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Caligula, the Most Perverted Emperor

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Callisto
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« on: October 18, 2007, 12:36:16 am »



Bust of Emperor Caligula in the Louvre
Reign 37–41
(Consul from 39)
Full name Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
Born August 31, 12(12-08-31) AD
Died January 24, 41 (aged 28) AD (age 29)
Predecessor Tiberius
Successor Claudius
Wife/wives 1) Junia Claudilla, 33 - 34
 2) Livia Orestilla, 37 or 38
 3) Lollia Paulina, 38
 4) Caesonia, ? - 41
Issue Julia Drusilla
Dynasty Julio-Claudian
Father Germanicus
Mother Agrippina the Elder
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Callisto
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2007, 12:37:20 am »

Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. (August 31, 12 – January 24, 41), more commonly known by his nickname Caligula, was the third Roman Emperor and a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, ruling from 37 to 41 .

In general, only some details of his life are known. What is known, however, is that during his brief reign, Caligula focused much of his attention on ambitious construction projects and territorial expansion. He worked to increase the authority of the principate and struggled to maintain his position against several conspiracies to overthrow him. He was eventually assassinated in 41 by several of his own guards in a conspiracy involving the Roman Senate.

Though Caligula was popular with the Roman public throughout his reign, the scarce surviving sources focus upon anecdotes of his alleged cruelty, extravagance and sexual perversity, presenting him as an insane tyrant.
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Callisto
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2007, 12:39:13 am »




Caligula was born as Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus on August 31, 12, at the resort of Antium. He was the third of six surviving children born to Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder. Gaius' brothers were Nero and Drusus. His sisters were Julia Livilla, Drusilla and Agrippina the Younger. Gaius was also nephew to Claudius (the future emperor).

Gaius' father, Germanicus, was a prominent member of the Julio-Claudian family and was revered as one of the most beloved generals of the Roman Empire. He was the son of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia Minor. Germanicus was grandson to Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia, as well as the adoptive grandson of Augustus.

Agrippina the Elder was the daughter of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Julia the Elder. She was also a granddaughter of Augustus and Scribonia.

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Callisto
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2007, 12:40:49 am »



A caliga.


As a boy of just two or three, Gaius accompanied his father, Germanicus, on military campaigns in the north of Germania and became the mascot of his father's army. The soldiers were amused that Gaius was dressed in a miniature soldier's uniform, including boots and armor. He was soon given his nickname Caligula, meaning "Little (Soldier's) boots" in Latin, after the small boots he wore as part of his uniform. Gaius, though, reportedly grew to dislike this nickname.

At the age of seven, Caligula also accompanied Germanicus on his expedition to Syria. Upon return, Caligula's father died on October 10, 19. Suetonius claims that Germanicus was poisoned in Syria by an agent of Tiberius who viewed Germanicus as a political rival.
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Callisto
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2007, 12:42:35 am »




After the death of his father, Caligula lived with his mother until relations between her and Tiberius deteriorated and she was banished. Tiberius would not allow Agrippina to remarry for fear her husband would be a rival. Agrippina and Caligula's brother, Nero Caesar, were banished in 29 on charges of treason. The adolescent Caligula was then sent to live first with his great-grandmother, and Tiberius' mother, Livia. Following Livia's death, he was sent to live with his grandmother Antonia. In 30, his brother, Drusus Caesar, was imprisoned on charges of treason and his brother Nero died in exile from either starvation or suicide. Suetonius writes that after the banishment of his mother and brothers, Caligula and his sisters were nothing more than prisoners of Tiberius under close watch of soldiers.

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Callisto
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2007, 12:46:00 am »



In 31, Caligula was remanded to the personal care of Tiberius on Capri, where he lived for six years. A surprise to many, Caligula was spared by Tiberius. According to historians, Caligula was an excellent natural actor and, recognizing danger, hid all his resentment towards Tiberius. An observer said of Caligula, "Never was there a better servant or a worse master!"

