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7. Caligula the Monster

Caligula Gemellus CaligulaSistersCoin HerodAgrippaICoin

Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus, better known as Caligula, grand-nephew of Tiberius and son of popular Germanicus, was hailed in all joy when he came to the throne aged only 25. But his reign was to be one of terror and insanity. Among the first to fall was Gemellus (above), the grandson of Tiberius and his joint-heir with Caligula. Quickly sidelined by the new emperor, he was executed on trumped up charges of treason in AD 38.

A coin depicts Caligula's three sisters, Agrippina (the Younger, also known as Agrippinilla), Drusilla, and Julia Livilla. They were all rumored to have had incestuous relations with him. Agrippina would go on to be Claudius's fourth and final wife.

Herod Agrippa I was favored by Caligula with power in Judaea. He had been raised in the imperial household as a hostage and his adopted Roman ways did not go down well in the rebellious province.

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Illustrations © Oliver Frey; Maps © Roger M. Kean    © 2010–2016 Reckless Books, England