images of locations related to the study of Caligula. A very interesting read.