Historic Mysteries is an Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases.  Caligula then built a large racetrack known as the circus of Gaius and Nero and had an Egyptian obelisk (now known as the "Vatican Obelisk") that was transported by sea and erected in the middle of Rome. Epub 2016 Feb 6. Caligula is interesting because he's described as incredibly competent early on in his reign. He was accused of raping the wife of one of the eminent senators, and was known to have sexual relationships with his own sisters. Brain fever is a medical infection or an infection caused by bacteria or viruses, which results in inflammation of the brain. This renowned 1976 mini-series (based on the books I, Claudius and Claudius the God by Robert Graves) follows the history of The Roman Empire, from the latter reign of Augustus (starting around 24/23 B.C.) official website and that any information you provide is encrypted Whether all the cruel acts of Caligula are completely or partially true is a question that remains unanswered. Additionally, given Caligula's unpopularity among the surviving sources, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. Long Day's Journey into Night, Dundee Rep," The Herald, 20 April 1994. He has written for 8 years in a variety of fields including history, health and politics. Fever is fever - an elevation of core body temperature. Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (August 31, 12 - January 24, 41 ), most commonly known as Caligula, was the third Roman Emperor and a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, ruling from 37 to 41. Between 1596 to 1601, Queen Elizabeth I wrote a series of Disney's Pinocchio was released in February 1940. In books like sherlock holmes and dracula it is merely a nervous breakdown. University of Glasgow. Modern historians have put forward numerous theories in an attempt to explain these actions.  Reportedly, he began referring to himself as a god when meeting with politicians and he was referred to as "Jupiter" on occasion in public documents. Welcome to r/AskHistorians. (Some scholars think his wife Agrippina, granddaughter of the Emperor Augustus, chose the getup to emphasize her familys imperial pedigree.)  He helped those who had been harmed by the imperial tax system, banished certain sexual deviants, and put on lavish spectacles for the public, including gladiatorial games. Poulter D, Votruba N, Bakolis I, Debell F, Das-Munshi J, Thornicroft G. BMJ Open. en.wikipedia.org 615 25 r/ancientrome Join 4 mo. Seneca's various works give mostly scattered anecdotes on Caligula's personality. "Many of the symptoms and the post-mortem evidence were consistent with some forms of meningitis or encephalitis," writes Peterson.  Caligula's religious policy was a departure from that of his predecessors.  Claudius became emperor after procuring the support of the Praetorian Guard. Think of it as the ancient equivalent of miniature Nikes and tuxedo-imprinted onesies: Even in Roman times, parents liked to proudly dress their progeny in tiny versions of grownup gear. ago The funniest Roman emperor 172 44 r/ancientrome Join 5 mo. Little is written on the first two years of Caligula's reign. According to Suetonius, Caligula's body was placed under turf until it was burned and entombed by his sisters.  Centurions who had acquired property by plunder were forced to turn over spoils to the state. He singlehandedly tore down the empire, drained the treasury and undid most of what .  Tacitus writes that Macro smothered Tiberius with a pillow to hasten Caligula's accession, much to the joy of the Roman people, while Suetonius writes that Caligula may have carried out the killing, though this is not recorded by any other ancient historian. The horse has even made it into the Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: its definition for the name "Incitatus" reads "the name of Caligula's horse, made a consul by the emperor". All this came to an end when Julius Caesar, a successful and popular Roman general and governor, famously crossed the Rubicon river and descended on Rome with his army, something expressly forbidden. Like none, so you could be very corrupt and end up assainated. Before made in China was a shorthand for crappy How musty and stinky were 1800s ballroom parties? Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (August 31, 12 - January 24, 41), most commonly known as Caligula, was the third Roman Emperor and a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, ruling from 37 to 41.  Caligula was briefly married to Junia Claudilla in 33, though she died in childbirth the following year. Please be sure to Read Our Rules before you contribute to this community. There is some evidence that his assassination had political motives, and that some of the assassins sought advancement for themselves in the removal of Caligula.  This act was in defiance of a prediction by Tiberius' soothsayer Thrasyllus of Mendes that Caligula had "no more chance of becoming emperor than of riding a horse across the Bay of Baiae". After a soldier, Gratus, found Claudius hiding behind a palace curtain, he was spirited out of the city by a sympathetic faction of the Praetorian Guard to their nearby camp. Top Image: What caused Caligulas strange transformation?  Pliny claims that division was the work of Caligula, but Dio states that in 42 an uprising took place, which was subdued by Gaius Suetonius Paulinus and Gnaeus Hosidius Geta, and the division only took place after this. Only two sources contemporary with Caligula have survived the works of Philo and Seneca.  