The Reign of Caligula


How do those writing about Caligula view him? One who asks this question may get the answer that Caligula was a very dark, insane being who reigned for far too long. One might also go into detail on how he would kill in torturous ways because it was fun, or the idea that Caligula was setting up the empire to have a line of insane rulers. After encountering both of these statements, I decided to see for myself if they were true.

I am interested in learning this about Caligula due to a First Year Experience course on Empires. Although Caligula’s status as an anomaly warrants his inclusion in general histories, I still found his reign as emperor to be very interesting.

Caligula’s real name was Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus. The soldiers he would talk to had nicknamed him Caligula, which means little boots. Towards the beginning of his reign Caligula’s appearance had shifted due to illness. “Caligula was very tall, with spindly legs and a thin neck. His eyes and temples were sunken and his forehead broad and glowering. His hair was thin and he was bald on top, though he had a hairy body.” A documentary devoted to Caligula states that he started to show signs of mental illness at this point.

In the process of exploring Caligula in a mental state, I wanted to ultimately find out why most books on the Roman Empire do not mention Caligula and the reasons behind it. I found that most biographers who wrote about Caligula do not go into detail on how he reigned and that those who made documentaries cover every little detail. Both historians, however, do believe that Caligula was one of the most important. Franco Cavazzi states “Caligula drew the imperial signet ring from his finger and was greeted as emperor by the crowd,” some argue in the documentary that Caligula should not have been seen as emperor. Although Caligula was not supposed to be empire, he was said to be by the senate in Rome.

Dr. Barbara Levick agrees that he was the perfect house guest when he was brought to Capri, but only because he knew he was with the man who killed the rest of his family and had to be content to hide his emotions. She goes on to explain how dysfunctional the family is, details that Kelly does not chronicle in his book The Roman Empire: A Very Short Introduction. Detail on his family is left out of the biography by Franco Cavazzi as well. Dr. Levick would argue that Caligula is a valuable piece of the history that is behind the rise and downfall of the Roman Empire.

Franco Cavazzi agrees that Caligula does make up an important part in history, but argues that it was not quite four years that he was Empire. Most of the historians speaking in the documentary would argue this because Caligula’s reign was one of the worst in history due to his killing for fun. The historians believe that the little details about Caligula’s reign is why he does not appear in general books about the Empire. They agree that Caligula was by far too insane and disgusting to be limited to a brief reference in a general book and needs to be elaborated on. Cavazzi states “rumors of disloyalty began to reach an ever more deranged emperor,” most of the historians on the documentary do back this by explaining how he lied to get three people out of his way by having them commit suicide. This information can make some realize why Kelly did not speak of Caligula in his short introduction. Based on what the documentary has stated and the words of Cavazzi, Caligula would need a whole chapter just to himself. Kelly covers the empire who reigned before Caligula. This empire is the main reason Caligula decided to reign the way he did. Caligula was said to intervene during gladiator shows and according to Kelly the shows were “a way of life for Romans” (79).  Caligula was said to have committed many crimes during his reign but they were only okay for him to commit. Others who committed a crime during his reign were tortured for days until their death. Family members in some cases were even forced to watch. If such details were added to general books about the Roman Empire, they might be deemed as an improper idle in schools. The History of the Roman Empire would be shorter if we completely wiped out the existence of Caligula and those who followed after his reign. Most historians say that Caligula led there to be more empires that thought they should rule like he did during those almost four years.

Caligula is not mentioned in general books on the Roman Empire because of the nature of his reign. Most biographers and historians find his ways to be dark, insane, and very cruel to any who crossed his path. Caligula found the way he ruled as something fun to do with his life. Although he was arrested and sentenced to death, it did not deter others from following in his foot-steps. Some even say it was like a competition to see who could rule in more cruel way then Caligula did. The way he killed for fun, help gladiators cheat in the games, and even force some people to commit a crime for the thrill of killing them as a consequence he was said to be the worst way an emperor had ruled the Romans. The Roman Empire lasted for years after this due to short reigns by those who thought they should be like the Great Roman Emperor Caligula. Eventfully, the reigns seemed to have changed, but all Emperors kept in mind what Caligula’s legacy lives in the statues created in his favor, in the emperors who reigned like him, and in certain ways that people were murdered.



