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The Madness of Gaius Caligula of Rome The madness of Caligula is a well-known fact The very mention of his name conjures up visions of madness cruelty viciousness and sexual perversion Unlike Hitler or Stalin who were committed to policy and consistent in their ruthlessness there was no predicting what Caligula may do next Ferrill as paraphrased in Bootikins 1991 Many factors may have contributed to his madness lead poisoning heredity disease and observationally learned behavior Born in 12 AD as Gaius Augustus Germananicus he was affectionately nicknamed Caligula or Little Boots by the roman soldiers under his fathers command a well-known general His uncle Emperor Tiberius murdered Caligulas family except for his two sisters Emperor Tiberius thus summoned the orphaned Caligula to join him on the island of Capri In March 37AD the emperor fell ill and subsequently collapsed into a coma An accepted belief is that Caligulas chamberlain smothered the Emperor Thus with great fanfare and optimism on March 28 37AD Caligula was appointed emperor His first actions as emperor were positive freedom for prisoners amnesty for exiles and no more treason trials In October of 37AD Caligula fell ill and nearly died Upon his recovery his true madness began to manifest itself After a four-year reign Caligulas death came in the form of a stabbing as he left a theater McGill 2002Many factors contributed to Caligulas behavior both environmental and hereditary The bias of history makes the surmising of the exact facts and circumstances concerning Caligulas behavior impossible but it is possible to reach reasonable conclusions Most differences about Caligulas behavior derive from the disagreements among those who subscribe to differencing schools of thought concerning behavior Some Contemporary historians have hypothesized that Caligulas illness drove him mad Others attribute his radical behavior to his troubled youth and new position of unlimited power McGill 2004 p2 Among the inherited traits of ambition and sensuality there is evidence that Caligula inherited epilepsy
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