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Some Other Caligulas
Part I — 1647–1958

Click here to jump ahead to Part II — 1960–2012

• 1647.

Caligula fait deposer les cendres de sa mere et de son frere dans le sepulchre de ses aieux

by Eustache Le Sueur

Oil on canvas. Height: 167cm. Width: 143cm. Hampton Court, Royal Collection, London.

16 December 1672 at the Teatro di SS. Giovanni e Paolo in Venice.

Caligola delirante

an opera by Giovanni Maria Pagliardi,
with a libretto by Domenico Gisberti

The original libretto (Venetia: F. Nicolini, 1672)

The libretto of the 1680 revival

According to Electronic Library the original title was La pazzia in trono ovvero Caligola delirante. That same web page also states that the revival in 1674 (retitled Il Caligola: dramma per musica) at the nuovo Teatro di Tor di Nona had some differences: “Three acts. Gisberti’s text, with noticeable differences from the version of Venice, 1672. For instance, I, 2 now begins, ‘O Diquanto il Sol vede,’ instead of ‘Su ! mia figlia corraggio’; I, 6, ‘Nesbo di regal ceppo,’ has been dropped and I, 7, ‘De la vaga Teosena,’ has become I, 6, etc., etc. Schatz 7586.”

The music score is available on microfilm at several libraries.

An original music score seems to be held at the Nazionale Marciana.

Currently being revived as a marionette show.


Opens at L’Apostrophe — Théâtre des Louvrais, 4 October 2012.

• Probably the middle of March 1698 at the (second) Theatre Royal (Drury Lane), London.

Caligula: A Tragedy

by John Crowne

And now, thanks to Project Gutenberg:

A SONG made for the Entertainment of her Royal Highness.
Set by Mr.
Sung by Mrs. L

Listen to a synthesized MIDI file.

Tho’ over all Mankind, besides my conquering Beauty,
Conquering beauty, my conquering beauty Reigns;
My conquering Beauty Reigns;
From him I love, from him I love when I meet disdain,
A killing damp, a killing damp comes o’er my Pride:
I’m fair and young, I’m fair and young,
I’m fair and young in vain:
I’m fair and young, I’m fair and young,
I’m fair and young in vain;
No, no, no, let him wander where he will,
Let him wander, let him wander,
Let him wander, let him wander where he will,
I shall have Youth and Beauty, Youth and Beauty,
Youth and Beauty,
I shall have Youth and Beauty, Youth and Beauty still;
I shall have Beauty that can charm a Jove,
Can Charm a Jove, and no fault,
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no fault, no, no, no fault,
But constant Love:
From my Arms then let him fly, fly, fly,
From my Arms then let him fly;
Shall I languish, pine, and dye?
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no not I.

Another song, “Beneath the Covert of a Grove,” by Daniel Purcell, is available at the Corporation of London Libraries.

• Sometime in the 1600s.

Cæsonia, Wife of Caligula

Wellcome Images, line engraving, after Ægedius Sadeler, after Titian.
Wellcome Library reference no.: Iconographic Collection 665121i.

Cajus Caligula: Oper in Drei Akten
(Oper 21,03)

music by Georg Philipp Telemann
libretto by Daniel Gisberti

An opera in three acts. The libretto was by a “Daniel Gisberti,” which sounds suspiciously similar to the Domenico Gisberti who wrote the libretto for Pagliardi’s opera some years earlier. Yet it does seem to be a different person and a different libretto. The libretto is held at the Thüringer Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek in Jena and at the Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt / Zentrale in Halle/Saale. There is probably a third copy at the Universitätsbibliothek Greifswald but the listing is confusing. The music score is considered lost.


Germanicus: Oper in Drei Akten

music by Georg Philipp Telemann
libretto by Christine Dorothea Lachs

An opera in three acts. Written in 1704 and revised in 1710, but not performed until 2010. Only 40 arias survive. For the 2010 performance and recording, arias and passages from other works, those by Telemann as well as other composers, were interpolated to fill the gaps. Such a practice was common at the time and may be considered authentic now.

