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June 28, 2009


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maybe it's too late to change your episode now--or maybe it isn't--but you should know that "spendthrift" means the opposite of how used it: it means one who spends and spends. "thrifty" is careful with money. "spendthrift" is someone who is anything but "thrifty."

it's one of those silly things like the fact that "flammable" and "inflammable" mean exactly the same thing, despite what should apparently be the case.

Simon A

Thanks for this episode, to what extent do you think this was a wasted opportunity to revive the power of the Senate. I know you said the Praetorian Guard was too strong now but I can't help but feel that given the jobs done by the Emperors since Augustus, and everyones expectations about Claudius a senator with the ability of Cicero could have roused the people to such a point that change would have been inevitable.


I'm having trouble downloading the latest episode from I-tunes. Is it just me?


Claudius wasn't proclaimed emperor that night. According to Gibbon there were "eight and fourty hours" between the murder of Calligula and the ascension of Claudius, when the Senate had control and squabbled amongst themselves, squandering their chance to make Rome a republic again :(

(btw my name is just a coincidence, no relation to the emperor in your upcoming episode ;-)


I doubt the Praetorians would have easily accepted demotion and return to the legions. Political power comes from barrel of a gun...or unsheathed with a drawn sword. It is a wonder why no ambitious general didn't try to make a power grab after the chaos resulting from Caligula's assassination. Legions (as well as Praetorians) can be very political too! What was the Republic to the common soldier anyhow? An ambitious general or an emperor paid better, I believe.

Anyway, who remembered life under the a true Republic at this stage of history? Did anybody believe in the Republic anymore? Could anybody really turn back the clock? Did anybody want to?

Mike in Phoenix

By this time ther was certainly no senator near the caliber of a Marcus Tullius Cicero but it is interesting that republican ideas still existed even if only as 'pipe dreams'. Just a suggestion Mike, maybe the next episode takes it's title from Law#21 of Robert Green's 48 Laws of Power (which of course he uses Claudius' story as a perfect example) Play a Sucker to Catch a Sucker - Seem Dumber Than Your Mark


48 Laws of Power is an amusing/disturbing/insightful read!

Richard in Austin

I have listened to all the episodes in the last couple of weeks, having only discovered the podcasts recently. You are a great talent and I thank you. I have also sent you a donation.


Mike in Phoenix

Hi Mike, In this episode you mention in passing that one of Caligula's contemporaries that was writing at the time was Seneca. I know Seneca was a tutor of Nero but what role does he play during the time of Caligula? I must admit, I don't know a lot about Seneca but his works are on my 'to read' list. Was he Roman? I mean an 'ethnic' Roman? I caught an episode of a BBC series on philosophy and Seneca was the 'Roman' philosopher of the series. I'm just wondering if Romans are now writing and teaching philosophy and if so, is he the first to do so? As we go along, it would be great if we could also hear a little about the authors that we draw our understanding of roman history from as we cover the years and circumstances in which they lived and wrote. Keep up the good work Mike! This podcast rules!!!

Matt Vonck - the Netherlands

I think Seneca was of 'Spanish'descent

Anyway, fantastic job Mike, really am enjoying this podcast, as I did the podcast from Lars Brownworth about the Byzantine Emperors. I hope you continue..

ep thorn

It's funny, I was watching Jeopardy and I was able to answer some obscure $2000 question (or is it 'question some answer'?) regarding the Etruscans because most nights I go to sleep listening to episodes of this podcast; but as soon as the questions go beyond Augustus, I get in hot water... so please keep popping these out!

Buddy Willis

A very addictive podcast you have going. Great material with a great delivery.


As a grad student of history (middle east, not Roman) I have to say I love the terrific resource you created here. I'm in the processs of getting caught up to current and can't wait to get to Nero (whom I did my undergrad thesis on).

Anyway, I'm going to suggest this to everyone I know. Keep up the great work!


I had to remind myself that these horrible things happend to terrfied people as i kept laughing at some of the things that Caligular did.

Left Flank

Thanks for showing how ro discount the salacious interpretations Suetonius and Cassio Dio offered regarding Caligula. But, why couldn't Caligula appoint Praetorians more loyal to him?

Account Deleted

I've just finished this episode and since I'd never gotten around to sending a thank you your way here it is: YOU ROCK. This is a fabulous podcast. Hopefully I catch up before you finish Roman history!

Also: You should making an episode on "the making of the 'The History of Rome' podcast" -- tell us how you get this wonderful material together!


Caligula makes headlines again :



listening to your no better slave, no worse master podcast on halloween perfect timing.


Years behind but I'm loving this podcast (and this episode might be my fav so far)

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