The emperor Gaius ('Caligula') was assassinated in January A.D.41. Since he was the last of the Julii, and he left no heir, it seemed that the dynasty of Caesar and Augustus was finished.
Accordingly, the Republic was restored, but then a coup d'etat by the Praetorian Guard put Claudius in power . . . the dramatic events of these few days are a crucial turning-point in Roman history - the moment when the military basis of the Principate was first made explicit.
Tacitus' account has not survived, and Suetonius and Dio Cassisu offer no adequate substitute. Fortunately, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus chose to insert into his 'Jewish Antiquities' - as an example of the providence of God - a detailed narrative of the assassination plot and its aftermath taken from contemporary and well-informed Roman sources.
This new edition of T.P. Wiseman’s acclaimed Death of an Emperor (his translation and commentary of Josephus’ account of Caligula’s assassination) includes an updated bibliography, revised introduction, translation and commentary. Appendix 1 on the Augustan Palatine has been completely revised to take account of recent archaeological information.
Peter Wiseman is Emeritus Professor of Roman History at the University of Exeter and a Fellow of the British Academy. He came to Exeter in 1977, and was Head of Department from 1977 to 1990.
Abbreviations and Select Bibliography
Flavius Josephus, Antiquitates Iudaicae XIX 1-273
II The Conspiracy
III The Assassination
IV Panic on the Palatine
V The Republic Restored
VII The Claudius Coup
Note on the Text
1 The Augustan Palatine
2 Cluvius Rufus
Index of Names
In a concise and readable way, W. walks through the early imperial development of the [Augustan Palatine] in light of recent archaeology, locating the original houses of Augustus and Tiberius to recreate the scene at the time of Gaius. This may not be indispensable for the foregoing study, but it is a welcome bonus in the new edition...W.’s book remains as valuable as it always was. Students of ancient history in all subdisciplines should be pleased that it is available again, and with a particularly useful update in the new appendix.
Steve Mason Histos 10
November 21, 2013