The Death of Caligula (Jan Luyken / Public Domain), https://www.thegreatcoursesdaily.com/caligula-the-embodiment-of-cruelty/, https://www.museumcenter.org/the-curious-curator/2020/6/19/caligula-mad-or-misunderstood, https://www.magellantv.com/articles/sex-and-violence-in-rome-caligulas-empire-and-the-salacious-rumors-that-built-it-. He was tyrannical, possibly insane, and had tendencies towards debauchery and even the merciless taking of life. Caligula did not trust the prefect of Egypt, Aulus Avilius Flaccus. "Mister Cameron - I have read the unexpurgated Ovid, the love poems of Sappho, the Decameron in the original, and a great many texts in Greek and Latin histories that were not though fit for proper gentlemen to read, much less proper ladies. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns. Charry-Snchez JD, Velez-VAN-Meerbeke A, Palacios-Snchez L. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. Just wondering after they said he got something the history books described as brain fever (possible meningitis or poisoning? Some charge him with madness and attribute it to his illness in A.D. 37, whereas others believe it occurred later, or else had nothing to do with his sickness.We have no real evidence to reconstruct his mental state. Everyone was prepared for the worst when Caligula fell ill. He finds out that Macro was grooming Gemellus for the throne if anything should happen to Caligula. At the other end of the spectrum is Emperor Caligula who the historian Suetonius (c. 69 - c. 130/140 CE) simply calls a monster. , Germanicus died at Antioch, Syria province, in AD19, aged only 33. He had his father-in-law Marcus Junius Silanus and his brother-in-law Marcus Lepidus executed as well. She then starved herself to death while in prison, four years before her son Caligula came into power. The internet is awash with articles and blogs chewing over whether it is really true.  The validity of these accounts is debatable.  Caligula reportedly talked to the full moon: Epilepsy was long associated with the moon..  The plot is described as having been planned by three men, but many in the Senate, army and equestrian order were said to have been informed of it and involved in it.  Seneca the Elder and Philo, who both wrote during Tiberius' reign, as well as Josephus, record Tiberius as dying a natural death. There were certainly some advantages to imperial rule. Accessibility March, 37 CE: At about 25 years old, Caligula was named Rome's third emperor, the first direct descendant of Augustus to take the throne (click here for a coin on which Caligula emphasizes this relationship). ago During his reign, the empire annexed the client kingdom of Mauretania as a province. Med Hist.  According to Josephus, these actions led to several failed conspiracies against Caligula. Available at:https://www.museumcenter.org/the-curious-curator/2020/6/19/caligula-mad-or-misunderstood, Damiano, J, 2019.  Based on scientific reconstructions of his official painted busts, Caligula had brown hair, brown eyes, and fair skin. On 17 January 2011, police in Nemi, Italy, announced that they believed they had discovered the site of Caligula's burial, after arresting a thief caught smuggling a statue which they believed to be of the emperor. His uncle Claudius was spared only because Caligula preferred to keep him as a laughing stock. Caligula was only the third Roman emperor, ascending to the imperial throne in 37 AD. Can someone clear this up for me, google isn't satisfying.  Meanwhile, both Caligula's mother and his brother Drusus died in prison. , In October 37, Caligula fell seriously ill or perhaps was poisoned. The Senate had become accustomed to ruling without an emperor between the departure of Tiberius for Capri in 26 and Caligula's accession. The bulk of what is known of Caligula comes from Suetonius and Cassius Dio. His gesture of lowering the taxes on sales of the slaves pleased the upper-class Romans as well as the Senate. Rome would never be a republic again. The strange behavior of emperor Gaius has been the subject of debate for many historians. Claudius granted a general amnesty, although he executed a few junior officers involved in the conspiracy, including Chaerea. HHS Vulnerability Disclosure, Help  After the death of his father, Caligula lived with his mother, Agripinna the Elder, until her relations with Tiberius deteriorated. The smaller ship was designed as a temple dedicated to Diana. But, after his recovery, there was a striking change in his behavior. Would you like email updates of new search results?  Historians describe a number of Caligula's other desperate measures. Caligula, on the other hand, was a boisterous young man in his mid-twenties.  A conspiracy involving his brother-in-law was foiled in late 39. . In the centuries before the birth of Christ, the pre-eminent power of the northern shores of the Mediterranean was the Roman Republic. Caligula: The Embodiment of Cruelty. Caligula also made a significant attempt at expanding into Britannia. Ancient historians state that Caligula began falsely accusing, fining and even killing individuals for the purpose of seizing their estates. His younger sisters were Julia Drusilla, Agrippina the Younger, and Julia Livilla. Like none, so you could be very corrupt and end up assainated. His younger sisters were Julia Drusilla, Agrippina the Younger, and Julia Livilla. Palmerini, Luca M.; Mistretta, Gaetano (1996). , Philo of Alexandria and Seneca the Younger, contemporaries of Caligula, describe him as an insane emperor who was self-absorbed and short-tempered, killed on a whim, and indulged in too much spending and sex.  