Caligula, the Caesar to whom everything was permitted

Caligula (31 August 12 at Antium - 24 January 41 in Rome) is the third Roman Emperor, reigning from 37 to 41, succeeding Tiberius.


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After a promising beginning of his reign, in which he enjoyed great favor from the Roman people.

He gradually became an autocratic emperor, neglecting and murdering those who had supported his rise, while harboring great hatred for the Senate. He was killed by several members of the Praetorian Guard in Rome in 41.

The Roman Emperor Caligula was born on August 31, 12 in Antio (Italy). He died on January 24, 41 in Rome (Italy). He was known for his cruelty.

A Roman emperor, grandnephew and adopted son of the emperor Tiberius, whom he succeeded between the years 37 and 41.

Born on August 31st of the year 12, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus is nicknamed Caligula, which means "small sandals" in Latin, due to the small shoes he wears in the military field.

He became the third Roman Emperor after the death of Emperor Tiberius in 37, at the age of only 25.

Caligula was an emperor loved by the people from the beginning, who appeased Rome after the end of Tiberius' turbulent reign.

But, after only 6 months, his behavior and actions change abruptly, revealing a violent and cruel emperor.

Very quickly, the emperor adopts a tyrannical behavior, and goes so far as to murder those who helped him come to power.

A megalomaniac, he considers himself a relative of Jupiter and multiplies monstrous acts, both towards the population and towards those close to him. He even has an incestuous relationship with his sister Drusilla.

In the days following his sister's funeral, he forbids the Romans to laugh or go to the baths, and even suspends Senate business.

A last conspiracy finally prevailed over the princes: in 41 A.D., after three years, ten months and eight days of reign according to Suetonius, he was killed at the age of 28 by the soldiers of his guard, without knowing who the commander was. In all probability, it was a domestic rather than a political assassination.

The Senate, probably after more or less questionable agreements, granted the principality to his uncle Claude.

He later married another sister of Caligula, Agrippina the Younger, the mother of the future Nero, the last of the Julius-Claudians.

Just after Tiberius, Caligula, who is still from the same imperial family (the Julius-Claudians), is another extreme example of the amazing Roman political system.

Family succession had placed him on the throne, institutions could not evict him and conspiracies could never bring him down: seduced by the East, he pretended to reign in Rome as an Eastern prince who, like a living God, disposes of his subjects as objects and is accountable to no one.

Key dates

January 24, 41: Murder of Caligula

Emperor Caligula, great-grandson of Antony, is killed by soldiers of the Praetorian Guard. The madness that had struck the emperor shortly after his arrival (37) had turned him into a bloodthirsty and megalomaniacal tyrant.

He did not hesitate to despise his subjects by saying of them, "Let them hate me while they fear me," and he considered himself the "New Sun.

Legend also has it that he had bred his favorite horse up to the rank of consul. His murder was experienced in Rome as a liberation.

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