While traveling to Europe I was reading Richard Alston’s Aspects of Roman History: AD 14-117. It is categorized by ruling emperor. The most awkward personality was not Nero (as I thought it would be) but rather Gaius Caligula who reigned from 37-41 following Tiberius who followed Augustus.
There is a great story about his lunacy (or genius if one proposes he was doing whatever he could to irritate the senate). It is about a horse named Incitatus. Alston writes,
“The horse was apparently a champion at the games and so pleased Gaius that he decided it would make a good dinner companion. Impressing Gaius with its political insights and intelligence, he promised to elevate Incitatus to the highest office in the senate, but, in the end (and perhaps rather sadly), Gaius was killed before Incitatus became the first horse to hold high political office in Rome (Dio, LIX 14.7).”
This story is hilarious. An emperor seeking to nominate a horse for the high seat in the senate. I think I will complain about US politics a little less after reading this!
I recently read something where they suspect that he suffered from lead poisoning. The crystal decanters are used to hold wine have huge amounts of lead in them (30-40%) and may have caused the dementia in heavy drinkers who were drinking lead-tainted wine.
The horse-story is nice, love it, haha. Gotta hate politicians. The current news circulating on the airwaves is just maddening.
That is interesting. It could explain why so many Caesars went nuts. While modern American politics are frustrating, imagine if we had a horse in the Senate!
Teehee! lols classic!
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