Once, at some games at which he was presiding, he was said to have ordered his guards to throw an entire section of the audience into the arena during the intermission to be eaten by the wild beasts because there were no prisoners to be used and he was bored. Afterward, his behavior changed. Some charge him with madness and attribute it to his illness in A.D. 37, whereas others believe it occurred later, or else had nothing to do with his sickness.We have no real evidence to reconstruct his mental state.  He does point out, however, that it is difficult to ascertain whether the purported 'squandered wealth' was from the treasury alone due to the blurring of "the division between the private wealth of the emperor and his income as head of state.  These wounded conspirators were treated by the physician Arcyon.  To the surprise of many, Caligula was spared by Tiberius. Roman territories continued to expand for another 150 years, and wealth poured into the capital. Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Archaeologists unearth place where Emperor Caligula met his end", "The True Colours Of Greek and Roman Statues By Archaeologist Vinzenz Brinkmann", "Caligula's tomb found after police arrest man trying to smuggle statue", "Roman Empire Caligula The Mad Emperor Netflix release date, cast, trailer, plot", The portrait of Caligula in the Digital Sculpture Project, Caligula Attempts to Conquer Britain in AD 40, Franz Lidz, "Caligula's Garden of Delights, Unearthed and Restored", New York Times, Jan. 12, 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Caligula&oldid=1133277788, Caligula is a character in the 2015 NBC series, A young Caligula appears as one of the characters in, This page was last edited on 13 January 2023, at 00:36. I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. March, 37 CE: At about 25 years old, Caligula was named Rome's third emperor, the first direct descendant of Augustus to take the throne (click here for a coin on which Caligula emphasizes this relationship). But assuming the much-maligned emperor was the loon his chroniclers describe, some scholars have suggested that an illness made him come unhingedpossibly temporal lobe epilepsy, hyperthyroidism or Wilsons disease, an inherited disorder that can cause mental instability. Caesars adopted son Octavian became the next caesar and the Roman Empire was born.  Backed by Macro, Caligula had Tiberius' will nullified with regard to Gemellus on grounds of insanity, but he otherwise carried out Tiberius' wishes.  The cause of tensions in the east was complicated, involving the spread of Greek culture, Roman law and the rights of Jews in the empire.  It is said that he wished to be worshipped as Neos Helios, the "New Sun". He gained the nickname 'Caligula' which means 'Little Boots' because of the military regalia he wore as a child.  The adolescent Caligula was sent to live with his great-grandmother (Tiberius' mother), Livia; After her death, he was sent to live with his grandmother Antonia Minor. "Spaghetti Nightmares".  Suetonius places the beginning of this crisis in 38. The reign began with good feelings all around, since Caligula declared an amnesty for all Romans imprisoned or exiled under Tiberius, posthumously restored honor to his mother and brothers, and stopped the treason trials, getting rid of the informers in the process.  In 30, his brother Drusus was imprisoned on charges of treason, and his brother Nero died in exile from either starvation or suicide. Find out whether the much-maligned emperor was as crazy as they say. And so, when the respected general Germanicus brought his son Gaius on campaign, the tyke sported soldiers footwear, or caligae, scaled down to his size. Caligula : I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night. It has been Caligula fell ill from fever at the same time as his wife's pregnancy with a daughter, and he would recover; however, Julia Drusilla collapsed from fever as his daughter Drusilla the Younger was born in a public ceremony.  Details recorded on the events vary somewhat from source to source, but they agree that Chaerea stabbed Caligula first, followed by a number of conspirators.  Suetonius claims that Caligula was already cruel and vicious: he writes that when Tiberius brought Caligula to Capri, his purpose was to allow Caligula to live in order that he "prove the ruin of himself and of all men, and that he was rearing a viper for the Roman people and a Phaethon for the world.  He wore a miniature soldier's outfit, including army boots (caligae) and armour. March, 37 CE: At about 25 years old, Caligula was named Rome's third emperor, the first direct descendant of Augustus to take the throne (click here for a coin on which Caligula emphasizes this relationship). He was the third child of Augustus Caesar's granddaughter, Agrippina the Elder, and her husband, the Roman general Germanicus.As a . Although he recovered, his mental condition seemed quite changed, and his descent into madness began.  It was said that the bridge was to rival the Persian king Xerxes' pontoon bridge crossing of the Hellespont.  