• Erika 

Today we learned about Caligula. I’ll be honest, I almost didn’t cover him because it was really hard to dial him down to a kid appropriate level. He was a pretty weird, yucky guy.

Like with last week, I spent a good bit of time reading about Caligula and watching some videos so I would feel really familiar with him and have a good bit of information to pull from.

Caligula family tree

12 AD – 41 AD

Fast Facts

  • Actual name Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
  • Name means “little boots” or “bootykins”
  • Son of Germanicus, great general
  • Grandson of Emperor Augustus
  • His father was killed under suspicious circumstances, his mother and older brothers imprisoned on accusations of treason
  • He was raised by his uncle the Emperor Tiberius 
  • Even at a young age enjoyed watching tortures and executions.
  • “Nursing a viper in Rome’s bosom” -Tiberius
This is a caligae, the “boots” worn by the Roman army which the name Caligula comes from.

Early Emperor

  • Was co-emperor (25) with Tiberius’ son Gemellus, who soon died
  • Ended treason trials, gave the Praetorian Guard long overdue bonuses, brought back many people exiled by Tiberius, lowered taxes
  • Rebuilt decaying temples, began new aqueducts, built a new amphitheater at Pompeii, regularly held gladiatorial games and chariot races = entertainment for people
Roman empire in 1st century

Crazy and Brutal??

  • Raised taxes
  • Executing rivals and close allies , including his first wife
  • Took hundreds of ships to make a 2-mile floating bridge across the Bay of Bauli so he could spend two days galloping back and forth across it.
  • He gave his favorite horse a marble stall, an ivory manger, a jeweled collar, and even a house.
  • Proposed to make his horse a consul
  • Enclosed a temple into his palace so that he “lived with the Gods” because he thought of himself as a god
  • Bankrupting Rome’s treasury with his extravagance
  • Tall, pale, and so hairy that you could be killed for mentioning goats in his presence.
  • During an animal sacrifice “he was about to sacrifice an animal as a sacred offering to the gods. He raised his mallet to kill the animal and brought it down hard. At the last moment, however, he turned and struck a priest standing nearby, who died instantly.”
  • On his way to invade Britain, made his army stop and fight Posideon, the Sea God. After slashing at the sand and waves, he had them fill their helmets with seashells as “the spoils of the conquered ocean.”
  • “Remember that I have the right to do anything to anybody.”
  • Humiliated high ranking senators by making them run for miles in front of this chariot.
  • “Keen interest in witnessing the suffering and torment of those condemned being tortured.”
floating palace
This is part of a lavish floating palace that Caligula had built on a lake.

Ambushed by His Personal Guard

  • Murdered by Praetorian Guard after less than 4 years as Emperor

Check out who we learned about last week
Qin Shi Huang



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