62 Facts About Caligula


Caligula was born into the first ruling family of the Roman Empire, conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty.


In 26, Tiberius withdrew from public life to the island of Capri, and in 31, Caligula joined him there.


Caligula 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.


In early 41, Caligula was assassinated as a result of a conspiracy by officers of the Praetorian Guard, senators, and courtiers.


Caligula's death marked the official end of the Julii Caesares in the male line, though the Julio-Claudian dynasty continued to rule until the demise of his nephew, Nero.


Caligula was a nephew of Claudius, Germanicus' younger brother and future emperor.


Caligula had two older brothers, Nero and Drusus, and three younger sisters, Agrippina the Younger, Julia Drusilla and Julia Livilla.

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Caligula wore a miniature soldier's outfit, including army boots and armour.


The adolescent Caligula was sent to live with his great-grandmother, Livia.


Caligula claimed to have planned to kill Tiberius with a dagger to avenge his mother and brother having brought the weapon into Tiberius' bedroom he did not kill the Emperor but threw the dagger down on the floor.


Caligula was briefly married to Junia Claudilla in the year 33, though she died in childbirth the following year.


Caligula spent time befriending the Praetorian prefect, Naevius Sutorius Macro, an important ally.


Rumors circulated that Caligula, possibly assisted by Macro, smothered Tiberius with a pillow, recorded both by Suetonius and Tacitus.


Caligula describes the first seven months of Caligula's reign as completely blissful.


Caligula restored the right to elect praetors to the comitia, which meant in practice that aediles had incentives to spend money to put on lavish spectacles to win popularity.


Caligula took action to win the support of the aristocracy.


Caligula made a public show of burning Tiberius' secret papers, falsely claiming that he had not read them.


Gemellus was required to kill himself on charges of having taken an antidote, "ie implicitly accusing Caligula of wanting to poison him".


Caligula published the accounts of public funds, which had not been made public during the reign of Tiberius.


Caligula aided those who lost property in fires, abolished certain taxes, and gave out prizes to the public at gymnastic events.


Caligula allowed new members into the equestrian and senatorial orders.


Ancient historians state that Caligula began falsely accusing, fining and even killing individuals for the purpose of seizing their estates.


Caligula began auctioning the lives of the gladiators at shows.


Caligula then built a large racetrack known as the circus of Gaius and Nero and had an Egyptian obelisk that was transported by sea and erected in the middle of Rome.


Caligula had new roads built and pushed to keep roads in good condition.

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Caligula 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.


Caligula intended to dig a canal through the Isthmus of Corinth in Greece and sent a chief centurion to survey the work.


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.


Caligula had two large ships constructed for himself.


Caligula reviewed Tiberius' records of treason trials and decided, based on their actions during these trials, that numerous senators were not trustworthy.


Caligula replaced the consul and had several senators put to death.


In 40, Caligula expanded the Roman Empire into Mauretania, a client kingdom of Rome ruled by Ptolemy of Mauretania.


Caligula invited Ptolemy to Rome and then suddenly had him executed.


However, the rebellion of Tacfarinas had shown how exposed Africa Proconsularis was to its west and how the Mauretanian client kings were unable to provide protection to the province, and it is thus possible that Caligula's expansion was a prudent response to potential future threats.


Caligula brought up abortive attempts to extend Roman rule into Britannia.


Ancient sources depict Caligula as being too cowardly to have attacked or as mad, but stories of his threatening decimation indicates mutinies.


Caligula began appearing in public dressed as various gods and demigods such as Hercules, Mercury, Venus and Apollo.


Caligula would appear there on occasion and present himself as a god to the public.


Caligula had the heads removed from various statues of gods located across Rome and replaced them with his own.


Caligula's religious policy was a departure from that of his predecessors.


Caligula took things a step further and had those in Rome, including senators, worship him as a tangible, living god.


Caligula needed to quell several riots and conspiracies in the eastern territories during his reign.


Caligula did not trust the prefect of Egypt, Aulus Avilius Flaccus.


In 38, Caligula sent Agrippa to Alexandria unannounced to check on Flaccus.


Caligula responded by removing Flaccus from his position and executing him.

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However, Caligula issued a second order to have his statue erected in the Temple of Jerusalem.


However, according to Josephus, when the ship carrying the statue was still underway, news of Caligula's death reached Petronius.


Caligula is accused of sleeping with other men's wives and bragging about it, killing for mere amusement, deliberately wasting money on his bridge, causing starvation, and wanting a statue of himself in the Temple of Jerusalem for his worship.


The situation had escalated when, in 40, Caligula announced to the Senate that he planned to leave Rome permanently and to move to Alexandria in Egypt, where he hoped to be worshipped as a living god.


Suetonius sees the motive in Caligula calling Chaerea derogatory names.


Caligula considered Chaerea effeminate because of a weak voice and for not being firm with tax collection.


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 records that Caligula's death resembled that of Julius Caesar.


The facts and circumstances of Caligula's reign are mostly lost to history.


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.


Fabius Rusticus and Cluvius Rufus both wrote condemning histories on Caligula that are now lost.


The bulk of what is known of Caligula comes from Suetonius and Cassius Dio.


The question of whether Caligula was insane remains unanswered.


Philo, Josephus and Seneca state that Caligula was insane, but describe this madness as a personality trait that came through experience.


Seneca states that Caligula became arrogant, angry and insulting once he became emperor and uses his personality flaws as examples his readers can learn from.


Philo reports that Caligula became ruthless after nearly dying of an illness in the eighth month of his reign in 37.


Suetonius said that Caligula had "falling sickness", or epilepsy, when he was young.