CaligulaFriedrich Praetorius, soprano
AgrippinaElisabeth Scholl, soprano
ClaudiaOlivia Stahn, soprano
Florus/LuciusMatthias Rexroth, alto
SegestesAlbrecht Sack, tenor
ArminiusTobias Berndt, bass
GermanicusHenryk Böhm, bass
speakerDieter Bellmann

• 1752.

Cajo Caligola

Giovanni Carlo Pagani Cesa

Volume V of “Drammi eroici” (Belluno: Simòn Tissi, 1752). This is available online at Nazionale Braidense. Was this ever performed?

• 1780

Le Cheval de Caligula

by Henry Elisabeth Gaufreteau de la Gorce

Bordeaux, Philip-pot, 1780. Reprinted as Honni soit qui mal y pense, ou Le cheval de Caligula fait consul de Rome, tragédie burlesque, parodie de différentes tragédies, en un acte, et en vers attribuée à Mayeur de Saint-Paul (Bordeaux: Philippot, Marchands de brochures, 1782), 31 pages. This was a burlesque, apparently, of François Marie Mayeur de Saint-Paul, and it’s available at the University of California at Berkeley.

18 February 1781.

Eloge historique du cheval de Caligula Consul Romaine
traduit du turc-arabe par Fanor
avec plusieurs chansonnettes toutes nouvelles du même auteur

by Stiepan Zannovich (Stefan Zanović)

London: 1781, 40 sheets. A book of chansonnettes, mostly in Italian, available at Stanford University. Also available at Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek / Klassik Stiftung Weimar.

• 1826.

Caïus Caligula, Tragédie en 3 actes

by Camille Rouzé

Paris: les principaux libraires, 1826. 47 pages. Survives at the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

• 1832.

Caligula, Tragédie historique en un petit acte et en grand vers(I)

by Nicolas Brazier and
Théophile Marion Dumersan

Scroll down to electronic page 15.

• 1833.
Caïus Caligula, drame en cinq actes

by Charles Thomas François D’Outrepont

Paris: Firmin Didot, 1833, 185 pages.

• 26 December 1837, at the Théâtre Française.

Caligula, tragédie en cinq actes et en verse précédée d’un prologue

by Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas (père), Caligula: Tragédie en cinq actes et en vers, précédée d’un prologue.

A costume designed by Eugene Giraud
for the première production.

Another costume designed by Eugene Giraud
for the première production.

Spanish translation

A German translation by Eduard Jerrmann survives at the Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire in Strassbourg and at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin — Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

Online English adaptation by Frank J. Morlock

See also Revue Canadienne.

• 1838.

Caligula, pot-pourri, par Romain Duclacoir, citoyen gaulois de Pontoise

by Jules Lantin

Paris: Imp. de Stahl, 47 pages. A burlesque of Dumas’s play. It is at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. A unique English typescript translation is at the University of Manchester Library, Main Library. If you copy these for me, you’ll get a prize.

• 1838.

Caligula, un tragédie

by Louis-Aimé Martin

42 pages. Survives at the Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire Sainte-Geneviève in Paris, 5º arrondissement. If you copy this for me, you’ll get a prize.

Joseph Thomas, Universal Pronouncing Dictionary of Biography and Mythology, Part Two
(Philadelphia: J B Lippincott &Co, 1871), pp 1535–1536.

• 1838.

Messaline à l’auteur de Caligula

by Anonymous

Paris: Barba, 1838. A poem. A copy is held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. If you copy this for me, you’ll get a prize.

• 1838.

Tibère à Caprée,
tragédie en 5 actes et en verse

by Victor Faguet

Nantua: Imp. d’Arène, 1838; Paris: C. Schwartz et A. Gagnot, 1838, in-8°,  171 pages. A copy is held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. If you copy this for me, you’ll get a prize.

• 1847.

Tibère à Caprée,
tragédie en 5 actes et en verse

by Bernard Campan

Montpellier: Impr de Boehm, 1847, in-8°, 77 pages. Copies are held at the Mediathèques de Montpellier-Agglomération in Montpellier and at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. If you copy this for me, you’ll get a prize.

Here’s a capsule biography of the playwright, from Dr Achille Chéreau, Le paranasse médical française ou dictionnaire des médecins-poètes de la France, anciens ou modernes, morts ou vivants (Paris: Adrien Delahaye, Libraire – Éditeur, 1874):

• 1871.