In 33, Tiberius gave Caligula an honorary quaestorship, a position he held until his reign. Meanwhile, both Caligula's mother and brother, Drusus, died in prison. Caligula was briefly married to Junia Claudilla in 33, though she died in childbirth the following year. Caligula spent time befriending the Praetorian Prefect, Naevius Sutorius Macro, an important ally. Macro spoke well of Caligula to Tiberius, attemping to quell any ill will or suspicion the Emperor felt towards Caligula.

In 35, Caligula was named joint heir to the throne along with Tiberius Gemellus.

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Callisto
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2007, 12:48:42 am »



Caligula Depositing the Ashes of his Mother and Brother in the Tomb of his Ancestors, by Eustache Le Sueur, 1647


When Tiberius died on March 16, 37, his estate and the titles of the Principate were left to Caligula and Tiberius' own grandson, Gemellus, who were to serve as joint heirs. Despite Tiberius being 77 and on his death bed, some ancient historians still claim he was murdered. Tacitus writes that the Praetorian Prefect, Macro, smothered Tiberius with a pillow to hasten Caligula's accession, much to the joy of the Roman people, and Suetonius writes that Caligula may have carried out the killing. Philo and Josephus, though, record Tiberius dying a natural death. Backed by Macro, Caligula had Tiberius’ will nullified with regards to Gemellus on grounds of insanity, but otherwise carried out Tiberius' wishes.

Caligula accepted the powers of the Principate as conferred by the Senate and entered Rome on March 28 amid a crowd that hailed him as "our baby" and "our star". Caligula is described as the first emperor who was admired by everyone in "all the world, from the rising to the setting sun." Caligula was loved by many for being the beloved son of the popular Germanicus, but also because he was not Tiberius. It was also said by Suetonius that over one-hundred and sixty thousand animals were sacrificed during three months of public rejoicing to usher in his reign. Philo describes the first seven months of Caligula's reign as completely blissful.

Caligula's first acts were said to be generous in spirit, though many were political in nature. To gain support, he granted bonuses to those in the military including the Praetorian Guard, city troops and the army outside of Italy. He destroyed Tiberius' treason papers, declared that treason trials were a thing of the past and recalled exiles. He helped those who had been harmed by the Imperial tax system, banished sex offenders from the empire and put on lavish spectacles for the public, such as gladiator battles. Caligula also collected and brought back the bones of his mother and of his brothers and deposited their remains in the tomb of Augustus.
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2007, 12:50:50 am »




Following an auspicious start to his reign, Caligula fell seriously ill in October of 37. Philo is the sole historian to describe this illness, though Cassius Dio mentions it in passing. Philo claims that Caligula’s increased bath-taking, drinking and sex after becoming emperor caused him to catch the virus. It was said that the entire empire was paralyzed with sadness and sympathy over Caligula’s affliction. Caligula completely recovered from this illness, but Philo highlights Caligula's near-death experience as a turning point in his reign. There is some debate if and when a change in Caligula occurred. Josephus claims that Caligula was a noble and moderate ruler for the first two years of his rule before a turn for the worse occurred.

Shortly after recovering from his illness, Caligula had several loyal individuals killed who had promised their lives for his in the event of a recovery. Caligula had his wife banished and his father-in-law, Marcus Silanus, and his cousin, Tiberius Gemellus, were forced to commit suicide.

There is evidence that the deaths of Silanus and Gemellus were prompted by plots to overthrow Caligula. Philo claims Gemellus, in line to become emperor, plotted against Caligula while he was ill. Silanus, prior to killing himself, was formally put on trial by Caligula. Julius Graecinus was ordered to prosecute Silanus, but refused and was executed as well. It is unknown if the plans of Gemellus and Silanus were related or separate. Suetonius claims that the plots were nothing more than Caligula's imagination.