Perhaps most significantly, he restored the practice of elections.  The mission may have been to accept the surrender of the British chieftain Adminius. The larger ship was essentially an elaborate floating palace with marble floors and plumbing. Supposedly Tiberius knew of this but never dared to do anything about it.  The ships burned in 1944 after an attack in the Second World War; almost nothing remains of their hulls, though many archaeological treasures remain intact in the museum at Lake Nemi and in the Museo Nazionale Romano (Palazzo Massimo) at Rome. Caligula's excesses knew no bounds, and he introduced heavy taxation to help pay for his personal expenditure.  This diagnosis is mainly attributed to Caligula's irritability and his "stare" as described by Pliny the Elder. He amazed the soldiers as he dressed up in a miniature outfit of the soldiers and also wore armor and boots. He was keen to experiment with the opportunities his position allowed him, adopting ceremonies and dress that were.  Juvenal reports he was given a magic potion that drove him insane. Caligula was murdered by Cassius Chaerea and Cornelius they were  An observer said of Caligula, "Never was there a better servant or a worse master! Caligula : If only all of Rome had just one neck.  Additionally, Tiberius' treason trials had eliminated a number of pro-Julian senators such as Asinius Gallus. On the day of the assassination of Caligula, the Praetorians declared Caligula's uncle, Claudius, as the next emperor. Or, faced with absolute power, did he allow himself to be corrupted absolutely? Claudius was Caligula's uncle. EPILEPSY Most historians agree that epilepsy is the most likely candidate for Caligula's illness. The site is secure. WATCH: Full episodes of Colosseum online now.  This campaign is derided by ancient historians with accounts of Gauls dressed up as Germanic tribesmen at his triumph and Roman troops ordered to collect seashells as "spoils of the sea". Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. , Details on the Mauretanian events of 3944 are unclear. P. Bicknell, "The Emperor Gaius' Military Activities in AD 40". Evidence for Caligula's life is sparse, as the work of Tacitus for this period is lost. Caligula was deranged, and absolute power corrupted his ability to think rational and remain just. He staged a number of chariot races, beast hunts, entertainments, and spectacles in order to amuse the inhabitants of the city. Disclaimer, National Library of Medicine In 1979 the film Caligula, directed by Tinto Brass and starring Malcolm McDowell, shocked the world with its explicit portrayal of the emperors cruel and salacious escapades. Proculus : Divine Ceasar, PLEASE! Please read the rules before participating, as we remove all comments which break the rules. Moreover, like his father, Germanicus had been very popular among the Romans, seen as another Alexander the Great due to his military victories and early death.  As a result, riots broke out in the city. Whether this change was an effect of the illness, as some sources claim, or whether his true nature began to assert itself once he felt securely in charge, is unclear. I cant imagine you will find a definite answer on this.  Suetonius reports that other senators were degraded by being forced to wait on him and run beside his chariot. p. 111. Available at:https://www.thegreatcoursesdaily.com/caligula-the-embodiment-of-cruelty/, Shirkey, L, 2020. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027892. Rampaging through Rome committing murder, adultery and acts of debauchery, his reign came to an abrupt end when he was brutally assassinated after only four years. He directed much of his attention to ambitious construction projects and luxurious dwellings for himself, and he initiated the construction of two aqueducts in Rome: the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. But if his leadership skills were so abysmal, some scholars have argued, how did he wind up annexing new provinces, expanding westward and formulating a feasible plan to take over Britain? , When Tiberius died on 16 March AD37, his estate and the titles of the principate were left to Caligula and to Tiberius' own grandson, Gemellus, who were to serve as joint heirs. Thr documentation is scarce and this is the first i heard of this. and transmitted securely. Ancient sources, like Roman biographers Suetonius and Cassius Dio, describe Caligula having a "brain fever." Philo of Alexandria reports it was nothing more than a nervous breakdown, as Caligula was not used to the pressures of constant attention after being out of the public eye for most of his life. Additionally, the historians who wrote them are described as biased, either overly critical or praising of Caligula. father, Germanicus.  To gain support, he granted bonuses to the military, including the Praetorian Guard, city troops and the army outside Italy. After marrying Germanicus, she defied tradition by accompanying him on his military campaigns in Germania, reportedly acting as an adviser and diplomat. 2019 Jul 1;9(7):e027892. , In 38, Caligula focused his attention on political and public reform.  Modern historians have theorized that Caligula lived with a daily fear of seizures.  Caligula responded by removing Flaccus from his position and executing him. In the manner of the eastern monarchs, Caligula had Drusilla deified; she was the first Roman woman ever officially declared a deity, but her divinity did not survive his reign because he had so egregiously flouted Roman precedent (in contrast, when Claudius had Livia deified, he emphasized her role as diva Augusta, wife and mother of emperors).  