Caïo Caligola

by Anonymous

I know nothing about this except what’s written in the Rivista teatrale italiana.

• 22 January 1873 at San Carlo di Lisbona.

Caligola: opera in tre atti ed un prologo

music by Gaetano Braga
libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni

Another opera. Milano: Ricordi, 1874, 79 sheets. The libretto survives at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and at the National Library of Australia among other places. It premièred in Lisbon, and so it is interesting to note that a bilingual (Italian/Portuguese) edition survives at Harvard Univeristy and, again, at the National Library of Australia. There also seems to be a copy at the Library of Congress. Does the music still survive?

• 1874.

Caligola, o una farsa imperiale:
in cinque atti e in versi

libretto by Pietro Calvi

Yet another opera. Roma : F. Copaccini, 1874, 96 pages. No idea who wrote the score or even if the score still survives. Perhaps there never was a score? The libretto can be found at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Another copy is in Sardinia.

• 1878.

Caligola, abbozzo di una tragedia

by Melchiorre Gioia

Milan: Tip. Bartoletti, 1878. This earns a passing mention in the Rivista teatrale italiana. According to A Baldiuno, ed, Storia letteraria d’Italia: l’ottocento (vol 1, p 117), this script was first published a century later by Paolo Bosisio in a collection entitled Melchiorre Gioia e il teatro (con il testo del «Caligola», tragedia inedita) (Pisa: Giardini, 1983), pp 468–529. It is (or isn’t?) surprising that a book so recent is nowhere listed on Abe Books or WorldCat. But it is mentioned at Libreria Pino, though it doesn’t seem to be available.

• 1881.

Tibère, drame en cinq actes (huit tableaux)

by Ferdinand Dugué

Paris, E. Dentu, 1881, 120 pages.

• 1885.

Caligola. Fabula tabernaria di 6 atti in versi

by Avv. Luigi Bianchini

Siena-Poggibonsi: Stab. Tipo-Lit. Cappelli, 1885.

• 8 November 1888 at the Théâtre Odéon.

Revival of
Caligula, tragédie en cinq actes et en verse
précédée d’un prologue

by Alexandre Dumas

Revival of Dumas’s play.
Gabriel Fauré commissioned to write new incidental music, which became his opus 41.

Orchestral score
Vocal score.

Fauré later rearranged his incidental music for concert performances (“Caligula,” opus 52), and this was released on CD.

• 1890.

With Caligula in Rome

by John Addington Symonds

NY: George Allen, 1890, 4 pages. I assume this is a poem. A copy is on file at the Pierpont Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. From the listing, this holding seems to be pages 245–248 of a larger work.

Oh. Here it is. On Google Books:

• 1891 at Stuttgart.


by Karl Doppler

I know nothing about this except what’s written in an issue of the Rivista teatrale italiana.

W. L. Hubbard, The American History and Encyclopedia of Music
(London: Irving Squire, 1910), p 188:

4 May 1894 at the Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin in Paris.

Tibère à Caprée,
drame en 5 actes et 7 tableaux

by Count Stanislas Rzéwuski

According to Sophie Bastien in her Caligula et Camus: Interférences transhistoriques (Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi B.V., 2 March 2006, pp 76–77):

Entre-temps, un dramaturge alors connu en Pologne, Stanislas Rzewuski, écrit en français Tibère à Caprée, drame historique en cinq actes, qui est joué à Paris en 1894. Il montre la corruption de Tibére et de Caligula, face au christianisme de jeunes convertis issus de Dumas. Caligula craint Tibère comme chez Dugué mais donne lieu ici, pour la toute première fois, “à des scènes pleines d’émotion” qui investissent la piè d’une force passionnelle. Un tournant est amorcé.

Which is to say (courtesy of the ever-faulty Google Translator, somewhat polished by my nonexistent knowledge of French):

Meanwhile, Stanislas Rzéwuski, a playwright known at the time in Poland, wrote Tiberius at Capri, a Historical Drama in Five Acts in French, and it was performed in Paris in 1894. It shows the corruption of Tiberius and Caligula as opposed to Dumas’s young Christian converts. As with Dugué, Caligula feared Tiberius, but here, for the first time, this leads “to scenes full of emotion” that invest the work piece with a force of passion. This is a turning point.

