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This little volume is well-written, clear, and concise. It is easy to read and holds your attention well. But, unlike the "I Claudius" type of biography, this one analyzes each important element of the Caligula "legend" to see if these elements --so often assumed to be true-- can really hold up in the face of objective logic. The traditional image of the madman dancing around the palace just doesn't seem to make real sense. Okay, so that's refreshing and welcome. However, the guy was killed after only 4 years of rule for some reason. The author makes him a martyr, a modernizing visionary whose very excellence and efficiency made the old-guard factionalists kill him! Well let's see.....he was a spoiled army brat whose father died under suspicious circumstances when the kid was only 4 years old....he was paraded through Rome by his vengeful mother and lived under the care of women whose other charges died off at alarmingly young ages....he was taken into "protective" custody by his morbidly reclusive and paranoid uncle after one of his brothers was executed on the evidence provided by his other brother...and then was given preference to the imperial dignity when he had no experience of military command or political administration.........WOULDN'T this succession of debilitating incidents perpetrated on Gaius at every turn of his mental and emotional development leave SOME mark on his character????????????? The author's arguments are likely correct, but not sufficient. The typical "lunatic on the loose" image simply cannot be believed, but the ardent visionary, victim of the Old Senate, is just as unbelievable.
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