The Horse Who Would Be Senator: Caligula and His Unconventional Appointee

By | May 4, 2019

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Caligula: (12 A. D.) Roman Emperor. Bust. Source: (

In ancient Rome, the politicians were known for some of their wacky behavior, but Caligula has them all beat. The fourth emperor of Rome, engaged in deviant sexual behavior, extreme brutality, uncontrolled spending, and, finally, tried to make his favorite horse, Incitatus, a Roman senator. What his guy crazy? Corrupt by power? Or a maniacal genius? You can make up your mind after hearing about the life of Caligula, son of Emperor Tiberius

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Caligula as a child. Source: (

A Tragic, Twisted Childhood

When he was born in 12 AD, Caligula was named Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus. He acquired the name Caligula, which means “little boots”, as a child because his parents often dressed him up in tiny military uniforms. Caligula was the youngest son of General Germanicus and his wife, Agrippina the Elder. Caligula was just shy of five years old when his father died. Suddenly, the family was no longer in the good graces of Emperor Tiberius. Agrippina and her two older sons were accused of treason and tossed into jail. All three soon died. Caligula was protected from Tiberius’s wrath by his grandmother. But after he became a young man, he went to live with Tiberius, who was now an old man. Tiberius enabled Caligula’s poor life choices and bad behavior.