Emperor Caligula

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  • Topic: Caligula, Tiberius, Augustus
  • Pages : 2 (690 words )
  • Download(s) : 67
  • Published : April 19, 2006
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Caligula was originally called Gaius. He grew up in a camp as a favorite of his father's soldiers. The troops nicknamed him "Caligula" after the small military boots he wore in camp. His childhood was not a happy one, spent in an atmosphere of paranoia, suspicion, and murder. Uncertainty over the succession of power from the aging Tiberius, led to a series of personal tragedies. His famous father Germanicus, his mother Agrippina the elder and all his brothers were either killed or starved to death by order of the suspicious Emperor Tiberius (reigning at that time) and his ambitious Praetorian Prefect, Sejanus. During his adolescence, Caligula was like a prisoner of Tiberius. By then Tiberius had largely withdrawn from active government and retreated to the island of Capri, where Caligula kept him company and tried to play the part of a dutiful and upright young man. Eventually Tiberius fell ill and went into a coma. The court officials thought he had died and began to congratulate Caligula on his accession, when Tiberius awoke. It is said that the Emperor was smothered with his bedclothes by Caligula's personal assistant. Caligula was in a perfect position to assume power, despite the obstacle of Tiberius's will, which named him and his cousin Tiberius Gemellus joint heirs. (Gemellus's life was shortened considerably by his orders). In the first months Caligula's reign was mild and his policies showed some good judgment. Even then, Caligula took much pleasure in attending executions and he preferred to have them drawn-out. Soon his grandmother Antonia, who might have been a good influence, died. After this, he became very ill and recovered this as a very different man. The real terror of Caligula's mind began to show itself. In a few months he entirely exhausted the treasury, which the late Tiberius had filled by years of economizing. People suspected of disloyalty were executed or driven to suicide. On one occasion, when there weren't enough condemned criminals...
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