The 3rd Emperor of the Roman Empire was a troubled youth named Gaius Julius Augustus Germanicus. We know him better as Caligula or “Little Boots”, a mad and depraved tyrant who ruled for four short years. Believing that he was a living God, he indulged in perverse and bizarre behavior that shocked the Roman populace. If we are to believe all that we read about him, he slept with his sisters – Agrippina, Drusilla and Julia Livilla -and anyone really who caught his fancy. He also devised awful new methods of torture, killed prominent Romans for no good reasons and according to legend fed his favourite horse, Incitatus, at his dinner table. He allegedly even threatened to elevate his horse to the consulship. (The myth that he actually did do it was a fabrication by those that hated him.)

The seemingly strange rule of Caligula came to an end at the hands of members of his own Praetorian Guard. In late January (presumably 24th) of 41 AD, after being repeatedly humiliated (Caligula apparently took to mocking members of his imperial guard), two members (maybe more) of the Praetorian Guards slipped into a remote part of the palace and stabbed him to death. They went on to also murder his wife and baby daughter. As a final act or insult the Senate desecrated his memory and statues throughout the empire in the hope that he might in time be forgotten from the annals of Roman history. But if anything his short lived rule and notoriety as a homicidal maniac only grew exponentially in later generations to what it is today.

Posted by Robert Horvat

Robert Horvat is a Melbourne based blogger. He believes that the world is round and that art is one of our most important treasures. He has seen far too many classic films and believes coffee runs through his veins. As a student of history, he favours ancient and medieval history. Music pretty much rules his life and inspires his moods. Favourite artists include The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Garbage and Lana Del Rey.

3 Comments

  1. I can never see Caligula as anyone other than John Hurt now, thanks to I Claudius. But who’s crazier? Caligula or Nero?

    Reply

    1. Nero was a narcissist, but we can safely assume Caligula was crazier. Both were terrible emperors with Caligula probably narrowly beating Nero as the worst.

      Reply

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