Child Emperors, Part 1: The Show Notes

Hey, thanks for listening! We hope you enjoyed the episode!

First off, here’s what these people looked like:



They look so different. Elagabalus is such a glowy, beautiful being and Caracalla’s rage is palpable. (Interestingly, even though it has so much personality, this bust of Caracalla isn’t contemporary to him–it was made in the 1700s by  Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, who was drawing on an older bust that dated from the 200s–around the time of Caracalla’s reign).

Bear in mind, though, that although Elagabalus looks serene and almost angelic in this bust, he’s a kid who stabbed an advisor to death for giving him advice he didn’t like, and used to tie people to waterwheels and drown them at his parties. He and Caracalla were very different kinds of tyrant, but they were both tyrants.

Also, just for fun, we give you the head of infamous eight-foot-tall drill sergeant emperor-poodle Maximinius Thrax.

Maximinius Thrax

So very manly.

We drew a lot on the classical sources for this one. Cassius Dio is a great source–he was a highly-placed Roman statesman and contemporary to both these emperors. He may have known them both personally.

We used the Earnest Cary translation. Caracalla and Elagabalus are in Books 78-80:


A lot of details about Elagabalus came from the Historia Augusta. YMMV–since this is basically the National Enquirer of Ancient Rome–but it’s a colorful read. We used the David Magie translation:

Here’s that BBC Point of View clip of Mary Beard talking about Elagabalus and tyrant behavior. Well worth a listen.

If you’re looking for some more great podcasts that talk about these emperors, you can’t go wrong with History of Rome. Here are some links:

Episode 102: The Common Enemy of Mankind

Episode 103: The Equestrian

Episode 104: Here Comes the Sun

Plus a few fiction suggestions we made in the show. Here’s the story of Alexander the Great and Aristotle:

…and possibly the most infamous of the damnatio memoriae, Caligula.

1 Comment on Child Emperors, Part 1: The Show Notes

  1. For the record it seems likely that I have also impersonated Alexander The Great on first dates. With equally nonspectacular results.

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