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Lesley Dean-Jones, Chair 2210 Speedway, Mail Code C3400, Austin, TX 78712-1738 • 512-471-5742

Spring 2008

AHC 378 • Emperor Gaius (Caligula)-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32545 MWF
1:00 PM-2:00 PM
WAG 112

Course Description

Although Caligula ruled Rome for less than four years (March 37 through January 41), his reign is one of the most controversial in all Roman history. The problem, however, is not whether he was mad, despite Hollywood's devotion to that interpretation of his reign. Whatever else responsible modern scholars agree or disagree about, they are at one in recognizing that there is no foundation for all the various assertions to the effect that Caligula was crazy. So the issues that need study are (1) what he did and why he did it, before and/or after he became emperor, (2) what effects this had on his subjects at the time, (3) why the ancient sources, for all the contradictions within and between their accounts, tell their stories in so distorted a manner, and (4) what this tells us about Roman ideas of how emperors should or should not behave. Ultimately, therefore, the focus is on actions and reactions, reality and perceptions, or-to use modern jargon-cognitive dissonance in history and historiography. Students will be required to submit two short and one long research paper. The two short reports, each 4-5 pages long, will be turned in at the end of the fifth and tenth weeks of the semester. The first will deal with the ancient sources for the reign, the second with an episode-political, military, economic, social, artistic-architectural, or religious-before or during the course of the reign. The large research paper (15-17 pages) will form the basis for an oral presentation during the last four weeks of the semester and will be turned in (in final form) at the end of the semester. This will be devoted to a major topic of the students' own choosing, albeit in consultation with the instructor. Grading will be broken down as follows: 15% classroom participation and oral presentation, 35% for the two short papers together, and 50% for the final paper.


Suetonius, Twelve Caesars. translated by Robert Graves (Penguin) Josephus. Jewish Antiquities, Books 18-20 (vol. 9 in the 'Loeb Classical Library') Cassius Dio, Roman History, Books 56-60 (vol. 7 in the 'Loeb Classical Library')


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