Caligula

Roman emperor, Noble person

0012 – 0041

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Who was Caligula?

Caligula, also known as Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 AD to 41 AD. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of Emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most beloved public figures. The young Gaius earned the nickname Caligula from his father's soldiers while accompanying him during his campaigns in Germania.

When Germanicus died at Antioch in 19 AD, his wife Agrippina the Elder returned to Rome with her six children where she became entangled in an increasingly bitter feud with Tiberius. This conflict eventually led to the destruction of her family, with Caligula as the sole male survivor. Unscathed by the deadly intrigues, Caligula accepted the invitation to join the emperor on the island of Capri in 31 AD, where Tiberius himself had withdrawn five years earlier. With the death of Tiberius in 37 AD, Caligula succeeded his great uncle and adoptive grandfather.

There are few surviving sources on Caligula's reign, although he is described as a noble and moderate ruler during the first six months of his rule. After this, the sources focus upon his cruelty, sadism, extravagance, and intense sexual perversity, presenting him as an insane tyrant. While the reliability of these sources has increasingly been called into question, it is known that during his brief reign, Caligula worked to increase the unconstrained personal power of the emperor. He directed much of his attention to ambitious construction projects and notoriously luxurious dwellings for himself. However, he initiated the construction of two new aqueducts in Rome: the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. During his reign, the Empire annexed the Kingdom of Mauretania and made it into a province.

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Born
Aug 31, 0012
Anzio
Also known as
  • Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
  • Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Nationality
  • Roman Empire
Profession
Died
Jan 24, 0041
Palatine Hill
Resting place
Mausoleum of Augustus

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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