Caius Caesar Caligula

Caius Caesar Caligula--Caligula (b. 12 AD, ruled 37-41) was famous for his cruelty and vice and was killed by the praetorian guard.


Caligula, b. Aug. 31, AD 12, d. Jan. 24, AD 41, Roman emperor from 37 to 41, was the son of Germanicus Caesar and Agrippina I. He grew up in a military camp where his father's soldiers nicknamed him Caligula ("Little baby boots"), but his official name as emperor was Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus. His father died in 19, and his mother and two elder brothers perished in the purge organized by Tiberius. Caligula succeeded, however, in gaining the confidence of Tiberius, and from 32 he lived with the recluse emperor on Capri.

Upon the death of Tiberius, Caligula was proclaimed emperor to the exclusion of Tiberius's own grandson, whom he later executed. He pledged cooperation with the Senate, but he soon began to rule in an autocratic manner. Senatorial propaganda asserted that after an illness in October 37 he became mentally unbalanced. To denigrate the senators, he bestowed the consulship on his horse. His military operations on the Rhine in 39-40 were totally ineffective. He was murdered in a plot conceived by an officer of the Praetorian Guard and was succeeded by his uncle Claudius I.

J. Linderski from the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, 1997

Bibliography: Balsdon, John P. V. D., The Emperor Gaius (Caligula) (1934; repr. 1976); Barrett, Anthony, Caligula (1990).

See more on Caligula in De Imperatoribus Romanis

Caligula on a coin

A marble bust of Caligula