Caligula by Suetonius

Monday 26 June 2017

'Because of his baldness and hairiness, he announced it was a capital offence for anyone either to look down on him as he passed or to mention goats in any context.'

The biography of the brutal, crazed and incestuous Roman Emperor Caligula, who tried to appoint his own horse consul.

Caligula was not a nice man - on that I think we can all agree, even if we have only the faintest knowledge of his reign. This little black classic, however, offers a deeper insight into one of Rome's worst emperors and we learn that things didn't start off all bad...

Yes, he was still a vicious person who was out for himself, but the people seemed to idolise him and rejoice in him coming to power. It was only after he had the power that his true nature appeared - but maybe it was this that first drove him to gain power.

The translation is quite simple to read and understand, and the whole thing reads more like a story than a history. Great, if you're just getting into classics, but perhaps not so if you want something in depth, challenging, and more scholarly. While the writing itself is easy to follow, it is a little tricky to keep up with who's who unless you have previous knowledge of Roman history, or are just able to distinguish large casts of characters who all seem to have the same name.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting read, if a little hard to get into.


  1. Oooh I might have to pick this up at some point (if I ever order from Amazon and *actually* remember). I don't mind things being a tad hard to get into if it's just a small book like this :)

    1. I agree - if it had been a full length book I definitely wouldn't have got on with it! But it's an interesting little snippet, especially if (like me) you don't know too much about Roman emperors.


Got a thought or an opinion? I'd love to hear it.

design by amanda inez