Brief biography of Caligula, madness to power

Brief biography of Caligula, madness to power

Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known as Caligula, It's one of the roman emperors who will be remembered for imposing a authoritarian state and the divinization of the emperor.

Caligula Biography

He was born in Antium, now Anzio, on August 31, year 12. He was the son of Germanicus and Agrippina and was the successor to Emperor Tiberius.

His nickname, Caligula, it was given to him because when he was young he wore the warm, sandals that Roman soldiers used to wear.

For several years of his youth, he lived at the court of Tiberius, his adoptive grandfather, where he was held in high esteem.

Despite tragic events such as the death of his mother and his brothers, Nero and Drusus, he showed no feeling and with great mastery concealed his ambitions.

In this way, he managed to gain the favor of Tiberius and that he will name him his successor, although it also gave Tiberius Twin some power. But nevertheless, the Senate decided to grant Caligula all powers and thus they ignored Tiberius Twin. Came to power after the death of Tiberius in the year 37.

Caligula the emperor

Having the support and appreciation of the people, the news was very well received and it was even more appreciated when he began to realize the hopes and wishes that had been placed in him.

As main measures he decided to burn all the papers of the previous emperor, granted amnesties for all those who had been condemned in the time of the previous emperor, he decided adopt Tiberius Twin and gave him the title of Prince of Youth, he was generous and considerate of the peopleorganizing large circus shows among other things, he gratified the soldiers and decided to return the full exercise of their rights to the magistrates.

Such was the enthusiasm of the people that they organized thousands of sacrifices to the gods, reaching the figure of 160,000 victims, in order to thank them for having sent them such an emperor benevolent and fair.

Therefore, it was decreed that his birthday be celebrated in style.

The decline of an emperor

However, this all ended eight months later when the emperor fell ill due to excesses to which he submitted.

His character hardened, turning surly and authoritarian, as if a furious madness were dominating him.

The Caligula murders

One of the first measures he took in this second stage of his reign was kill his cousin Tiberius Twin without trial, his father-in-law Silano, the chief of the Praetorians Macrón and his wife, who had been his lover.

He also took action regarding his own family, as expelled his sisters from the palace, sending them to desert islands. Virtually all patrician or noble families had some death to their credit.

Deaths in the circus

With respect to the people he showed cruel and merciless.

Anecdotes are known such as that one day in a circus show criminals were missing to face the beasts, so he sent arrest multiple bystanders to please the animals.

He also forced the parents see how they murdered their children to die the next day.

Caligula's Extravagances

He imposed a kind of monarchy on the court more similar to the one shown in eastern kingdoms than the typical government of Rome.

He promoted the divinization of the emperor, caused him to be worshiped as one of them under the name of Latial Jupiter.

One of his extravagances was that he also be worshiped as a goddess, showing themselves with the costumes of the goddesses Venus or Diana before the common people.

A temple was built where a gold statue representing him was installed.

Furthermore, he brought to light his family past by stating that he was joined Marco Antonio thanks to his grandmother Antonia, direct descendant.

Quickly the coffers of the empire were emptyTherefore, faced with the need to pay the troops and pay for court parties, he decided to take several measures.

Among them, the brutal tax hike and removal of senators in order to get hold of their goods, as well as people from the palace with possible ones.

In fact, annulled the wills of those centurions of the army who had not named him or Tiberius heir.

Upon learning that many of them had tested in his favor, he decided eliminate the richest and thus increase the money in the coffers.

Incitato: Caligula's horse

Perhaps this is his most famous extravagance, the relationship he had with his horse Incitato.

First, he ordered the construction of a marble stable with ivory mangers for his exclusive use, but not satisfied with it, he granted him an entire villa with gardens and 18 slaves for his personal care.

Further, slept with purple blankets (the most expensive dye in Ancient Rome, reserved for the imperial family) and she wore gemstone necklaces.

Even more curious, according to the writer and historian Suetonius, what Caligula wanted to appoint Incitatus consul.

But here we must make a consideration. This act has always been taken as a sign of his madness, but in reality it was a clear demonstration of Caligula's contempt for the Senate, whom he considered "servile and cowardly."

CasioHe tells us that he ate oat flakes mixed with soft and very thin gold flakes, that he drank the best wine in golden glasses, devoured mice, squid, mussels and chicken; she wore purples of the best quality and wore jeweled necklaces; his partner would have been a mare named Penelope, and she had been chosen by Caligula as the wife of his beloved horse.

Incitatus even became part of the table where its owner, Caligula, ate.

Caligula's foreign policy

In his foreign policy, he emphasizes that he magnified the empire thanks to the acquisition of new vassal kingdoms in the East.

However, it neglected the western territories. As an anecdote to highlight an expedition led by 200,000 soldiers to invade Britain.

After boarding the ships and moving somewhat away from the Gallic coast, he sent back, prepare the war machines, and then ordered his soldiers fill their pockets and helmets with shells.

Returning to Rome, he showed the spoils of shells like i wona great battle.

His lack of morale reached the point of maintain brothels in the capital and keep incestuous relationships with her sisters.

In fact, he fell in love with one of them, Drusilla. Also kept homosexual relationships with Lepidus and Nestor.

I try to burn literary works as the Virgil and Livy, also highlighting the works on jurisprudence, arguing that the only existing law was his will.

In 39 he launched a expedition to Germania and northern Gaul.

During the expedition there were various conspiracies against him, one of them organized that same year by Cneo Cornelio Lentulo and Marco Emilio Lépido, husband of his sister Drusila.

Time after, his own personal guard organized another conspiracy which this time was successful and Quereas, a tribune of the Praetorians supported by various conspirators, ended the life of the emperor on January 24, 41.

Cover image: Depositphotos

With a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was a child I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.


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