Caligula

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Caligula

Caligula (kəlĭgˈyo͝olə), A.D. 12–A.D. 41, Roman emperor (A.D. 37–A.D. 41); son of Germanicus Caesar and Agrippina the Elder. His real name was Caius Caesar Germanicus. As a small child, he wore military boots, whence his nickname [caligula=little boot]. On the death of Tiberius the army helped make Caligula emperor. Shortly afterward he became severely ill; his subsequent strange and cruel actions led to the wide belief that he was thereafter insane. A more recent, alternative hypothesis blames his behavior on a desire to humiliate and destroy Rome's aristocracy. In any case, Caligula earned a reputation for ruthless and cruel autocracy, and torture and execution became the order of the day. He was responsible for serious disturbances among the Jews, and he nearly caused a rebellion in Palestine by attempting to erect a statue of himself in their temple. He was assassinated by a tribune of the Praetorian Guard and succeeded by Claudius I.

Bibliography

See biographies by J. P. V. D. Balsdon (1934) and A. Winterling (2011); A. A. Barrett, Caligula: The Corruption of Power (1996).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Caligula

 

(Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus). Born A.D. 12 in Antium; died A.D. 41 in Rome. Roman emperor (from 37 a.d.) of the dynasty of Julius Claudius; son of Germanicus and successor to Tiberius.

Caligula received his sobriquet (Latin for “little boot”) because of the little boots of the soldier type he wore in childhood. He strove to make his power unlimited and demanded that godly honors be shown him. Caligula’s squandering of the state’s resources on triumphal ceremonies, games, and spectacles and on awards to the praetorian guard led to an exorbitant increase in taxes and to the confiscation of wealth, especially that of the senators. Caligula’s morbid suspiciousness, cruelty, and wild behavior aroused dissatisfaction in the Senate and in the praetorian command. He was murdered in the palace by the praetorian command. He was murdered in the palace by the prae-torian tribune Cassius Chaerea.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Caligula

(12–41) Roman emperor known for terror and cruel autocracy. [Rom. Hist.: NCE, 425]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Caligula

original name Gaius Caesar, son of Germanicus. 12--41 ad, Roman emperor (37--41), noted for his cruelty and tyranny; assassinated
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005