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Former good articleCaligula was one of the History good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
On this day... Article milestones
August 3, 2007Good article nomineeListed
March 4, 2008Good article reassessmentKept
June 17, 2023Good article reassessmentDelisted
On this day... Facts from this article were featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "On this day..." column on January 24, 2005, January 24, 2008, January 24, 2009, January 24, 2010, January 24, 2011, January 24, 2013, January 24, 2014, January 24, 2015, January 24, 2017, January 24, 2019, January 24, 2022, and January 24, 2023.
Current status: Delisted good article

Graves novel[edit]

Does anyone have access to the NYT archives? This 1934 article might provide the cite we seek. Pinkbeast (talk) 15:26, 6 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]

@Pinkbeast: You're in luck: ProQuest at WP:Library has old scans of NYT stories. In a day or two, I'll be on the case and once I locate it, I'll cite it for you. (H/T WP:GAR#Articles needing possible reassessment.) --Slgrandson (How's my egg-throwing coleslaw?) 18:37, 28 May 2023 (UTC)[reply]


I'm not looking to get into the "AD" versus "CE" controversy, but there are two potential issues with the way the years are referenced in this article. First, does every single mention of a year have to have "AD" appended to it? Once it's established that we're in the early first century AD/CE, can't the numbers of the years just stand alone? Second, if every single mention of a year must have "AD" appended to it, shouldn't it be consistently before or after the year number? I'm not changing anything, but someone should. CasparRH (talk) 11:25, 28 March 2019 (UTC)[reply]

No. Things are fine as-is.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:43, 2 August 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Assassination infobox[edit]

An Assassination infobox has been added by a new or newly registered user. Opinions are invited on whether it should stay, go, or be further edited. Caligula is not particularly notable for the fact of his assassination. Questions hang over the circumstances, plotters and assassins themselves. So I'd rather remove it. Haploidavey (talk) 06:47, 23 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

I'm mixed to it. On one hand, I think it's notable enough as he was one of the first 5 Roman emperors as well as being one of the evilest emperors in Roman history, but on another hand, I agree that his assassination in itself wasn't very notable. I'm more leaning it to be removed, but I'd be fine if it'd stayed as well. Hellmann775 (talk) 14:52, 23 May 2022 (UTC)[reply]

GA Reassessment[edit]


The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Article (edit | visual edit | history) · Article talk (edit | history) · WatchWatch article reassessment page • GAN review not found
Result: Strong consensus to delist; a thorough rewrite is required. ~~ AirshipJungleman29 (talk) 12:18, 17 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]

This 2007 listing is disproportionately sourced to two millennia-old primary sources such as Suetonius, Philo, and Cassius Dio; this is not GA standard, especially considering the hostility of ancient sources to the emperor. Much of the article thus falls under 2b) of the GA criteria. ~~ AirshipJungleman29 (talk) 12:47, 11 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Agreed. This article should be delisted as it does not fulfil the GA standards. Unlimitedlead (talk) 00:23, 12 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed. Two full length modern biographies of Caligula are referenced a single time each; two more are listed in further reading. More recent still is Barrett & Yardley's The Emperor Caligula in the Ancient Sources. The fact that e.g. the section on historiography does not cite a single modern source analysing the historiography is a major concern; other sections could also do with much more secondary source support. There are also a couple of uncited claims which I would ask to be cited were this up for GA today. I'd also expect that the section on cultural depictions should be written in prose: WP:GACR#1b requires compliance with MOS:EMBED, which among other things suggests that Embedded lists should be used only when appropriate; sometimes the information in a list is better presented as prose. A prose discussion of how Caligula has been portrayed in art and literature would be much better than the current list. Caeciliusinhorto-public (talk) 11:17, 12 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Concur. Delist. A rewrite would be necessary based on high quality modern sources rather than the current paraphrase of the primary sources. Ifly6 (talk) 13:54, 12 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Yes. The current material is good as far as it goes (and on what it covers, does not need rewriting), but the gaps are far too broad to ignore. Still, it's a good place to begin a rebuild. Delist. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:15, 13 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
When I was editing this article some time ago, it seemed there were a number of cases where the timeline was broken, material was placed in the wrong place, and some elements duplicated. I wouldn't call the existing content good either. Ifly6 (talk) 16:29, 13 June 2023 (UTC)[reply]
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Kings and kingship[edit]

Pasting this here for now, as it doesn't directly relate to the section on divinity. It also suffers the same original research issues as almost all of the article. Not good, indeed.

Suetonius claims that Caligula ended a squabble over precedence among several client kings with the Homeric line:[1] "Let there be one lord, one king," referring to himself. [2] In Roman Republican tradition, kingship was anathema.

