The Amsterdam Colloquium: Some Thoughts

By Martijn Icks On June 21st, Edwina Hagen and I organized the colloquium “Character Assassination! Media and Mudslinging from Caligula to King Gorilla” in Amsterdam. We invited experts on various periods in Western history to discuss practices of character assassination from an historical perspective. Comparing various case studies, we hoped to shed light on some... Continue Reading →

Character Assassination: The Historical Perspective [Part 2]

By Martijn Icks In my previous blog, I argued for the importance of historical perspectives on character assassination. However, historical research also comes with its own challenges and limitations. Let’s have a look at some of these. Perhaps the most obvious challenge is the danger of anachronism: we should be very careful not to assume... Continue Reading →

As Crazy As Caligula? [Part 2]

By Henri van Nispen Caligula is clearly a case of imperial madness and hardly suitable for serious reflection upon today’s problems. I care to differ. It is a set phrase to say that every historian reflects his own interests as well as those of the Zeitgeist. Pondering the ruler of his day, the German medievalist... Continue Reading →

As Crazy As Caligula? [Part 1]

By Henri van Nispen Oderint, dum metuant. “Let them hate, so long as they fear.” It certainly is an adage appropriate for a creature like Wolverine. The saying, attributed to the Roman emperor Gaius Caligula (12-41 CE), would also fit someone like President Trump, even though Nobel laureate Paul Krugman thought Caligula the better of... Continue Reading →

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