All right. Very good. So if Sophie Bastien was able to describe Count Stanislas Rzéwuski’s play, it follows that a copy of Rzéwuski’s play still exists somewhere. And it does. At the Bibliothèque nationale de France. If you can copy it for me, I’ll give you a prize.

This much we know. The part of Tiberius was portrayed by Paul Félix Joseph Tailliade (15 January 1827 Paris — 26 January 1898 Brussels). And as we can see from the reviews below, Philippe Garnier portrayed Sejanus and a certain Desjardins (pupil of Delaunay?) portrayed a crafty Caligula. And, if I understand it correctly, Jules Lemaitre portrayed a character named Myrrha. Péricaud portrayed Trasyllus, Gravier portrayed a Christian apostle, Mme. Antonia Laurent portrayed Lucienne, Mlle. Leconte portrayed Stella, and Mlle. Haussmann portrayed Livia. From a trade almanac (scroll down to page 57) we learn that Rosny portrayed Hélios and Lamart portrayed Daphné. (Publication of actors’ first names was a rarity in those days, which deeply frustrates modern research.) One review was in Revue bleue: revue politique et littéraire no 19, 4°série — Tome 1, 12 May 1894, pp 601–602:

Another review, penned by Camille Bazelet, in a column entitled “Le mois dramatique,” appeared in L’artiste: revue de l’art contemporain vol 64 (1894), pp 372–375:

• 1902.

Villa Jovis: Tibère à Caprée

by B. Bosławita (pseudonym for
Josef-Ignacy Kraszewski)

Paris: Editions du “Carnet,” 1902, 243 pages. I assume this is a novel, or perhaps an abridgment of or excerpt from Caprea i Roma (1859). A copy of L. De Broekere’s French translation is held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. A microfiche copy of that same French translation is held at the European Register of Microform and Digital Masters in Göttingen. If you can copy it for me, I’ll give you a prize.

• Circa 1903.

Compagnie Liebig

A trading card.

• 1905.

Caligula und Cäsonia: Schauspiel in 4 Aufz

by Friedrich Koch-Breuberg

Strassburg, 1905. A play. Available at the Bibliothèque nationale et universitaire. No information. Not a clue.

• 1906.

Caligula im Hafer: Humoristische Novelle aus dem Österreichischen Militärbeamtenleben

by Hugo Astl-Leonhard

Issue 496 of Kürschners Bücherschatz. (Hillger, 1906), 96 pages. No information. Not a clue.

• 1906.

Caligula, drama i fem akter

by Isted Møller

When you click on the link above, look for the button on the top-right corner of the screen, the one that looks like a gear. That’s the button you need to download the book to your computer.

• 1909.

Caio Caligola: dramma

by Mariano Vittori

G.B. Parvia e Comp., 1909. Does anybody know anything about this playwright? If you know, please write to me. Thanks! Here’s a review from Rivista teatrale italiana: pubblicazione bimestriale di letteratura, arte, storia e critica teatrale, anno 9, vol 14, fasc 1, January–February 1910:

• 1910.

Calígula: Drama en Cinco Actos

by Samuél Fernández Montalva

215 pages. Survives at the Dibam Biblioteca Nacional de Chile in Santiago.

• 1911.

Caligula’s Picnic

by Maurice Baring

Included in a collection entitled Diminutive Dramas (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1911), pp 98–107.

• 26 April 1914.

Unto Cæsar

by Baroness Emma Maedalena Rosalia Maria Josefa Barbara “Emmuska” Orczy

NY: George H. Doran Company, 1914. Digitized by Project Gutenberg.

The New York Times Book Review,
Sunday, 26 April 1914, p. 216.

The New York Times Book Review,
Sunday, 14 June 1914, p. 280.

“One Hundred Books for Summer Reading,” The New York Times Book Review,
Sunday, 14 June 1914, p. 276.

• 1914.

[Caligula Dreaming]

by Morgan Heiskell

This is on Amazon, a listing entitled “1914 Print Caligula Bridge Dream Incense Military Bay Baiae Puzzuoli Trasyllus — Original Halftone Print,” and the description reads: “This is an original 1914 halftone print of Caligula dreaming the plans for his strategic bridge between Baiae and Puzzoli that assured his accession to the Roman throne. This beautiful image shows his dream manifesting from the incense he is burning after falling asleep allowing his wine glass to fall at the foot of his chair. This piece was illustrated by Heiskell, Morgan. Artist signature in print — bottom right of image.”

