Evil Emperors

Evil Emperors

Augustus was one of the single most extraordinary emperors to ever rule the Roman Empire, he was also the first. Augustus set a precept for emperors to come. Some emperors followed it, some tried, and some didnt try at all. My report is about two emperors of Rome that didnt rule in light of Augustus, and probably couldnt help it, considering they were most definitely insane. Caligula Gaius Caesar was born in the ancient city of Antium on August 31, 12 A. D.. Gaius had two brothers and three sisters. Gaius was devoted to his sisters, and according to popular scandal, to the point of incest.

Gaiuss father was Germanicus, nephew and adopted son of Tiberus, the second emperor of Rome. Germanicus was an active general for the Roman army. As a child Gaius accompanied his parents on military campaigns. On these campaigns Gaius would wear soldiers boots around the camp, thus earning him the name Caligula which means little boot. But Caligulas childhood was not a happy one. His father died under suspicious circumstances when Caligula was only 9. Caligula was basically abandoned by his mother, Agippina, granddaughter of Augustus, and sent to live with his great-grand mother Livia at the age of 15.

Following Livias death 2 years later, Caligula, now 17, was sent to live with his grand mother Antonia. Caligulas mother and two brothers would eventually suffer demotion and eventually, violent deaths because they were thought to be, and indeed were, conspirators against the Roman emperor, Tiberius When Tiberius died on March 16, 37 A. D. Gaius was in perfect position to assume power except for the obstacle of Tiberiuss will, which named his son Tiberius Gemellus and Caligula joint heirs. Caligula didnt like the fact that he might not become sole emperor. To solve this problem Caligula ordered Gemellus killed within months.

So Gaius, ot Gemellus became emperor of Rome. The people of Rome were extremely glad to see Tiberus go, and hoped that Caligula would rule in light of Augustus. During the first six months of his reign, Caligula gained immense popularity by publicly demoting Tiberius and destroying his personal papers. Six months into his reign Caligula fell ill with a fever and was near death for weeks. When Caligula recovered he was most likely insane, and would soon show his terrible face. Gaius began acting in an openly autocratic behavior. He soon lost his early popularity and earned the hatred of the Senate.

Caligula exhibited excessive cruelty, mmoral sexual escapades, and disrespect toward tradition and the Senate. He declared himself to be a god, in fact, he declared himself to be all of the gods. He set up a brothel using senators wives and declared his horse a member of the senate, complete with a golden stall. He squandered money on public entertainment, ordered many people executed for no reason, had most of his relatives murdered or banished, ordered foolish building projects, and had people tortured and killed while he dined. At one point he ordered a statue of himself to be set up in the temple at Jerusalem, but later canceled his rder.

Caligula exhibited laughable military campaigns. He ordered an attack on the Germans, but called it off and told the army to collect seashells instead. He also ordered an attack on the British but called it off at the last minute. He boasted of defeating the German and British, but he never actually fought them. By the year 41, Caligula had made too many enemies. His biggest mistake was probably insulting the army and threatening to kill members of the senate.

Caligula was killed by his own body guard while exiting the theater on January 24th, 41 A. D. He was 8 years old, and had ruled for 3 years and 10 months. Caligulas uncle Claudius, who was aged and regarded as an idiot, was hailed emperor by the Praetorian Guard. Old uncle Caludius, the family embarrassment, was now emperor. Caligulas reign is the one of the most poorly documented in Roman History. Many of the surviving sources are most likely bias and inaccurate. It is at times hard to distinguish from truth and embellishment. Such tales of sheer lunacy could most likely have been made up, or could be the truth. The true character of the youthful emperor will forever elude us.

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