There can be no student of Roman history who has not, at one time or other, pondered the significance of the emperor Caligula's (A.D. 37–41) alleged command to his soldiers to gather seashells for transportation back to Rome as the spoils of war. It is with some trepidation, therefore, that I dare to offer yet another interpretation of an event which, as we shall see, has not lacked commentators.
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