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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2007, 12:51:46 am »



Quadran celebrating the abolishment of a tax in 38 CE by Caligula. The obverse of the coin contains a picture of the liberty cap which refers the liberation of the people from the tax burden.
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Callisto
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2007, 12:52:33 am »

In 38, Caligula focused his attention on political and public reform. He published the accounts of public funds, which had not been made public during the reign of Tiberius. He aided those who lost property in fires, abolishing certain taxes and gave out prizes to the public and gymnastic events. He also allowed new members into the equestrian and senatorial orders.

Perhaps most significantly, he restored the practice of democratic elections. Cassius Dio said that this act "though delighting the rabble, grieved the sensible, who stopped to reflect, that if the offices should fall once more into the hands of the many ... many disasters would result".

During the same year, though, Caligula also was criticized for executing people without full trials. The most significant execution was that of Macro, to whom, in many ways, Caligula owed his status as emperor.
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2007, 12:54:08 am »

According to Cassius Dio, a financial crisis emerged in 39. Suetonius claims that this crisis began in 38. Caligula’s political payments for support, generosity and extravagance had exhausted the state’s treasury. Ancient historians claim that Caligula began falsely accusing, fining and even killing individuals for the purpose of seizing their estates. A number of other desperate measures by Caligula are described by historians. In order to gain funds, Caligula asked the public to lend the state money. Caligula levied taxes on lawsuits, marriage and prostitution. Caligula began auctioning the lives of the gladiators at shows. Wills that left items to Tiberius were interpreted now to leave the items to Caligula. Centurions who had acquired property during plundering were forced to turn over spoils to the state. The current and past highway commissioners were accused of incompetence and embezzlement and forced to repay money.

A brief famine of an unknown size occurred, perhaps caused by this financial crisis. Suetonius claims that it was from public carriages being seized by Caligula. Seneca claims grain imports were disturbed by Caligula using boats for a pontoon bridge.
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2007, 12:55:00 am »



The Vatican Obelisk was first brought from Egypt to Rome by Caligula. It was the centerpiece of a large racetrack he built.
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2007, 12:56:17 am »

Despite financial difficulties, Caligula embarked on a number of construction projects during his reign. Some were for the public good while others were for himself.

Josephus claims Caligula's greatest contribution was having the harbours at Rhegium and Sicily improved which allowed grain imports from Egypt to increase. These improvements may have been in response to the famine.

Caligula completed the temple of Augustus and the theatre of Pompey and began an amphitheatre beside the Saepta. He also had the imperial palace expanded. He began the aqueducts Aqua Claudia and Anio Novus, which Pliny the Elder considered engineering marvels. He built a large racetrack known as the circus of Gaius and Nero and had an Egyptian obelisk (now known as the Vatican Obelisk) transported to Rome by sea and erected in the middle of it. At Syracuse, he repaired the city walls and the temples of the gods. He had new roads built and pushed to keep roads in good condition. He had planned to rebuild the palace of Polycrates at Samos, to finish the temple of Didymaean Apollo at Ephesus and to found a city high up in the Alps. He also planned to dig a canal through the Isthmus in Greece and sent a chief centurion to survey the work.
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2007, 12:57:13 am »

In 39, Caligula performed a spectacular stunt by ordering a temporary floating bridge to be built using ships as pontoons, stretching for over two miles from the resort of Baiae to the neighboring port of Puteoli. It was said that the bridge was to rival that of Persian King Xerxes' crossing of the Hellespont. Caligula, a man who could not swim, then proceeded to ride his favorite horse, Incitatus, across, wearing the breastplate of Alexander the Great. This act was in defiance of Tiberius' soothsayer Thrasyllus of Mendes prediction that he had "no more chance of becoming emperor than of riding a horse across the Bay of Baiae".

Caligula also had two large ships constructed for himself. These two sunken ships were found at the bottom of Lake Nemi. The ships are among the largest vessels in the ancient world. The smaller of the ships was designed as a temple dedicated to Diana. The larger ship was essentially an elaborate floating palace that counted marble floors and plumbing among its amenities.

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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2007, 12:58:13 am »



The hull of one of two ships recovered from Lake Nemi during the 1930s. This massive vessel served as an elaborate floating palace to the emperor.
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