The Roman emperor from 37-41 was Caligula. He was the youngest son of Germanicus and Agrippina the elder and born on August 31, AD 12. The emperor Tiberius was followed by Gaius Caesar, surnamed Caligula from the military boots (caligae) which he was accustomed to wear.

Caligula was raised among the military camp of his father and followed him to Syria, after his death returned to Rome and brought up by his grandmother Antonia. Herod Agrippa was a frequent visitor. In 32 Caligula was called by Tiberius to Capreae and by skilful flattery escaped the violent fate of his relatives. The death of Tiberius Gemellus, son of Drusus was mysterious but he did not seem to have been murdered.

The emperor Caligula was received with much rejoicing from the people, but it was not to last long. For a while he spent his time in arduous application to the affairs of the empire, delighting everybody by general concessions and especially reversing the the policies of Tiberius. The strictness with which Augustus and Tiberius kept the citizenship closed was relaxed. He reversed the policies of Tiberius toward eastern religions and rebuilt the temple of Isis that Tiberius had destroyed. After about eight months, however, Caligula became very ill and the mind of the young Emperor became unsettled and he soon gave himself up to dissipation. It was at this time that we see Caligula becoming the usual monster of cruelty, vice and extravagance that we now remember him to be. His hedonistic and murderous actions alone should have convinced the people of his madness but they must have known for sure once he bestowed a consulship upon his horse. Strangely, his anti-Roman tendencies, which made him an abomination to the senatorial class, produced effects favorable to the provinces.

Caligula killed if for a definite reason and he killed for the fun of it, whether as blood lust or for a mere demonstration of power. The cruel sports of the amphitheater possessed for him a strange fascination. Caligula even entered the lists himself and fought as a gladiator upon the arena.

Caligula is the first in a tradition that eventually prevailed, the pioneer of the oriental type of monarchy. Caligula was possessed with the idea of his own divinity. He ordered Petronius, president of Syria, to place a gilded statue of the emperor in the holy of holies of the temple at Jerusalem to be worshipped, provoking riots at Alexandria. Agrippa ordered a banquet in Caligula's honor and Caligula offers him anything. The answer was to rescind the order and the statue was removed. After four years his insane career was brought to a close by the dagger of an assassin named Cassius Chaerea, a tribune in the guard, and some of the officers of the praetorian guard whom he had wantonly insulted, January 24, 41.
[349, 350, 08, BD]

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