• 1916.


by Enrico Guazzoni

I knew that Guazzoni did a movie version of Messalina in 1922, which featured the character of Caligula in a secondary rôle, but I did not know that he had done a Caligola a few years earlier. See “Chronologie da la ‘Série d’Or’ italienne” and Enrico Guazzoni and Wikipedia. Does anyone know if this film still exists? If it does, where is it?

Click on Agrippina for a related film. So much for scholars who say that silent movies did not use the Arial font. Agrippina may look awfully silly to us. That’s because it is — but there’s more to it than that. The conventions were those of the stage of the time, and this little movie is a valuable insight into the acting and staging techniques of the early 20th century, which in turn were holdovers from the techniques of the 19th century. In its own strange way, this movie really was helping to advance cinematographic art. The sets, costumes, lighting, static compositions, and tinting really are beautiful, aren’t they? The framing from camera to camera is typically inconsistent, a problem the Italians didn’t solve until the 1980s or perhaps even more recently. Would someone like to compose some music for this?

As for Messalina, you can see a sound reissue here (dialogue added, and quite terribly), minus the visual clarity, minus the tinting, minus the left side of the image, overspeeded, severely abridged, and re-edited, but it’s better than nothing.

• 1917.

Kajus Cezar Kaligula,
dramat w czterech aktach

by Karol-Hubert Rostworowski

• 1917.

La tragica fine di Caligola

a.k.a Dementia Caligulæ Imperatoris
a.k.a La tragica fine di Caligula Imperator
a.k.a Caligula

Jean Carrère, directed by Ugo Falena

This is a feature-length four-reeler. At least two copies still exist, and maybe three. An Italian posting from 19 June 2009 declares that this lost film had just recently been found, but does not state where the found print was currently residing, nor does it provide any specifics about the quality, completeness, condition, or format of the print. It would seem probably to be at the Cineteca del Comune di Bologna, though there’s no way to be certain judging from the web page’s roster. The FIAF index states that a print is housed at the Cinémathèque Française. Whether that’s the same print referred to in the Italian site, or whether that’s a different print, is not clear. Another print is a tinted/toned Dutch release with Dutch titles, currently held at the EYE Film Instituut Nederland. As far as I can determine, no preservation or restoration work has been done whatsoever, and the prints may not have been viewed since 1917. If anyone knows better, please contact me. Thanks!

This little movie features the famous French/Polish actress Stacia Napierkowska, about whom so little has been written. So take a look at this little article by Katherine Frances. Is that fascinating ’er what?

Katherine has done us the favor of shooting over four pieces of ephemera that she found in her research:

Zo, what can we learn about this obscure movie? Well, Judith Harris seems to have seen it — maybe. Or maybe not. She described it only in the vaguest terms in her book Pompeii Awakened: A Story of Rediscovery (London: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2007), pp 211–212:

Another little tidbit comes from Henri Bousquet and Vittorio Martinelli’s online filmography of Stasià Napierkowska (1891–1945), which contradicts some other sources. Bousquet and Martinelli confirm the above report that the original title was simply La tragica fine di Caligola (with the Italian spelling of the name) and further that it was also released with a strictly Latin title, Dementia Caligulæ Imperatoris, which may explain other records that seem to combine both titles, mixing Italian and Latin. Its title in France and the Netherlands was simply Caligula. They also give the film-stock credit as Pathécolor , implying that at least some original prints were stenciled. Beautiful process, isn’t it? (Here’s a rival stenciling method, called Cinemacoloris: Kiriki.) Bousquet and Martinelli confirm the original length was 1,265m, which equals about 4,150', meaning that the reels were all packed to the brim.

