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Lecture 28

HIST 1061 Lecture 28: Caligula

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HIST 1061
Travis Rupp

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Caligula Tiberius willed his throne to Gaius after his death in 37 BC. Gaius got the name Caligula (Little Boots) because he chased his father around in military camps. Caligula hated that name because it was clearly diminutive but because he was one of Romes worst emperors, I will call him Caligula. Caligula suffered from epilepsy and was clearly not all there mentally. Caligula wanted to build a new circus called Caligulas Circus but it was never completed. He also built aqueducts and road systems for the provinces. It seems he was beloved in his first year. However, in AD 38, he became terribly ill mentally and began to commit heinous acts. In addition to epilepsy, he likely suffered from brain fever (inflammation in the brain). He thought he was a God which somehow gave him the power to execute people at random with no trial. He elected his horse Incitatus to consul. He deified his sister while she was still alive but also sexually assaulted her and many other women. He wanted to be referred to as Caligula the God. He built a temple in honor of himself and required the Senate meet there. He directly started the Jewish revolts by building a golden statue in the Temple of Jerusalem. He was just a mentally ill megalomaniac. His reign was just a brief four years thankfully because some emperors far worse than Caligula will rule longer which is terrifying to think about I know. In AD 41, he was at lunch with his friends and they stabbed him to death. His friends were immediately assassinated for their crime. Caligula is the first of 4 emperors to receive Damnatio Memoriae or Damnation from Memory (Domitian Nero and Commodus are the other 3). Damnatio Memoriae is the Romans would forever ruin your legacy. All imagery of the emperor was to be taken down. Anywhere your name was written it was to be erased or crossed out. Any projects undertaken by the emperor
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