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|“||I always knew this would happen, I always knew I was divine, Think about it when I was two I put down a mutiny in my fathers army and so saved Rome, While by the time I was ten I'd already killed my father.||„|
|~ Caligula to his Uncle Claudius after awakening from his coma believing himself to have undergone a "Metamorphosis" into a god.|
|“||There'll be no pain I know it, We are Immortal Gods!||„|
|~ Caligula to his sister Drusilla before carving the foetus from her womb with a botched caesarian and swallowing it whole in an attempt to recreate the birth of Athena.|
Gaius "Caligula" was the third Emperor of Rome and was portrayed by John Hurt in the 1976 BBC Serial Drama I Claudius based on the book of the same name by Robert Graves. He is portrayed as a flamboyant outlandish and heavily disturbed young man whose rule as emperor descended from seemingly peaceful rule into perpetual madness and chaos.
The youngest son of Emperor Augustus's granddaughter Aggrippina the Elder and the heroic Roman general Germanicus, the young Gaius was taken along to his fathers military campaigns in Germany as the armies mascot dressed as a miniature soldier complete with "little boots" or "Caligae" hence his everlasting nickname of Caligula. Mentally disturbed from a young age he believed himself to have been born a god awaiting divine metamorphosis; resentful of his father who tried to discipline his bad behaviour, at the age of 10 he was used in a conspiracy to murder his father hatched by the resentful Governor of Syria Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso and his wife Plancina who used a renowned poisoner named Martina who had struck up a friendship with Caligula whilst at Antioch who convinced hum to prove his status as a Hellenistic god by helping her to kill Germanicus. Over 17 days he secretly planted without suspicion unpleasant, horrific witchcraft seeming apparitions around the house he, his mother and father were staying in an attempt to frighten his father to death so the poison he administered to his father provided by Martina would take a hold quicker; in the process removing a green jasper charm of the Goddess Hecate that would be later discovered by his Great Grandmother Livia.Upon their return to Rome following Germanicus's death, Caligula, his mother and siblings went to live with his Grandmother Antonia and his Uncle Claudius. Here he and his younger sister Drusilla were caught naked in bed together by his grandmother whose house was burned to the ground by Caligula after she tried to punish him. He was then sent to live with Livia who concluded that he killed his father upon discovering the charm of Hecate, she kept in secret in exchange for his promise that he would deify her when he becomes emperor which she knew would happen from a book of Sibylline prophecies owned by Augustus. Caligula broke his promise however upon her deathbed and told her she would stew in hell forever and ever while he looked down at her from heaven as the greatest god of all being and the only one to be worshipped throughout the entire world therefore mistaking the prophecies of Jesus as being in regard to his own divinity.
Caligula also struck up a close friendship with the perverse tyrannical Emperor Tiberius who was also his great uncle even sharing pornographic manuscripts with him. Both of his brothers and his mother were killed in Tiberius's treason trials, manipulated by the head of the Praetorian guard Sejanus and his cruel Aunt Livilla in an attempt to gain power for themselves, leaving Caligula as the only true male direct descendant of Augustus. Tiberius named him and his young cousin Gemellus as heirs to the succession of Emperor after helping the emperor get rid of Sejanus, the resulting purge also killed all those associated with him including his children who were raped and murdered. For the next five years Caligula lived with Tiberius on the island of Capri where he would be corrupted by his great uncles twisted perversions and influence. Here he struck up a friendship with the new head of the Praetorian guard Macro who even let Caligula sleep with his wife to gain his influence. After Tiberius suffered a stroke and was presumed dead, Caligula proclaimed himself Emperor whilst Macro smothered the Emperor with a pillow after he "came back to life" to ensure Caligulas accession as emperor, he would later fall out of favour with Caligula and be forced to commit suicide after he and his wife conspired against him.
Rule as Emperor
Caligula returned to Rome as Emperor and was welcomed by all as the beloved son of Germanicus and a fresh new ruler replacing the decrepit tyrannical old Tiberius. He restored the tarnished names of his deceased mother Aggrippina and his two older brothers Drusus and Nero with memorials, commissioning statues and restoring their ashes to the Mausoleum of Augustus. He was named consul for the first year of his reign and named his Uncle Claudius co-consul. The beginning of Caligula's reign was seemingly blissful and might have stayed so but around this time he began experiencing severe headaches and finally broke down in agony in front of his family and several senators before falling into a coma and being seemingly near death. He awoke from his coma but had suffered bad neurological and psychological damage and believed he had completed a metamorphosis into a god, namely Zeus. This was witnessed by his Uncle Claudius and his favourite sister Drusilla, whom he loved and committed incest with most out of his three sisters and proclaimed his equal as a Roman Hellenistic Goddess addressing her under various names including Hera, Metis, Diana and Venus.