Haploidavey (talk) 11:42, 19 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I saw your edit summary, This article needs such a thorough rewriting it's hard to know where to go from here. I think perhaps the best place to go would in fact be a through rewrite. There fortunately exist quality modern sources (though not cited here except portions on his early life which I wrote based on CAH² 10). I would maintain parallel citations (eg in Julius Caesar Morstein-Marx 2021, p. 107, citing Suet. Iul., 16.) and it would of course take a rather large amount of time to read those sources, the literature review (I think the Julio-Claudian section of Potter's Roman history: imperial, 31 BCE to 284 CE is relevant), and then write up an article but it is feasible. Ifly6 (talk) 13:09, 19 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Re bibliography: CAH2 10 (1994); Barrett Caligula (2nd ed, 2015) (First ed cited but not really used); Seager Tiberius (2nd ed, 2005); and Winterling Caligula (2003; English trans 2011) seem of most value. I would avoid Fratantuono Caligula (2018) per the negative BMCR review (little more than survey [of the] main literary sources for the reign of Caligula... Anyone hoping for a standard biography of Caligula must look elsewhere). Ifly6 (talk) 14:05, 19 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]
What a welcome reply, Ifly6. Such a vast topic. I'm happy to put it aside until I've a better grasp of the problems - or any grasp at all. Is a standard biography possible? Desirable? Alas, I was raised on Robert Graves. Just imagine that. I can see why folks are wary of tackling this one. Such flimsy historiography, too many choices, too many perspectives. The closer one looks, the greater the unravelling. The closest I've come to such complexity is the so-called Imperial cult; with Elagabalus as a close second. Or the Magna Mater. So much reading to be done, and I'm not even sure I have the capacity. The Brynmawr review is a very useful appraisal, and at least it leaves one asking the right questions. Unfortunately I lost most of my electronic CAH, which would have at least given a framework. Let's wait and see what happens next. Haploidavey (talk) 16:46, 19 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I guess "standard biography" is beyond our remit. Haploidavey (talk) 16:49, 19 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]
The standard biography seems to be that of Barrett (cited alone in Potter's bibliography and OCD4), now in its second edition, with Winterling's biography also well received. I would also review CAH2 10, of course, for more background. Ifly6 (talk) 18:21, 19 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]
One of our generous G&R editors has sent me what's needed: Very many thanks to Ifly6 for the above, and to T8612 for repairing and expanding my library of sources. Haploidavey (talk) 14:38, 20 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]
After several very intensive days rewriting the section on Caligula and religion, I'm very relieved to find that Barrett's bibliography happens to support most of what I've written so far (or will do so with a minimum of fiddling and fudging). Yes, that's not really how it should be done but it seems to bode well for the article as a whole. So thanks again. Haploidavey (talk) 15:19, 20 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]


  1. ^ Iliad, Book 2, line 204.
  2. ^ Suetonius, Caligula 22.

Burned after an American attack?[edit]

Does this mean that Caligula’s ships were still in existence in 1944? Where? How? (talk) 07:32, 27 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, as the source describes in detail. NebY (talk) 10:04, 27 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]
See Nemi ships, which includes photos... you can still see the bronze fittings from the ships on the 1st floor of the Palazzo Massimo and they are well worth the visit. Furius (talk) 15:00, 27 September 2023 (UTC)[reply]


I fear Winterling is overreaching if he asserts first that Julius "was willing to abandon the city of Rome and rule the empire from Alexandria, in Egypt, as a divine monarch", and second that "He was designated Jupiter Julius, and was voted a temple by the senate to honour his clementia (clemency). Mark Antony was chosen as his high priest - all this while Caesar still lived."

As I remember and find eg in Scullard, that Caesar considered moving to Alexandria was a rumour "probably ... set on foot by his political enemies in order to discredit him". Also, so far I've failed to find that the rumour was that he planned to rule there as divine, but that may well be my lack of sources and skills.

The second is perhaps based on Cicero and Cassius Dio. Crawford translates Cicero's Second Philippic, 110 "... do you really love him now that he is dead? What honour did he achieve greater than the right to have a sacred couch, an image, a house like a temple, a priest? So just as there is a priest of Jupiter, of Mars, of Quirinus, is M. Antonius now the priest of the divine Julius?" It's great rhetoric and insinuation, and has caused much debate. Dio has more; I admit I generally suspect Dio of filling in colourful details (his account of Boudica's revolt is so much more dramatic than Tacitus') but on this, he perturbs actual scholars too - as does Cicero (eg [1] which includes Dio's conflation of evidence, [2] including the baffling silences). Beard, North and Price in Religions of Rome (I, 140-141) have "The honours ... suggest that he had been accorded the status of a god - or something very like it: he had, for example, the right to have a priest (flamen) of his cult, to adorn his house with a pediment (as if it were a temple) and to place his own image in formal processions of images of the gods .... Ever since ... these honours - particularly those granted before his death - have been the focus of debate... you will not find a clear answer ... both Roman writers and moder scholars offer different and often contradictory views... taken together, they attest only the impossibility of fixing a precise category". Might we make our statements a little less definitive? NebY (talk) 19:05, 23 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I'm away to family early tomorrow, and won't be back until Thurs. Will reply then. I've changed the source and some sequences but frankly any errors in citing Winterling are liable to be mine, not his. This is probably what comes of incautiously writing what seems obvious, unaided by scholars, attribution or scholarship. Have a good holiday! Haploidavey (talk) 20:50, 23 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
No rush. I'm enjoying your work here, and fell happily down a rabbithole wondering if the Senate voted those divine honours to Caesar's genius or quite outrageously to him in his lifetime. Enjoy your well-earned holiday! NebY (talk) 21:45, 23 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]
You too, Neby. Though the effects of two whole days without public transport of any sort are hard to imagine... Haploidavey (talk) 10:48, 24 December 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Are questions allowed?[edit]

There's a question in the second paragraph of 'Conflict with the Senate', "If they had acted against Caligula's family, then why not against Caligula himself?". Should it be changed? Solus Bane (talk) 14:26, 30 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Interesting point. It's a summary of source material from Winterling (especially pp. 96 - 98) and as I added it in the first place, I'm hardly likely to object. It has a rather rhetorical edge, seeming to speak for Caligula but it's offered in Winterling's voice, not Wikipedia's. Haploidavey (talk) 16:24, 30 April 2024 (UTC)[reply]