Caligula

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Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (31 August AD 12 – 24 January AD 41), commonly known as Caligula and sometimes Gaius, was Roman Emperor from 37 to 41. Caligula was a member of the house of rulers conventionally known as the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Caligula's father Germanicus, the nephew and adopted son of emperor Tiberius, was a very successful general and one of Rome's most beloved public figures. The young Gaius earned the nickname Caligula (the diminutive form of caliga meaning "little soldier's boot") from his father's soldiers while accompanying him during his campaigns in Germania. When Germanicus died at Antioch in 19 AD, his mother Agrippina the Elder returned to Rome with her six children where she became entangled in an increasingly bitter feud with Tiberius. This conflict eventually led to the destruction of her family, with Caligula as the sole male survivor. Unscathed by the deadly intrigues, Caligula accepted the invitation to join the emperor on the island of Capri in 31, where Tiberius himself had withdrawn five years earlier. At the death of Tiberius in 37, Caligula succeeded his great-uncle and adoptive grandfather.

There are few surviving sources on Caligula's reign, although he is described as a noble and moderate ruler during the first two years of his rule. After this, the sources focus upon his cruelty, extravagance, and sexual perversity, presenting him as an insane tyrant. While the reliability of these sources has been questioned, what is known is that during his brief reign, Caligula worked to increase the authority of the emperor. He directed much of his attention to ambitious construction projects and notoriously luxurious dwellings for himself. However, he initiated the construction of two new aqueducts in Rome: the Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus. During his reign, the empire annexed the Kingdom of Mauretania and made it into a province.

In early 41, Caligula was assassinated as the result of a conspiracy involving officers of the Praetorian Guard, as well as members of the Roman Senate and of the imperial court. The conspirators' attempt to use the opportunity to restore the Roman Republic was thwarted, as the same day the Praetorian Guard declared Caligula's uncle Claudius emperor in his place.

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