Caligulan Censorship? Not quite …

Whenever some library hosts a thing about censorship and the like, invariably something from ancient times comes up … here’s the latest example of same, such as it is:

AD 35: Roman Emperor Caligula opposed the reading of The Odyssey by Homer, written more than 300 years before. He thought the epic poem was dangerous because it expressed the Greek ideas of freedom.

via Vernon Morning Star – A history of censorship.

Even if we ignore the apparent problem with the date of Homer, we should point out that this is a bit of an exaggeration of what Suetonius (Gaius, 34 via the Latin Library)  says about the matter, to wit:

Cogitavit etiam de Homeri carminibus abolendis, cur enim sibi non licere dicens, quod Platoni licuisset, qui eum e civitate quam constituebat eiecerit?

Sounds like Caligulan humour rather than anything approaching censorship and, of course, there ain’t a thing about “ideals of Greek freedom” (a phrase I’ve never heard associated with the Odyssey.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s