Roman Emperor Caligula Facts
Fame can be gained in many ways; surely just being an emperor of Rome earned an individual fame. However Caligula became one of the most famous ancient Romans for his
insanity and incredible cruelty. Any kid who has ever been taught about ancient Rome has certainly heard about this insane emperor. In the list of facts on this page you will
learn about this crazy ruler; there is information about what made him go insane, how he treated the people of Rome, and why he was assassinated.
Interesting Facts about Emperor Caligula
- Caligula was born on August 31st in 12 AD.
- He was the emperor of the Roman Empire from 37 AD until his assassination in 41 AD.
- Caligula, meaning "little soldier's boot", was actually his nickname. He got this nickname from the soldiers who served under his famous father Germanicus. His real name was
Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus.
- The twenty four year old Caligula followed Tiberius as emperor. Tiberius died in April of 37 AD after an illness that lasted several weeks. Although it will never be known, it is
rumored that Caligula killed Tiberius by smothering him.
- The citizens of Rome were over joyed when he became emperor. They were glad to be rid of Tiberius, who was a tyrant; also Caligula's father was Germanicus a famous Roman general
loved by the Roman people. The people of Rome hoped Caligula would process the same traits that made his father great.
- Caligula got off to a good start as the emperor of Rome. In fact the people loved him. He freed prisoners who had been unfairly sent to prison by Tiberius. He held grand
events such as gladiator matches and chariot races.
- The citizens of Rome's love for their new emperor would soon turn to utter fear and hate. The young emperor fell ill a few months into his reign and although he survived this
near fatal unknown illness, he emerged a different person, a monster that would terrorize Rome for nearly four years.
- What caused Caligula's illness has been a question historians have pondered over. Some of the causes cited as possibly causing his insanity are epilepsy, meningitis, and
encephalitis (a brain inflammation brought on by an allergic reaction or an infection).
Facts about the Insanity and Cruelty of Emperor Caligula
- He declared that he was a living God.
- He killed anyone who he even suspected of being a threat to his power.
- He killed on a whim. One famous example is when he had several spectators at the Roman Colosseum thrown into the arena to be killed by wild animals simply because he was bored.
- He spent a fortune having a bridge constructed between his palace and the Temple of Jupiter with no concern for many of the Roman citizens who were starving.
Facts about the Assassination of Emperor Caligula
- Caligula's cruelty had earned him many enemies particularly in the Roman Senate which had suffered tremendously under his rule.
- The assassination was planned by officers of the Praetorian Guard who were the Emperor's bodyguards. Their leader was Cassius Chaerea; his personal motivation was that Caligula
constantly insulted him for being, in his eyes, effeminate and weak.
- It is believed that many members of the Senate were involved or at least aware of the plot to kill the emperor.
- The assassination took place in an underground corridor under the imperial palace on Palatine Hill. Cassius Chaerea stabbed the emperor first which was followed by several other
Praetorian Guards stabbing the emperor.
- Caligula's wife and daughter were also later killed by the assassins but Caligula's uncle Claudius escaped them and became the next emperor of Rome.
- The Roman Imperial German Bodyguard, who were loyal to the emperor hunted down those involved in the assassination; killing many of them.
- Cassius Chaerea and members of the Roman Senate attempted to use the assassination to restore the Roman Republic. Cassius Chaerea was unable to convince the military to join in
- Claudius ordered the execution of Cassius Chaerea, the leader of the assassination, and several others who were involved.