The Incestual Activities of Caligula

Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, aka “Caligula”, which translates from Latin as “Little Boots” was the third emperor of Rome, succeeding Tiberius, who was emperor during the time of Jesus Christ. Perhaps one of the greatest train wrecks of the Roman Empire, Caligula lasted only five years before being assassinated. Thus proving that it’s not a good idea to give a 23 year old absolute power.

The text below comes from Suetonius’s 12 Caesars, written in 121 BCE. One criticism of this work is that the author did focus on rumor and old gossip as much as he did on historical facts. On the other hand, no contemporary writer had anything good to say about Caligula’s five year reign of evil. So we may assume most of what is written below is true.

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He lived in the habit of incest with all his sisters; and at table, when much company was present, he placed each of them in turns below him, whilst his wife reclined above him. It is believed, that he deflowered one of them, Drusilla, before he had assumed the robe of manhood [The toga, donned when one turn 15]; and was even caught in her embraces by his grandmother Antonia, with whom they were educated together.

When she was afterwards married to Cassius Longinus, a man of consular rank, he took her from him, and kept her constantly as if she were his lawful wife. In a fit of sickness, he by his will appointed her heiress both of his estate and the empire. After her death, he ordered a public mourning for her; during which it was capital for any person to laugh, use the bath, or sup with his parents, wife, or children. Being inconsolable under his affliction, he went hastily, and in the night-time, from the City; going through Campania to Syracuse, and then suddenly returned without shaving his beard, or trimming his hair. Nor did he ever afterwards, in matters of the greatest importance, not even in the assemblies of the people or before the soldiers, swear any otherwise, than “By the divinity of Drusilla.”

The rest of his sisters he did not treat with so much fondness or regard; but frequently prostituted them to his catamites [a boy kept for homosexual practices]. He therefore the more readily condemned them in the case of Aemilius Lepidus, as guilty of adultery, and privy to that conspiracy against him. Nor did he only divulge their own hand-writing relative to the affair, which he procured by base and lewd means, but likewise consecrated to Mars the Avenger three swords which had been prepared to stab him, with an inscription, setting forth the occasion of their consecration.

For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst. 

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