All right. Unlike many film scholars, I shall not unreasonably assume too much knowledge on the part of the reader. With the proviso that there are occasional exceptions to every rule, these were the general rules, and so here’s what 4,150' means. As far as I know, in Italy most projectors in 1917 were still hand-cranked, which would mean that, because of mechanical limitations, the speed could only have been about 60'/minute (16 frames/second). Many film scholars will want to burn me at the stake for saying that, but it’s true. Try running a hand-cranked projector, and you’ll instantly discover that at less than about 15fps the fire shutter drops, and at above about 17fps the projector wobbles so violently that there’s risk of knocking it over. And believe me, you don’t want to run the risk of knocking over an expensive, large, heavy, delicate projector, especially when its light is created by an intense flame and when the machine is filled with highly inflammable film. That would just ruin your whole darn day. The problem is further complicated by having to use your left hand incessantly to feed the low-intensity carbon rods, which is an exacting process and it ain’t easy. (Yes, I’ve had to do that on occasion when carbon-drive motors fried. No, I never want to do that again.) It was simply impossible to run a film above 17fps, and even keeping up at 16fps was a major physical effort. Projectionists really deserved every penny they earned back in them thar days, and then some. In the US by 1914 or thereabouts many projectors were being shipped from the factories with optional motors and variable-speed pulleys to drive the film, and optional pairs of motors to drive the carbon rods. That’s when the speed started increasing to as much as 70'/minute or, in extreme cases, even 80'/minute, but such practices were frowned upon by professionals. It was not until late 1921, with the introduction of high-intensity rotating-positive carbon-arc lamp houses, that the flicker became intolerable at 60'/minute. I doubt that Europe had access to such technology in 1921/1922. I don’t think Europe got it until a few years later. With the new lamphouses, projection speeds needed to be increased to a minimum of 65'/minute. Cinemas with the new gigantic screens needed even more light and installed two-wing rather than three-wing shutters, and with that arrangement, flicker was intolerable at any speed lower than 82.5'/minute. That’s when the modern speed of 90'/minute (24fps) became quite popular. Why, I’m not quite sure, because the ASC and SMPE recommended shooting films at 60'/minute and projecting at 80'/minute as a universal standard. That’s not quite the way it worked out. Downtown première movie palaces generally projected at 80'/minute unless instructed otherwise, and yet and more and more frequently they were being instructed otherwise, as more and more movies were being issued with instructions to be projected at “11 minutes for 1,000 feet,” which equals 90'/minute or 24fps, give or take the odd microsecond here and there. In Europe, though, the old standard of 60'/minute (16fps) for silent movies held forth well into the 1920s. So in all likelihood this film needs to be shown at 60'/minute, which at 4,150 feet would equal about 69 minutes. Complicating the issue is a web site called DVD toile which provides uncited information; specifically, it reveals that the film’s original Pathé release number was 7943, and it posts the official length as 1,385m (4,544'), which at 60'/min would be 76 minutes. A 4,544' movie packed onto a mere four reels would spill film.

(If I ever hear that stupid Warner-Bros.-investigates-projection-practice-to-establish-Vitaphone-taking-speed story again I’ll go on a killing spree. The true story is that the modern speed was set by the limitations of early optical sound, not by sound-on-disc Vitaphone. For optical-sound E. I. Sponable experimented with several speeds, and decided that the optimum for fidelity would be 100'/minute, though the primitive scanning mechanisms and exciter optics at the time diminished quality at any speed above 90'/minute. That was not a problem, as he knew that rapid work was being done in those fields and that the technology would soon enough catch up to allow 100'/minute. Before the lab techies could iron out all the bugs, though, the studio execs decided to wait no longer and issued a decree that henceforth filming and projection speed would be standardized at 90'/minute. As soon as that pronouncement was made, the scanning mechanisms and optics were improved. Well, what can you do? Warner Bros.’ Vitaphone simply followed suit. And remember, early sound projectors had direct-drive variable-speed DC motors to run the film, partly as a precaution against any future standards changes. Once it became clear that the studios would not consider further standards changes, future projectors were manufactured with the speed locked at 90'/min (direct-drive single-phase AC). As a final comment: In the 1920s shutters were all either disc or cylindrical. Once conical shutters were placed on the market, which I think happened in the late 1940s, grease-monkeys who were willing to spend some cash jury-rigging their machines to restore variable speed found that it was at last possible to project silent films at proper speeds as low as 65'/min with high-intensity lamps and with two-wing shutters, without bothersome flicker. Too late.... There. Who else on the planet will explain this to you?)

