Saturday, March 13, 2010

Obama and Caligula

As a student of history, I look to see if there are parallels between what is happening today and things that happened in the past.

Obama's election and then quick drop in popularity does look a lot like what happened in ancient Rome when Tiberius Caesar died and was succeeded by Caligulia. Now I'm not comparing Obama to Caligulia, but I will compare the expectations and drop in popularity of the two.

Tiberius was not well liked. He was considered and old tightwad who persecuted his enemies. When Caligulia was named by the Senate as the new emperor there was rejoicing in the streets. His father, Germanicus (Tiberius brother), was handsome, a hero, and warmly remembered by the people of Rome. So when he was named as the new emperor by the Senate, the people looked forward to a time of hope and change.

Caligulia started his reign well. He piously got the ashes of his mother and brothers who had died and brought them back to Rome putting them into a royal mausoleum. He held games almost continuously.

But he was spending all the treasure of Rome. He in fact bankrupted the country.

The reason I think of Caligula and compare him to Obama is because of the hope everyone held out when he came into office and how his policies depleted the treasury of Rome. He was young and inexperienced. He had never held an executive office and it showed in his rule. The joy at his ascension was only surpassed at the joy of his removal from office.

Tomorrow I'll go a little closer to home and see who among previous presidents are most like Obama.

No comments:

Post a Comment