After death of Germanicus, Caligula’s father, in

 After the fall of the Pax Romana and the five good emperors of Rome, many of the emperors did not meet up to the greatness as the good five, thus leaving the Roman Empire to fall. Since the five good emperors hand selected the future emperors by seeing who was the most talented (may not be hereditary), the Pax Romana lasted for over 200 years. Emperors adopted politically talented sons and raised them to take over the Roman throne. However, one bad emperor selection led to another bad emperor. Many Roman Emperors are said to be insane. With the constant pattern of bad Roman Emperors, the Roman Empire started a slow decline until it finally died at the hands of the German and Asian tribes. One of the most insane, Caligula, born as Gaius Julius Ceasar Germanicus, was one of the most infamous Roman Emperors. Only ruling for a short four years, Caligula caused heavy damages in the Senate and Roman politics. Born on August 31, 12 A.D., Caligula was destined for greatness. His father was a famed military general and his mother was very influential among the Roman Empire. During his childhood, Caligula lived in his father’s military posting in Rhine. His father’s soldiers gave him the nickname Caligula, which means little boots in Latin, because of the little military uniform his parents dressed him in. After the death of Germanicus, Caligula’s father, in 17 A.D., Emperor Tiberius viewed his family as less useful and threat to Praetorian guard Sejanus. Sejanus viewed Caligula’s eldest brothers as strong political rivals. Infamous and insane Roman Emperor, Nero, was his nephew. Maybe insanity was hereditary.  Eventually, Caligula’s mother and older brothers were accused of treason. His family either died in prison or was executed. Caligula and a few of his sisters only survived because his grandmother, Antonia, protected them from the Roman government until General Sejanus’s death in 31 A.D. About a year later, Tiberius adopted Caligula as his son and his future heir. Tiberius’s son, Gemellus, was also heir to the Roman throne. Both sons were named equal heirs. However, while growing up with Tiberius, Caligula hated him. He hated him because Tiberius was the man who destroyed his family. Tiberius was proud of his new adopted son and claimed he was “nursing a viper in Rome’s bosom”. Tiberius embraced Caligula’s bad temper. After Tiberius died in 37 A.D., Caligula had his most trusted Praetorian soldier, Marco set up Caligula to be the sole emperor of Rome. About a year later however, Caligula ordered both Macro and his adopted brother, Gemmelus, to be executed. Here’s the real debate: Was Caligula Crazy? Historians argue about how he was not crazy because he actually did some good things for the Roman people during his beginning of taking over the throne. He announced many political reforms and recalled all exiles. Caligula had amazing leadership skills. He was the one to start the idea of the Conquest of Britain. If he had not gone insane, he could have captured many new Roman provinces during his reign and expanded westward. After all of his careful preparations, Rome finally took over Britain in 43 A.D. during Claudius’s reign. The Romans used the same plan that Caligula created. He tried to rebuild the senate and help the people of Rome. But a few months later in late October, everything took a turn for the worst. Caligula fell ill and almost died, but he recovered from his illness. However, he was not the same. He started to act insane. He spent large amounts of money to start massive building projects like theaters, temples, and harbors. One of his building projects however was especially strange. He ordered hundreds of merchant ships to build a two-mile-long bridge in the Bay of Bali just so he could gallop across it for two days. Near the shore of the Bay not long later, he made thousands of his soldiers go down to the beach and reenact a battle. Caligula ordered the soldiers to “plunder the seas” by collecting sea shells from the beach in their helmets just for his amusement. Caligula believed that he had all power over Rome and anybody in it. Caligula even once said “Remember that I have the right to do anything to anybody”. That sounds like a narcissist. Caligula raped many people, male and female. He sexually tortured many of them before executing them. The poor treatment of his people does show how crazy Caligula was. This proves that he did not care nor have mercy for others. Like he said, he could do anything he wanted to others, even if it meant hurting them. Caligula was also known to make high ranking officials run in front of his chariot for miles. Caligula also had short affairs with the wives of Senators and high-ranking government officials. He was believed to have incestual relationships with his sisters and he even tried to marry one of them. During his childhood, Caligula used to always play dress up with his mother and sisters, but in adulthood, he continued to play it. This was a way to overcome his grief about the tragedy of his dead family. He would dress in bizarre clothing such as women’s clothes, large wigs, and an excessive amount of jewelry. Caligula believed that he was a God and had the right to do anything he wished to. He lavished himself with riches and the finest things in Rome. He drank dissolved pearls in wine, he had the finest jewelry, and rolled in piles of money. But to afford all of his expensive hobbies and accessories, he had to tax the hell out of Rome. Caligula extorted money out of the Romans and began to heavily tax them. The citizens of Rome soon began to heavily dislike the new emperor just as much as Tiberius.  On January 24, 41 A.D., Caligula was finally executed by a group of Praetorian guards led by Cassius Chaerea, a Praetorian soldier. Before his execution, he planned on naming his horse consul. The people of Rome and the Senate were sick of being unlawfully taxed, extorted, and living under the rule of an unstable leader. He was stabbed to death and so was his wife and his new born daughter. After Caligula’s death, the Roman Senate wanted to use his torturous reign as an example to restore the Roman Republic, but the Praetorian guard stepped in an announced Caligula’s uncle, Claudius, the new emperor of Rome. After Caligula’s death and downfall, the Romans tried to erase him from history by destroying all of the statues that he built of himself. After going over Caligula’s history and his rough upbringing, he was indeed insane. After the execution of almost his entire family, he was already broken and barley holding on to his insanity. Caligula even tolerated living with his family’s murderer for years. A crazy person would have lashed out at him or expressed his hate towards him in that span of time, but Caligula kept his true feelings to himself. He was a very good emperor until he came down with his illness. Some illnesses could impact a person’s personality drastically, especially in a time where modern medicine did not exist. Caligula may have come down with a case of meningitis. Caligula also fits many of the bipolar disorder symptoms, too. His erratic behavior and his ups and downs in his life. PTSD (Post Traumatic Distress Disorder) may also fit Caligula. After his whole family was murdered and having to live with the man who killed them, that could be very believable. It is also very obvious that Caligula was also suffering from depression. He surrounded himself with riches and never seemed to really be satisfied, thus taking out his anger and sadness on others and torturing people. Before his illness, the people of Rome loved and supported him and his new laws that bettered the Empire. After he recovered, he began to embrace the worst parts of his personality. He lashed out on the people of Rome and the people close to him, thus making the whole Roman population wanting to be rid of him. Caligula only started to care about himself and his amusement and how much power he had, not the Empire. Emperor Caligula was already broken, but his illness gave him that little push to the dark side of insanity. 


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