Bousquet and Martinelli also do us the favor of reproducing a Dutch trade advertisement:

So it is a “Legend from the Time of Christian Persecution.” If we run those part titles through Google Translator, this is what we get:

Part 1: Caligula’s Insanity.
Part 2: Arius’s Revenge.
Part 3: The Orgies.
Part 4: The End of a Tyrant.

• 1925.

Lazarus Laughed:
A Play for an Imaginative Theatre

by Eugene O’Neill

Was not performed until 1928, when it premièred at the Pasadena Community Playhouse. Has almost never been performed since. Caligula is an important character in the story.

• 1934.

I, Claudius

by Robert Graves

London: Arthur Barker, 1934. A novel. This is the big one. This is the novel that made Caligula and Claudius and the rest of that gang household names.

• 1936.


produced by by Alexander Korda

Variety vol. 123 no. 7, Wednesday, 29 July 1936, p. 1

Okay all you cinema historians with Ph.D.’s, you never knew about this before, did you? 22 reels, assuming each reel would run between 8 and 11 minutes on average, would total between about three hours at the low end and three and a half hours at the high end. This project was abandoned and quickly replaced by the epic below. My guess is that it probably cost less and would take less time to adapt a novel to a screenplay than it would to write a new screenplay from scratch. I would imagine, also, that upon learning of the Caligula project, publisher Arthur Barker pushed Graves’s book upon Korda and made a convincing case.

• 1936.

The Fool of Rome (a.k.a. I, Claudius)

by Robert Graves, directed by Josef von Sternberg
produced by Alexander Korda

This movie adaptation of I, Claudius was never completed. See Archives Hub. Claudius: Charles Laughton. Messalina: Merle Oberon. Livia: Flora Robson. Caligula: Emlyn Williams.

• 25 December 1938.

The Plot to Overthrow Christmas

by Norman Corwin

Mount Vernon NY: Peter Pauper Press, 1940.
First-edition limited printing of 150 copies for friends of Peter and Edna Beilenson.

A verse play aired on CBS Radio. Caligula is an important character in the story. The 1940 performance is available on CD. Click here, scroll down, and listen to the 1942 performance. The 1945 performance, directed by and featuring Orson Welles, is here. This was later done on television.

• 1942.

The Robe

by Lloyd C. Douglas

New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1942. A novel. Caligula is an important character.

• 1943.

Calígula: Biografía Humorística

by Fidélio Trimalción [pseudonym for Cecílio Benítez de Castro]

Barcelona: Argos, 1943. No clue.

• 18 December 1945 at the Théâtre-Hébertot in Paris.


by Albert Camus

Albert Camus, Caligula. Opened as four-act. The earlier three-act draft from 1941 has also been staged. Justin O’Brien’s English adaptation is two acts. The full four-act play was translated into English and staged by Harald Bromley. See Wikipedia.

• 1953.

Bubi Caligula;
Operette in einem Vorspiel und 2 Akten

by Hanns Jelinek

Vienna: A-Tempo-Verlag, 1953, 167 pages. Would you believe an operetta? At SUNY Buffalo, Harvard, and The British Library—St Pancras..

• 1953.

The Robe

by Gina Kaus, Albert Maltz, and Philip Dunne; directed by Henry Koster

The first Cinemascope movie, 1:2.66, full aperture, four-track on separated mag tracks synched by selsyns. Also filmed and released in Academy 1:1.375 monaural. Caligula is an important character.

• 1954.

Demetrius and the Gladiators

by Philip Dunne; directed by Delmer Daves

The sequel to The Robe. Caligula is an important character.

27 June 1958.

Caligula’s Dream

by John Updike

Originally published in The Opinion vol. 68 no. 13 (27 June 1958). Included in Collected Poems 1953–1993 (New York: Knopf: Distributed by Random House, 1993).

• 1958.

I, Claudius

Adapted by Robert Graves and Bridget Boland

This was supposed to have been a movie. See Archives Hub. Alec Guinness was considered for the rôle of Claudius. Never produced.

• 26 October 1958 at the York Playhouse, New York City.

The Golden Six

by Maxwell Anderson

Click here to continue to Part II — 1960–2012