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A.D. History Podcast

Caligula: Truly a Mad Emperor? & Roman Conquest of Britain | 41AD – 50AD Feat. Kristen E. Strubberg

Did Roman emperor Caligula suffer from mental illness? Guest Kristen E. Strubberg explores further. Also, why did Rome finally invade Britain?



In this episode, Paul and Patrick are excited to introduce A.D. History’s first special guest sporting the third chair, Kristen E. Strubberg. Kristen is TGNR’s Found and Editor-in-Chief, as well as a professional medical clinical researcher with a background in Neuroscience. Kristen will help provide a clearer possible view into Emperor Caligula’s long suspected struggle with mental illness. Patrick will also dive deep into another major piece of world history, exploring Emperor Claudius’s conquest of ancient Britain in 43AD/44AD.

Caligula: A Modern Political Psychological Profile

Emperor Caligula, born Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus in 12AD, was one of nine children of the Roman folk hero Germanicus and his wife Agrippina. During his earliest years, Caligula spent time with his parents who were stationed on the Rhine, when his father Germanicus was appointed commander of all Roman legions stationed on the Germania frontier.

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The name “Caligula” was in fact a nickname given to him at this time as the young lad, after his mother Agrippina had the encampment’s tailor outfit him in a legionaries uniform. Caligae are the famed battle sandals worn by Roman legions, and his nickname – Caligula – is translated from Latin to English as “bootykins” or “little boots.” Both he and his nickname are testament to his being viewed by the stationed legions as an unofficial mascot. This nickname “Caligula,” which he most certainly did not answer to as an adult, is of ominous contrast when compared to his notoriously unpredictable and violent nature upon assuming power.

Caligula the Unknown?

Caligula is one of the most infamous rulers in human history, best known for his violent whims, mercurial disposition and immense self aggrandizement . Yet outside of that, Caligula is a highly fleeting figure for historians, who know so little about him.

Following Caligula’s assassination by the Praetorian Guard in 41AD, Caligula’s enemies took extensive measures to try and erase him from their history. For all intents and purposes, his enemies did a very good job of doing just that. In fact, the greatest amount of information about Caligula known to historians are the events surrounding his assassination.

Caligula & His Long Suspected Mental Illness

Caligula is believed by many to have suffered from some form of mental illness, given his penchant for wildly unpredictable behavior. With so little good historical information available about Caligula, specifically during his time as Emperor, it is difficult to provide sufficient specifics about him in general. However, this lack of good information is in some ways very similar to the lack of good information regarding modern rulers – a situation not at all dissimilar in some respects to a figure like Kim Jong Un.

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This episode attempts building a modern political psychological profile as they’re constructed for modern world leaders. In using the approach of Dr. Jerrold Post, a foremost political psychology expert known best for creating said profiles for the U.S. State Department and intelligence arms, coupled with Kristen’s unique insight – despite the relative dearth of information – she helps guide creating a similar understanding of Caligula 2,000 years later.

Who is Kristen E. Strubberg?

Kristen E. StrubbergKTGNR

TGNR’s Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Kristen E. Strubberg is TGNR’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief. Kristen initially founded TGNR in late 2013, seeking to create a news source that reported positive news of significant substance. In addition to providing expert contribution of various individuals in numerous subjects, through the medium of the highest quality printed word. Kristen has played an instrumental role in TGNR’s growth over the last seven years.

Kristen E. Strubberg outside of her role with TGNR, is a clinical medical researcher in pharmacology with cardiology patients. Further, Kristen has completed some graduate level education in Neuroscience with Loyola University Chicago, her initial field background. Kristen also pens her own neuroscience column, Neuronomics, for TGNR. 

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Roman Conquest of Britain

The Roman conquest of Britain, beginning in 43AD, is one of the most important military conquests in world history. Beginning a near century prior with Julius Caesar’s two campaigns across the Channel, a formal invasion and occupation had been on the back burner for all Romans leaders who succeeded him up to Claudius.

The Roman Occupation of Britain: A Longer Look

The Roman’s occupation of Britain was a gradual conquest of the island, accomplished over their 400 year presence on the island. With Rome’s initial thrust, they sought to occupy modern southern England. Over the succeeding centuries, the Romans extended their physical reach all the way into modern Scotland.

Britain, like many territories absorbed into the Roman sphere, was deeply influenced by that experience in terms of organizing society, ideals of governance, and even conceptions of private property. Patrick elaborates on his personal observations of those singular Roman influences that exists well into modernity.

Why Invade in 43AD?

Emperor Claudius, the immediate successor to the slain Caligula, undertook this military campaign for many reasons. Yet no reason was more important than establishing his political track record as emperor by invading Britain. Claudius’s decision to do so effectively broke, for the first time, Augustus’s piece of guidance on his death bed to avoid expanding Rome any further.

Claudius by invading Britain was taking a most perilous roll of the iron dice. The risk of doing so from a purely military planning standpoint was tremendous. When analyzing within the scope of a wider sweep of history, it was only until very recently that such a military prospect was remotely practical – albeit the risks of doing so have greatly evolved over time. Yet the fundamental peril involved is unchanging, which is the immense difficulty of traversing the quite un accommodating waters of the English Channel.

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The A.D. History Podcast explores the last two thousand years of world history in an innovative new way. Join hosts Paul K. DiCostanzo and Patrick Foote as they examine the past two millennia, beginning in 1 AD, and progressing forward ten years every episode until they reach the modern day. Within each ten-year installment, Paul and Patrick aim to share incredibly important, but often overlooked fascinating historic events and figures from around the world in prospective fashion; attempting to see history through the eyes and in the world of those who lived it. By identifying these sometimes lesser known - but in no way less significant aspects of history - the A.D. History Podcast endeavors to take these many disparate threads and weave a fuller, richer tapestry of true world history from 1AD to HD.