CALIGULA: THE ABUSE OF POWER

Classics for All Reviews

by Anthony A. Barrett

Routledge (2015) h/b 384pp £105 (ISBN 9780415658447)

This book forms part of the Routledge series ‘Roman Imperial Biographies’. It is a second edition, published with a slightly revised subtitle: Abuse of Power (rather than Corruption of Power). The text has been revised by its author and the new edition takes into account scholarship published since the first edition appeared in 1989. The structure is largely unchanged. Essentially it is chronological, with a focus mainly on the succession from Tiberius and the years of Caligula’s short reign as Roman emperor (AD 37-41).

The book is aimed at the professional scholar as well as the intelligent general reader. On this spectrum, I would say that the book is positioned more towards the scholarly end. It seems that the author might not himself have chosen the biographical format, which ‘imposes undeniable limitations on the serious study of any…

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