The effects of Caligulas insanity became felt by those around him including the senator Lentulus who was forced to commit suicide and make good his deal as he had offered to give his life to the gods if Caligula recovered from his coma, His uncle Claudius who Caligula threatened to cut the throat of before throwing him out of the palace and renouncing his consulship as he failed to get his brothers statues constructed in time for the ceremony as well as his young cousin and co-heir Gemmellus who was decapitated by Macro due to his annoying cough which drove Caligula's "divine super hearing" insane. His Grandmother Antonia committed suicide after seeing the degraded state at which Rome and her grandchildren had fallen to. Upon falling pregnant with her brothers child, Caligula became frightened and paranoid that their child would be more powerful than him and rule the heavens so tried to re-enact the birth of Athena as Zeus did in Greek legend by carving the foetus from his sisters womb and swallowing it whole in hoping that a new child would be born from his head but this of course resulted in the death of his beloved sister and "Queen of Heaven". Caligula never recovered from Drusilla's death which caused him to fall into a downward spiral of chaos and insanity.
Caligula would later have his two other sisters Aggrippina the Elder (Mother of future emperor Nero) and Julia Livilla (Lesbia) banished for conspiring to get rid of him but spared their lives. He also married a mature woman named Caesonia whose father was a baker and previous husband was a night watchman, they loved eached other for inexplicable reasons and she bore him a daughter who he named Julia Drusilla in honor of his deified sister; His wife and daughter were able to reach some of Caligula's little sense of dormant inner humanity. Whilst Caligula remained a loved hero and the son of beloved Germanicus to the plebs, masses and soldiers it was the senatorial class who felt Caligula's wrath, having retitled himself as Jove or Jupiter, forcing the wives of the nobility and senators into prostitution at his palace brothels. He became increasingly paranoid and learned of a supposed conspiracy in the legions along the Rhine river in Germany where several executions took place including an army veteran named Gaetulicus. Caligula also stuck up the wrath in his new commander of the guard Cassius Charea by continuously taunting him and giving him humiliating watchwords for the guards after he learned that Cassius cried after Gaetulicus died under torture. After hiring his Uncle Claudius as the money taker at his palace orgies, he instructed him and the senators Asprenas and Marcus Vincius (His brother in law through Lesbia) to strip the valuables of Livia's old apartments and bring them to him in Germany by road in carts so he could auction them to the provincials to replenish the treasury he had drained (Tiberius left 27 million gold pieces in his will, the 9 million left after debt repayment was spent on excesses such as elaborate and unnecessary bridge projects, floating aquatic palaces and 100,00 gold pieces was given to his favourite charioteer for winning a race). Caligula threw his Uncle Claudius was into the river upon his arrival in Germany and threatened to slash the throats of the two senators as they travelled by sea "Caligula had a quarrel with Neptune" and sent the carts by road; Claudius managed to humour and impress Caligula enough with his Homeric poetry recital after crawling out of the river that he decided to spare Vinicius and Asprenas lives.
After wrecking havoc in Germany, Caligula ventured to the coast of Gaul from where he was meant to carry out an invasion of Britain but forgot to gather enough legions for an attack so instead ordered his troops to launch arrows at and flog the sea as well as to collect thousands of seashells from the shore as "Loot from Neptune". The senators once again felt Caligula's wrath upon his return to Rome for not declaring triumphs and celebrations upon his return (He had previously ordered them not to order any) and would have massacred them if not for the calming influence of Claudius and his wife Caesonia. He felt insulted by Marcus Vinicius when he accidentally reminded him that his grandfather Marcus Agrippa (Born of low birth and not capable of producing gods) fought alongside his great grandfather Augustus in the battle of Actium but seemed to later forget about it. One morning before sunrise he summoned Claudius, Vinicius and Asprenas to the palace who believed they were to be executed were instead given an elaborate, extravagant ballet performance by Caligula cross dressing as "The rosy fingered goddess Dawn". Caligula forced his middle aged Uncle Claudius to marry the pretty young Messalina who danced at his ballet as a joke, although the joke backfired when they seemed to genuinely fall in love with each other upon meeting. Caligula appointed his favourite horse Incitatus as a noble senator and brought him along to Claudius and Messalina's wedding.
A conspiracy to assassinate Caligula amongst members of the senate including Vinicius and Asprenas and a group of praetorian guards led by Cassius Charea was put into action in which Caligula was tricked by Vinicius into leaving the gladiatorial games along a narrow passageway to watch a Greek ballet performing especially for him, here he was shut off from the protection of his brutal Germanic bodyguard and was stabbed multiple times in the manner of Julius Caesar's assassination until he died. Cassius took it upon himself to ensure the safety of himself and the assassins by killing anyone connected to Caligula which included murdering Caesonia alongside her and Caligula's child. Claudius escaped the assassins by hiding behind a curtain where he was found by a group of loyal praetorians who proclaimed him emperor. The new empeor Claudius executed the chief assassins who also killed Caesonia and the child including Cassius Charea.Before his death, Claudius would imagine seeing the ghost of his nephew again alongside the ghosts of his great uncle Augustus, his grandmother Livia, his mother Antonia and his Uncle Tiberius. The ghost of Caligula told Claudius that he was shocked to have learned from the afterlife that he was not the messiah after all.