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Bust of Caligula

Caligula (Latin: Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, AD 12 – AD 41) was the third Roman emperor. He reigned from AD 37-41. "Caligula" was a childhood nickname that meant "little boots." He was one of the most hated emperors. He was killed by Cassius, captain of the Praetorian Guard.

Historical accounts depict Caligula as a monster, engaging in horrendous and despicable acts. In Caligula's defense, it should be noted that these accounts originate with senators who felt a need to justify his murder.

The plotters assumed that the Senate would regain power upon Caligula's death. But the Praetorians named Claudius, Caligula's uncle, as emperor. Claudius had avoided Caligula's purges by being (or posing as) a halfwit.

It is possible to detect a certain cynical sense of humor in Caligula's acts of madness and tyranny. For example, it is said that he raised his favorite horse Incitatus to the office of consul, the highest political office in Rome. This story is dubious as the horse's name is not on the list of known consuls.

External links

Caligula With Mary Beard (Ancient Rome Documentary)