Hay Caesar (Caligula)

Hay Caesar (Caligula)

Roman Emperor
Date of Birth: 31.08.0012
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Gaius Caesar (Caligula)
  2. The Rise to Power
  3. Early Reign
  4. Decline and Assassination
  5. Tyrannical Rule and Assassination
  6. Tyranny and Fall
  7. Monarchic-Theocratic Rule

Biography of Gaius Caesar (Caligula)

Gaius Julius Caesar, also known as Caligula, was a Roman emperor from the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He was born in the year 12 and spent his childhood in military camps, as his mother constantly accompanied his father, Germanicus. In 31 AD, when he turned 19, his father had long been dead and his mother and two older brothers were already in decline, he was summoned by Tiberius to Capri. At the time of Tiberius' death, Gaius was considered a private citizen, he was 25 years old, and he was the co-heir with the even younger Tiberius Gemellus. According to Roman legal concepts, he had no legal status. However, as the son of Germanicus, young Gaius Caligula was very popular with the people. In addition, through Agrippina, he was the great-grandson of Augustus. The support of the praetorians, led by Macron, was an important factor. Immediately after Tiberius' death, Macron went to Rome to promote Gaius' accession to power.

Hay Caesar (Caligula)

The Rise to Power

The new rulers took an unusual step. They declared Tiberius' will invalid, claiming that the princeps was not in sound mind. The revocation of the will removed the provision regarding Gaius, and in favor of the latter was his position as the head of the family and his descent from Augustus and Germanicus. Furthermore, he took advantage of the fact that the will only granted property. When, two days after Tiberius' death, on March 18, 37 AD, Caligula was proclaimed emperor under the official name Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, the people greeted this news with great joy.

Early Reign

The new emperor's first actions were aimed at gaining popularity. As part of the general policy, whose main slogans were harmony and mercy, the emperor began to restore the status of the Germanicus family and, like Augustus, was awarded a golden shield. On the other hand, a number of measures helped him win the sympathies of the masses. Gaius brought back actors from exile, revived popular spectacles on an unprecedented scale, which had practically ceased under Tiberius. Gladiator fights, theatrical performances, animal hunts that delighted the people of Rome became almost continuous. A new element was the participation of Gaius himself in the games, as well as high-ranking senators and knights. However, Caligula's reign began to be overshadowed by the prospect of a financial collapse. Spectacles, distributions, and construction required huge sums; meanwhile, revenues decreased due to some unsuccessful actions in the East. Gaius's personal expenses were enormous. Suetonius reports that in just one day, the princeps spent 10 million sesterces (the annual tax of several provinces), and one of his favorites, charioteer Eutyches, received 2 million for winning a competition. It is not surprising that by 38 AD, Gaius's regime found itself in a state of financial deficit and Tiberius's enormous accumulations were nearing an end.

Decline and Assassination

In October 37 AD, the princeps fell ill. Prayers for his recovery were constantly held throughout the empire. Caligula recovered, but his policy changed so much that society firmly believed he was insane. Open madness was evident in all his actions and manifested in his appearance. After recovering, the princeps ordered the praetorian centurion to kill Gemellus. Macron and Ennia received orders to kill themselves. The murder of the prefect was due to Caligula's unwillingness to tolerate a minister with unlimited power by his side, and perhaps the princeps was taking revenge for his past - his closeness to Tiberius and, for a period of time, to Sejanus. A new feature was that the trials no longer took place in the Senate, and the princeps alone decided the fate of prominent officials of the empire.

Tyrannical Rule and Assassination

Caligula was characterized by a truly insane greed and extravagance; he wasted the enormous inheritance of Tiberius, which amounted to two billion seven hundred million sesterces, in just one year. Prices began to rise, surpassing the levels of Augustus and Tiberius. Caligula introduced an incredible number of taxes. He imposed extraordinary levies, gifts to the princeps for the new year, gifts to his daughter on her birthday, and so on.

The imperial property grew unrealistically. Instead of reducing, or even maintaining, the expenses of the court, the emperor began to cut back on the expenses for spectacles. The result of Caligula's "financial policy" was the deterioration of relations with the wealthy classes.

Tyranny and Fall

Three times in two years, Caligula declared noble women his wives, taking them away from their lawful husbands. He managed to divorce and banish two of them, prohibiting them from returning to their families. The third, Caesonia, who was neither beautiful nor young but managed to captivate him with her exceptional sensuality, he sometimes paraded in a cloak, helmet, shield, and on horseback to the troops, and sometimes displayed her naked to his dining companions. He openly had sexual relationships with all three of his sisters. One of them, Drusilla, who died in 38 AD, Caligula ordered to be revered as a deity. In Rome, twenty priests and priestesses served her cult. The other two sisters, Livilla and Agrippina the Younger, he occasionally offered to his favorites for their pleasure, and ultimately exiled them to the islands.

Monarchic-Theocratic Rule

During Caligula's reign, a monarchical-theocratic concept of power began to take shape. The idea emerged that all subjects were slaves of the monarch. Gaius declared himself the inspired and sole law. Such a policy, and the inevitable dissatisfaction it caused, led to an increase in repression. The number of repressions exceeded even the number of repressions at the end of Tiberius' reign. There were also mass executions. Once, the princeps ordered the slaughter of everyone in exile. Many were forced to participate in gladiatorial fights.

In 38 AD, he wanted to be the embodiment of all gods and started to appear dressed as deities, with their attributes - lightning (Jupiter), trident (Neptune), and staff (Pluto), and sometimes even dressed as Venus.

Caligula reinterpreted his dynastic tradition. Those who did not belong to the imperial family by blood, namely Agrippa and partly Livy, were practically excluded from the genealogy. The princeps declared that his mother Agrippina was born of incest between Julia and Augustus himself. One of Gaius' passions was disfiguring beautiful people.

Caligula's terrorist policy, which destroyed all traditions and elevated the ruler to unlimited power, could not avoid a backlash. Conspiracies became the main form of resistance against despotic rule. In 40 AD, the emperor's quaestor, Betilienus Bassus, and Sextus Papinius planned to kill Caligula. The conspiracy was discovered, and the guilty were executed.

A new conspiracy engulfed Gaius' inner circle and was extremely widespread. At its head were the praetorian officers Cassius Chaerea and Cornelius Sabinus.

On January 24, 41 AD, the princeps was going to have a daytime breakfast and watch a theatrical performance. In an underground passage, the conspirators decided to seize the moment. Cherea and Sabinus delivered the first blows, and Gaius fell.

The crowd of urban rabble, sympathetic to Caligula, rushed to the forum, demanding to deal with the conspirators, but they were calmed down by consul Valerius Asiaticus, who declared himself the main organizer of the conspiracy. Consul Gnaeus Sentius Saturninus issued an edict, calling on the Senate and the people to maintain order and promising to reduce some taxes. The Senate warmly welcomed Cherea and Sabinus, who rushed into the curia, proclaiming that they had restored freedom. By Cherea's order, the emperor's wife and daughter were killed.

Caligula's short reign had no impact on provincial and foreign policy, but some actions, mostly negative, were taken. The new emperor practically destroyed the eastern border, recreating a system of vassal kingdoms here. Commagene was restored, and Antiochus, the son of the executed ruler of the same name during Tiberius' reign, became its king. A significant part of Cilicia and Lycaonia passed to the new kingdom, and part of Cappadocia passed to Lesser Armenia and Pontus, where Cotys and Polemon, the sons of the Thracian king Cotys, who had been childhood friends of Caligula, now ruled. The Jewish Kingdom of Herod Agrippa also expanded.