Caligula Reign of Madness


caligula 1Caligula (reign 37 AD-41AD) was born Gaius Julius Caesar, He was name after his ancester Gaius Julius Caesar. It is believed that he was born somewhere at Tiber but according to Pliny the Elder he was born in Treveri in a village of Ambitarvium. Agrippina bore 3 girls Agrippina the Younger, Drusilla, and Livilla and 3 boys Nero, Drusus and Gaius (later knows as Caligula). Little Gaius earned his surname when Agrippina dressed Gaius in a miniature soldiers uniform with soldiers boots name caliga, which meant “”little boots”” Gaius saw his father Germanicus go into battle to defeat the Germanic Tribes that massacred the legions of Publius Quinctilius Varus. One of the worst defeats in Roman history. On Germanicus return from Germania to Rome he had a magnificent triumph. Later on was sent to Syria and suddenly fell ill and died. It has been said that Gnaeus Piso was the one that poisoned Germanicus on orders of Tiberius. Later on Piso was executed or commited suicide. Germanicus last words were said to be to Agrippina telling her that he suspected that Tiberius had sent someone to poison him and to stay quiet for the sake of their children. It was wise advise but agrippina did not listen instead spoke publicly about Tiberius. Later Tiberius persuaded the Senate to execute Agrippina, Nero and Drusus as public enemies. The 3 girls and lil Gaius were saved by their youth but Nero, Drusus and Agrippina the Elder weren’t so lucky. They were first exiled on a remote island. Agrippina is believed to starved to death and Nero and Drusus either commited suicide or starved to death. The children were sent with their grandmother Livia then after she died with their other grandmother Antonia.

With the death of his mother and 2 brothers Gaius didn’t have anyone but his sisters to turn to. According to Suetonius he had incest with his sister drusilla. While living with his grandmother with Antonia he was summoned by Tiberius on the island of Capreae at the age of 18. Gaius didn’t know what to expect and was scared and nervous at the time. Courtiers tried every trick to lure or force him into making complaints againts Tiberius; always, however, without success. Tiberius ¬†once said:

I am nursing a viper for the Roman people!

Soon Gaius married Junia Claudilla, daughter of Marcus Silanus. Later on died in childbirth. He was appointed Augur, in the place of his brother Drusus, and then promoted Priesthood. This encouraged him to become Tiberius successor.

In Capraea he witnessed many executions of condemned. He loved watching excutions. They were throwned off a cliff and by any chance they would of survived there were sailors waiting to strike them in the head to death. Gaius loved seeing tortures and executions. At night he would wear a cloak and wig to go out to orgies and adulterous livings. He mentioned once tha at night once he went into Tiberius bedroom, he sneaked in with a dagger with the intent, only to avenge his mother and brothers, But only in pity, threw the dagger and went out. Tiberius was perfectly aware of what had happened, yet never dared to question him or take any action on the matter.

Some believe the downfall of Sejanus was he was trying to murder the Imperial Family. Sejanus was summoned by Tiberius, then executed. According to Suetonius he murdered Drusus, Tiberius son, so with that he had no option but to make Gaius and Gemellus his Heirs. It was also said that Gaius smothered him with a pillow and then asked for Tiberius ring. When the news arrived to Rome “”one might almost say, to the whole world – like a dream come true.””


On the arrival, the Senate granted him full powers and authority upon him. He delivered a funeral speech in Tiberius honor to a vast crowd and gave him a magnificent burial. As soon it was over he sailed to Pandataria and the Pontian Islands to fetch batch the remains of his mother and his brother Nero. He arranged that the most distinguished Knights available should carry them to the Mausoleum in two Biers. He chose his uncle Claudius as his Co-Consul and adopted Tiberius Gemellus when he came of age, also giving him the official title “”Prince of Youth.”” He recalled all exiles and the dismissal of all criminals charges whatsoever that had been pending. He completed certain projects half finished by Tiberius: namely, the Temple of Augustus and Pompey’s Theater; and began the construction of an aqueduct in the Tibur district, and of an amphitheatre near the Enclosure. Gaius also built the ruinous ancient walls and temples of Syracuse.


When he fell ill, anxious crowds besieged the palace all night. Some swore that they would fight as gladiators if the gods allowed him to recover. Others even carried placards volunteering to die instead of him. After his recovery his reign of terror began. Gemellus was among the first to die. Anyone who criticized him or his entertainment was to put death. Anyone who had finer hair than his was put to death. Once there was a condemned man in the arena that yelled out that he was innocent, Caligula pulled him out of the arena had his tongue cut off and then carried out the sentence.

He made advances to almost every woman of rank in Rome. After inviting a section of them to dinner wit their husbands he would slowly and carefully examine each in turn while they passed his couch, whenever he felt so inclined he would send for whoever pleased him the best and leave the banquet in her company. A little later he would return, showing obvious signs what he had been about, and openly discuss his bed-fellow in detail, dwelling on her good and bad physical points and commenting on her sexual performance, to some of these unfortunates. He issued, and publicly registered, divorces in the names of their absent husbands.

Often he would he would send for men whom he had secretly killed, as though they were still alive, and remark off-handedly a few days later that they must of committed suicide. More than once he closed granaries and let the people go hungry. At one time he collected wild animals for one of his shows. He found butcher’s meat too expensive and decided to feed them criminals instead. Many were condemned in cages and had to crouch on all four like animals, or were sawn in half but merely criticizing his shows, or failing to swear by his genius.

The method of execution he preferred was to inflict numerous small woulds; and his familiar order: ‘Make him feel that he is dying!’ soon became proverbial. Once, when the wrong man had been killed, owing to a confusion of names, he announced that the victim had equally deserved death; and often quoted Accius’ line:

Let the hate me, so long as they fear me

When his sister Drusilla died he made it a capital ofence to take a shower or have dinner with your families. He made a magnificent funeral for her. He exiled his two sisters for a conspiracy and tried to assassinate him and put their husbands to death.

Soon he met Caesonia, she was neither young nor beautiful, and had three daughters by a former husband, Besides being recklessly extravagant and utterly promiscous. Yet he loved her with a passionate faithfulness and often, when reviewing the troops, used to take her out riding in helmet, cloak, and shields. For his friends he even paraded her naked; but would not allow her the dignified title of wife until she borne him a child. He name the child Julia Drusilla, and carried her around the temples of all the goddesses in turn before finally entrusting her to the lap of Minerva.

On 24 January just past the midday, Gaius seated in the Theater, he could not make up his mind whether to adjourn for lunch; he felt a little queasy after too heavy a banquet on the previous night. His friends persuaded him to come out with them. Chaerea came up behind Gaius as he stood talking to the boys and with a cry of ‘Take this!’ gave him a deep sword-wound in the neck, whereupon Sabinus, the other colonel, stabbed him in the breast. Gaius lay writhing on the ground. ‘Im still alive!’ he shouted, but the word came around ‘strike again’ he succumbed to thirty further wounds, including sword-thrusts thorough the genitals. His bearers rushed to help him, using their litter-poles and soon his German bodyguards appeared, killing several of the assassins and a few innocent senators into the bargains.

He died at the age of twenty-nine after ruling for three years and ten months, and eight days. his body was moved secretly to the Lamian Gardens, half-cremated on a hastily-built pyre, an then buried beneath a shallow covering of sods. Later when his sister returned from exile they exhumed, cremated and entombed it. His wife Caesonia and his daughter had the same fate as Gaius and did not survived. They were both also assassinated by the pretorian guards.

source: Suetonius – The Twelve Caesars

Caligulas death


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