Works Cited

Cavazzi, Franco. Caligula. http://www.roman-empire.net. Web. 17 Feb 2014

Documentaryaddicts.The Most Evil Men and Women in History. http://www.documentaryaddicts.com. Web. 16 Feb 2014

Kelly,Christopher. The Roman Empire: A Very Short Introduction. New York. Oxford. 2006. Print.


Gender Roles from toys to modern day

Character Guide


Janet Gonzalez-Mena: A Spanish author and teacher whose career began in California, working in the California University and Community College system for 35 years. At the beginning of her career she was a preschool volunteer teacher where she later on started the program Head Start, a program to help Spanish-speaking children and their families.

Gonzalez-Mena was also the co-author of he book Bridging Cultures in ECE (2002)


Abby Kaplan is a contributor to the newspaper at the school of Westtown. This is the first article she been assigned with and is currently working on another very opinionated paper in which she backs up with her facts from research. Kaplan has many opinions towards the gender roles of women and how they are changing the modern woman.


Debra Merskin: An University of Oregon professor who is also a researcher on how the media see’s women and minorities. The article she and Carrie Packwood Freeman wrote was first seen in “Food for Thought: Essays on Eating and Culture” (2008).


David B. Ryan has been a profession writer for many years. His work includes various books, articles for “The Plain Dealer” in Cleveland and essays for Oxford University Press. Ryan holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Indiana University and certifications in emergency management and health disaster response.





Abby Kaplan (Alexis): Do you know what bothers me? The stereotype that women are weaker and more emotional than men- and because many believe this to be true, women are expected to do jobs that are less difficult.


Debra Merskin (Chase): Men are stronger and tougher than women, we find danger exciting and have propensity toward violence.


David B. Ryan (Kate): I was reading in the paper the other day how many people believe it to be true that toys influence gender roles.  That feminine-typed toys display nurturing traits, and masculine toys show high levels of activity and mobility.


Janet Gonzalez-Mena (Thomas): I don’t believe that to be true at all, “why does it matter if boys never play house or girls never play blocks? It doesn’t, if in other areas of their lives they are getting the skills they miss out on by avoiding these two activities.”


AK (Alexis): I disagree I believe it is important according to the stat that in 2007, the average women earned 78 cents to every dollar earned by a man in the same position. That can add up to anywhere from $700,000 to $2 million dollars less over the course of a women’s career.


JGM (Thomas): I do agree that boys and girls interacting in play at a young age encourages dramatic play that gives boys a chance to be nurtures, to experience domestic relations, to feel comfortable trying on a variety of emotions.


DBR (Kate): I have also read that children using feminine-typed toys display nurturing traits and used toys in role play. Kids using masculine-typed toys show high levels of activity and mobility.


DM (Chase): Boys playing with blocks can create a macho personality constellation in males.


AK (Alexis): Women playing so called house can lead to an image of hysterical, unreasonable woman, the opposite of what anybody would want in a leader.


JGM (Thomas): Sometimes the adults in the program subtly encourage this kind of gender differentiation.


AK (Alexis): Studies show that women are also expected to work in different areas than men. Most women are concentrated in social work, childcare, and health aide type jobs.


CF (Chase): Men are also seen to society sometimes and dominate heterosexual characters as in fast-food commercials males are seen with a desire to consume animal meat and symbolically consume “flesh” of sexualized and objectified women.


AK (Alexis): These jobs generally pay less than so called “masculine” jobs such as work in math and sciences. Some might argue that this is a matter of choice, but part of it is also society’s influence. Even as young children, girls are steered away from “male” subjects. In many families, male education is also valued more than female education.


JGM (Thomas): In many Schools you can check out the block area this is where you find the boys. The way the environment is set up. The girls are in the “housekeeping” corner playing with clothes, shoes, and purses that most boys won’t be attracted to. Making the environment where the boys are in the “dominate” block building area simulating as if they are doing labor work and the girls in the less dominate “housekeeping” area doing activities such as cleaning and playing in the kitchen.


DBR (Kate): The message for girls centered appearance, including toy jewelry, costumes and play makeup. “Female signals focused on domestic skills” toys marketed for boys, including guns and soldiers, focused on fighting and aggression. Other male messages included competition, excitement, and an element of danger.


CPF (Chase): Looking at Americas past culture especially in media such as movies and shows, Cowboys tamed the “wild west” and all its inhabits reducing millions of acres of vast cattle grazing area, forever associating red meat with this supposedly brave and tough category of American men therefore supporting men are seen in society as the dominate gender.


AK (Alexis): A recent study showed that when looking at two identical resumes, one female name and one with a male name, both male and female employers gave the female one a lower score. The message is clear that men are still considered superior to women.


DM (Chase): This can lead back to that the “macho personality constellation” is comprised of three behavioral depositions: entitlement to callous sex, propensity toward violence, and danger as exciting. Are all features that lead society to see males and the dominate gender.


AK (Alexis): The most extreme actions of male dominance can be seen in countries other than the United States. In some countries if there is only enough money to send one child to school the child will most likely be male. This goes as far as some women will have an abortion if they find out that their baby is female.



Works Cited

Freeman Packwood, Carrie and Debra Merskin. “ Having It His Way: The Construction of Masculinity in Fast-Food TV Advertising.” “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russell  Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 454-480. Print.


Gonzalez-Mena, Janet. “Gender Roles and Toys.” Education.com. Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall, 8 Dec. 2010. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.


Kaplan, Abby. “Traditional Gender Roles’ Devastating Effect on the Modern Woman.” The Brown and White. 15 Feb 2012. http://www.thebrownandwhite.org/opinions/2012/02/15/traditional-gender-roles-devastating-effect-on-the-modern-woman/. Web. 25 Mar 2014


Ryan, David B. “What Messages About Gender Roles Can Be Associated With Toys”. http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/messages-gender-roles-can-associated-toys-35738.html, 16 Feb. 2014

 link: http://sadieamanda.wordpress.com/





The Roman Emperor Caligula: An Annotated Bibliography

Alexis Monthony

ENG 131.02

Professor Lucas

26th February 2014

The Roman Emperor Caligula: An Annotated Bibliography


            For the First Year Experiences course about empires, students are required to read material on a few representative empires. One of the materials for this class is on the Roman Empire, but it only covered a specific amount of the emperors. One of the most documented Roman emperors, Caligula, was not includes. I am studying this informally due to this class. I am interested in all empires, but specificly I am interested in Caligula.

The bibliography that follows includes the material from the class, and two additional sources: the doucumentary The Most Evil Men and Women in History, showing how disturbing the reign of Caligula was to the empire, and a biography describing the life of Caligula until his down fall of being an emperor.

For me, as I continue to read more on the Roman Emperor, I realize how important Caligula is to the people of Rome’s history. The more I research Caligula, the more I am shocked the people in this empire allowed him to rule for four years. From all of these materials, I have learned why Caligula is the most documented emperor from the Roman Empire. Also, I learned that he was unlike the other emperors

Kelly,Christopher. The Roman Empire: A Very Short Introduction. New York. Oxford. 2006. Print

Christopher Kelly’s The Roman Empire: A Very Short Introduction covers the Empire from its rise to its fall. This introduction only discusses a few emperors and how they ruled the empire during their time. One emperor that this does not mention is Caligula, but it does address the reign of his cousins Julius and Augustus Caesar. Kelly includes why the individual emperors he mentions ended his rein and what happened to the empire during the time period. Kelly also explains why the gladiator shows were “a way of life for Romans(pg79).”

Christopher Kelly, classist and historian who specializes in the Roman Empire, is a lecturer and tutor at Corpus Christi College. He has wrote numerous books since 2000.


Documentaryaddicts.The Most Evil Men and Women in History. www.documentaryaddicts.com. Web. 16 Feb 2014

This documentary depicts how disturbing and evile Caligula was to the people of his empire. It addresses all four years of his reign and shows all the insane parts of his life. The documentary goes into further detail on how Caligula lived and was later murdered to end his reign.

Documentary addicts have posted many documentaries in various categories. The people who post to this are unknown, but most of the documentaries are identical to the ones that are shown and the history channel website.

Cavazzi, Franco. Caligula. www.roman-empire.net. Web. 17 Feb 2014

The Biography describes Caligula’s life from the time he was born to his death. It covers the people who were in his family and the relationships that they had. After Caligula, his cousins Julius and Augustus became emperors, but throughout their lives they always disagreed with Caligula’s way.

Franco Cavazzi has wrote every entry on this website. From researching a little on Cavazzi, I have found that he has a history degree specializing in the Roman Empire. Franco Cavazzi has many sites where he describes things about the Roman Empire.

LINK: http://documentaryaddict.com/The+Most+Evil+Men+and+Women+in+History+Caligula-7222-documentary.html