CALIGULA, Caesar Augustus Germanicus, third Roman emperor, son of Germanicus and Agrippina, born in 12 A. D. He was brought up among soldiers in his father's camp, and was nicknamed Caligula on account of the soldier's shoes he wore in youth.
On the death of his brother, Drusus, he became augur, and after the death of the Emperor Tiberius, in 37, he was appointed heir. Soon after he was made emperor by the people and the senate. The beginning of his reign was marked by kindness and generosity, granting pardons even to enemies of his own family.
After a period of sickness he appears to have lost his mind and become savage, inhuman, and addicted to lust. He found delight in banishing and murdering his friends and relatives, filled Rome with vice and execution, and confiscated the estates o his victims. He built a bridge over the bay between Baiae and Puteoli that he might vie with Xerxes in crossing the sea. Among the remarkable things which he practiced was to stable his horse in a palace, where it was fed with gilded oats, and afterward he raised this animal to the col-lege of priests and later to the consulship.
Caligula became mad with power and self-aggrandisement. He declared himself a god and erected temples in which sacrifices were offered to himself. He abused his subjects and robbed and plundered the empire's treasury until a conspiracy was raised against him, which resuited in his assassination in 41 A. D.