Why was a Roman emperor named after a shoe?

| David Lewis | History



Caligula – who was a completely mad and particularly cruel caesar, even in Rome standard – was born Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus

As a toddler, he joined his father on military campaigns and loved to wear over-sized “caligae” – the sandals of the Roman legions. The charmed legionnaires nicknamed the cute brat Caligula, meaning literally”little boot”.

In time Caligula changed and to put it mildly, stopped being cute. After his father was poisoned and his mother exiled to an island where she dies of starvation, poor little Caligula lived in constant danger and went insane.

After becoming an Emperor, in his madness, he ordered execution without trial on an almost daily basis. No one was safe. Or as he himself put it: “I wish the whole Roman people had one neck …” (so that he could slash it with a single knife).

To finance his ostentatious and bizarre lifestyle, he opened a brothel in the palace, where he placed as prostitutes noble Roman women.

Not surprisingly, eventually, he was murdered. 

Click to read how he nominated his favorite horse a senator?