Press Release

A Classical Collaboration

February 8, 2018 – by Ohio

Ohio Wesleyan alumna and professional photographer Katie McGarr captured these sunflowers outside of Aix-en-Provence, France. She visited sites relevant to Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula for use in OWU classics professor Lee Fratantuono’s forthcoming book. (Photo by Katie McGarr)  

Ohio Wesleyan Professor, Alumna Publish Book on Notorious Roman Emperor

DELAWARE, Ohio – The latest book from Ohio Wesleyan University Professor of Classics Lee Fratantuono, Ph.D., is a study of Rome’s third emperor, Gaius Caligula, focusing on the foreign policy and military history of his brief and infamous reign.

“Caligula: An Unexpected General” considers the surprising rise to power of a young man born into a troubled time and a murderous family that was embroiled in political and personal disputes.

Fratantuono’s book is the latest in his series of Roman historical studies for the military history publisher Pen & Sword of the United Kingdom. Like his previous volume on the Roman republican general Lucullus, Fratantuono collaborated on his new book with Ohio Wesleyan alumna and freelance photographer Katie McGarr, Class of 2010, founder and owner of Trek Afar Photography.

Fratantuono’s latest book, “Caligula: An Unexpected General.”

McGarr traveled through France, North Africa, Italy, and Greece to visit sites relevant to the life and reign of Caligula. The result is a richly illustrated treatment of Caligula’s four years in power, with detailed study of his planned conquests in Germany and Britain, as well as his political settlements in North Africa and the Middle East. The volume is in part an outgrowth of Fratantuono’s popular course on the Roman Empire, which McGarr took as an undergraduate.

Fratantuono observes: “Caligula has a reputation from antiquity as being one of the worst of Rome’s emperors. Some scholars have attempted to provide what they would call a more balanced appraisal of his life, while others have argued that the ancient historiographical tradition is sound and that Caligula was indeed a monster. My volume steers something of a middle course, with more sympathy for the reliability of the ancient sources than some of my predecessors.”

Regarding her photographic contribution to this new study, McGarr says: “It was exciting to visit lands that I had read about in numerous classes as an undergraduate. It was a pleasurable challenge to try to trace the story of Caligula by camera and lens.” 

And the “pleasurable challenges” continue with “Roman Arabia,” the next volume in the queue for Ohio Wesleyan’s classical collaborators. 

Learn more about Fratantuono and Ohio Wesleyan’s Classics Program at www.owu.edu/classics.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.