Nonetheless, these lost primary sources, along with the works of Seneca and Philo, were the basis of surviving secondary and tertiary histories on Caligula written by the next generations of historians. He was all-powerful under the new Roman order, he could do what he wanted, and so he did. A prominent figure in political circles, she also spoke out against Augustus successor Tiberius, whom she hated. Cassius Dio's work is invaluable because it alone gives a loose chronology of Caligula's reign. And Tacitus, during a lengthy diatribe in which he accuses Caligulas sister Agrippinawife of the Emperor Claudiusof incest with her son, never implicates her brother.  This confusion might mean that Caligula decided to divide the province, but the division was postponed because of the rebellion. He was the son of the Roman general Germanicus and Augustus' granddaughter Agrippina the Elder. Helen Mirren in a scene from .  Gaius reportedly grew to dislike the nickname. Caligula had the heads removed from various statues of gods located across Rome and replaced them with his own.  Augustus had the public worship his spirit on occasion, but Dio describes this as an extreme act that emperors generally shied away from. , Caligula's sister, Agrippina the Younger, wrote an autobiography that certainly included a detailed explanation of Caligula's reign, but it too is lost. The Germanic guard killed several assassins and conspirators, along with some innocent senators and bystanders. Do they mean he came to his senses after 3 months but was still functional enough to eat/drink because without IV he couldn't have survived a coma? If not, then the corrupting influence of such power should teach a cautionary lesson to those who desire such a system today. There are many reasons for fever. At the time of his accession, he was just 25 years old. When Germanicus died under suspicious circumstances, Agrippina boldly accused one of his rivals of poisoning him.  He ordered a new set of investigations and trials.  Caligula's first acts were said to be generous in spirit, though many were political in nature. Skip to content.  Some modern historians think that Caligula had hyperthyroidism. A few of the contemporaneous historians are known by name.  The Senate attempted to use Caligula's death as an opportunity to restore the Republic. While the reliability of these sources is questionable, it is known that during his brief reign, Caligula worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor, as opposed to countervailing powers within the principate.  The Temple of Castor and Pollux on the forum was linked directly to the imperial residence on the Palatine and dedicated to Caligula. If you are referring to brain fever as a fever where the normal regulation of body temperature by the brain is out of whack, then that can happen by a variety of reasons.  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 neighbouring port of Puteoli.  He levied taxes on lawsuits, weddings and prostitution.  Agrippa finally convinced Caligula to reverse the order. According to Suetonius, Caligula in his infinite profligacy once constructed a temporary floating bridge across the Bay of Baiae just so he could ride triumphantly from one end to the other. He ordered a number of citizens of Rome murdered under the flimsiest of pretexts, torturing the victims and taking pleasure in their pain. Caligula, byname of Gaius Caesar, in full Gaius Caesar Germanicus, (born August 31, 12 ce, Antium, Latium [Italy]died January 24, 41, Rome), Roman emperor from 37 to 41 ce, in succession after Tiberius. AutoModerator 3 yr. ago Welcome to r/AskHistorians. Praxis (Bern 1994). Caesar installed himself as perpetual dictator, as an emergency action in response to a perceived crisis. Among the great emperors of the Roman Empire stand Augustus and Marcus Aurelius. This trip to the English Channel could have merely been a training and scouting mission. ), they went onto say he woke up after 3 months!  He had his cousin and adopted son Tiberius Gemellus executed an act that outraged Caligula's and Gemellus' mutual grandmother Antonia Minor. So, he may have decided to punish people who were a threat to him and his position. Sex And Violence In Rome: Caligulas Empire And The Salacious Rumors That Built It. TIL that "Caligula" was a nickname given to Gaius Caesar as a toddler by his father's soldiers because he had a little soldier's outfit, including tiny, hobnailed boots (caligae) such as the infantry wore. PMC  Caligula completed the temple of Augustus and the theatre of Pompey and began an amphitheatre beside the Saepta. In fact, they found out almost immediately. Either affectionately or mockingly, Germanicus troops called the boy Caligula, meaning Little Boots or Booties. The nickname stuck, but Gaius reportedly hated it.  Suetonius writes that after the banishment of his mother and brothers, Caligula and his sisters were nothing more than prisoners of Tiberius under the close watch of soldiers. FOIA Suetonius said that Caligula had "falling sickness", or epilepsy, when he was young. CALIGULA (Latin: Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus;  31 August 12 AD - 24 January 41 AD), also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD.