Caligula: The Corruption of Power - Anthony A. Barrett finally got to this one, and although I am finding Caligula's life interesting, the book itself is quite dry and reads like a textbook. Being a novice in the history of the Roman Empire, I was lost much of the time reading this book. All of the players had 3 or more names, but the one they went by had nothing to do with their actual name, or was the one that 10 other people were also using at the time. For example, Caligula was actually just a nickname that he received when he was small and traveling to army camps with his father. The names themselves were interesting as several of them could be pronounced in such a way to make humorous English translations. In addition, there was a lot of wife and child swapping going on in Rome! I was finding it really hard to keep track of who belonged with/to whom. Add that to the fact that names were repeated without the Roman numerals to tell them apart...WOW. On top of all of the rest, the "family trees" included in the book were confusing, including incomplete names, strange lines of descent (some actual, some not) and omitted characters that the author in fact referred to in his narrative. Although I found the actual narrative interesting, I got lost in all of the above, and it made it hard for me to follow what was going on and who was involved. I am torn between giving this book a two or a three, and would only recommend it to someone who is well versed in Roman history already.


A couple of impressions, though:

The Tudors have nothing on the Romans as far as intrigue goes. Talk about plots and subplots, murder, backstabbing. They had it all, yet the author made it sound boring.

i didn't realize that Germany got it's name from Caligula's father, Germanicus.

The author makes a big deal out of how people refer to most Romans by their Latin name, and yet refer to Marcus Antonius and Marc Antony, yet he does the same. It's as if he thinks that we are two stupid to make the connection.

I will have to read something else about Caligula if I really want to gain info on him.