The Roman Empire is known for its great accomplishments, impressive architecture, and powerful leaders. However, one of its most infamous leaders was Caligula, who reigned from 37 to 41 CE. Caligula’s reign was characterized by his erratic behavior and outrageous decisions, including the appointment of his horse as a consul.
Caligula was born into the Julio-Claudian dynasty, which included such figures as Julius Caesar and Augustus. He became emperor after the death of his great-uncle, Tiberius, and at first, his rule was welcomed by the people of Rome. However, as time went on, Caligula became increasingly unstable and unpredictable.
One of the most absurd examples of Caligula’s reign was his decision to make his horse, Incitatus, a consul. The consul was one of the highest political offices in the Roman Empire, and it was typically held by the most esteemed and respected members of society. Yet Caligula saw fit to appoint his horse to this position, much to the confusion and dismay of the Roman people.
There are many theories as to why Caligula made this decision. Some historians believe that it was simply a prank, a way for Caligula to assert his power over the Roman people and demonstrate his disregard for tradition and convention. Others believe that it was a sign of his mental instability and growing paranoia. In either case, the decision was seen as a clear indication that Caligula was unfit to rule.
Despite the absurdity of the appointment, Caligula took it seriously. He reportedly had a special house built for his horse, complete with a marble stable, a jeweled collar, and even human servants. He also supposedly planned to make Incitatus a priest, a fact that further angered the Roman people and demonstrated Caligula’s complete lack of respect for the religious traditions of the Empire.
The appointment of Incitatus as consul was just one of many examples of Caligula’s erratic behavior during his reign. He was known for his cruelty, his extravagance, and his complete disregard for the well-being of his subjects. He also engaged in incestuous relationships with his sisters, claimed to be a god, and ordered the assassination of anyone who displeased him.
Caligula’s reign came to an end in 41 CE, when he was assassinated by members of his own guard. His legacy is one of madness and tyranny, and the appointment of his horse as consul is often cited as an example of his absurd and outrageous behavior.
However, there is more to the story than just Caligula’s personal eccentricities. The appointment of Incitatus as consul also speaks to the political climate of the Roman Empire at the time. The Empire was in a state of decline, with corruption and instability at all levels of government. The appointment of a horse as consul was a clear sign that the political system of the Empire was broken and in need of reform.
In many ways, the appointment of Incitatus as consul was a turning point in the history of the Roman Empire. It demonstrated the dangers of unchecked power, the need for political stability, and the importance of respecting tradition and convention. It also served as a warning to future leaders of the dangers of corruption and tyranny.
In conclusion, the appointment of Caligula’s horse as consul was an absurd and outrageous decision, but it was also a symptom of deeper problems within the Roman Empire. Caligula’s reign was marked by instability, cruelty, and madness, and the appointment of Incitatus was just one of many examples of his erratic behavior. However, it also serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked power and the importance of respecting tradition and convention.
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The Absurdity Of Caligula’s Reign: Why A Horse Was Made A Consul was first posted on March 22, 2023 at 1:45 am.