Caracalla has one of the worst reputations of any Roman Emperor. Many ancient historians were very hostile and Edward Gibbon later dubbed him 'the common enemy of mankind'. Yet his reign was considered by at least one Roman author to be the apogee of the Roman Empire. Guilty of many murders and massacres (including his own brother, ex-wife and daughter) he was, however, popular with the army, improving their pay and cultivating the image of sharing their hardships. Surprisingly this is the first full-length biography of this colourful character in English. Ilkka Syvanne explains how the biased ancient sources in combination with the stern looking statues of the emperor have created a distorted image of the man and then reconstructs the actual events, particularly his military campaigns and reforms, to offer a balanced view of his reign. The biography offers the first complete overview of the policies, events and military campaigns of the reign and explains how and why these contributed to the military crisis of the third century.
Dr Ilkka Syvanne gained his doctorate in history in 2004 from Tampere University in his native Finland. His doctoral thesis was published as The Age of Hippotoxotai, Art of War in Roman Military Revival and Disaster 491-636 (Tampere University Press, Tampere 2004). He has also written numerous articles on late Roman/Byzantine warfare, and contributed seven entries for Blackwell's Encyclopaedia of the Roman Army (2011). From 2007 to 2016 he was Vice Chairman of the Finnish Society for Byzantine Studies. Dr Syvanne is An Affiliated Professor of the University of Haifa and lives in Kangasala, Finland.