ROME-THE FIRST C^SARS.
wild beasts. Caprice became his master, and the destruction of life his
chief delight. He married his sister, and when she died he had divine
honors decreed to her by the Senate. As a divinity she received the name of
Panthea, and her statue was set up in the temple of Venus.
Tired at length of dissipation, Caligula turned to butchery. Tiberius had
killed through jealousy; the present Caesar, for the love of murder.
Senators, knights, generals, nobles, provincial magnates fell right and
left like oxen in the royal shambles. Confiscation followed in order to
keep bank-full the river of extravagant expenditure which flowed through
It had been the misfortune of Caligula's youth to pass a considerable time
under the tutelage of Herod Agrippa, the chief of Jewry: By him the mind of
the prince was abused with notions of Oriental despotism. He had been
taught to believe that monarchs were gods to be worshipped. The time bad
now come when that pernicious planting was to bear its fruit. Caligula
ordered a porch to be built across the Forum from his palace on the
Palatine to the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, whose equal and
representative he claimed to be. He pretended to hold free converse with
the immortals. He dressed himself by turns in the habits of Hercules,
Bacchus, and Apollo, and when he wearied of impersonating the male deities
he appeared in the costumes of Venus, Juno, and Diana! He ordered his
statue to be set up in the temples of the Milesian Apollo and of Jehovah at
Jerusalem. He had contrived an artificial thundering machine in order that
he might imitate the work of Jove. Finally, after an assumption of equality
with the divinities, he advanced his claim to be the chief god of earth and
heaven. And Rome, who had once given birth to such lion's whelps as
Regulus, Scipio, and Cato, bathed her hands in the spittle of the impious
profligate who daily defiled the basilica of the Palatine!
For four years this disgusting drama was enacted in the name of government.
The peculiarity of Caligula's delirium was that he required every thing to
be done in a magnificent, or rather grandiose, style. He married the woman
Caesonia on account of her size! He was jealous of the preceding reigns
because of their calamities. He gloated over the destruction of the army of
Varus, and sighed for a repetition of such a sensation as must have
followed that prodigious slaughter. In the time of Tiberius the theater at
Fidenae had fallen and crushed fifty thousand people. Caligula longed for
the occurrence of another such calamity. Finally he declared that he wished
the Roman people had but a single neck that he might sever it with an ax!
By degrees his insolence rose to such a pitch that human nature could no
more endure his conduct. At length he publicly insulted a tribune of the
praetorians, who, with a few others, resolved on a summary revenge. They
watched their opportunity, fell upon Caligula as he was going from the
amphitheater, and left him dead in the passage with thirty stabs of their
daggers in his body. The assassins escaped and the corpse of the Caesar was
taken away by some of his friends and buried in the Lamian gardens.
When the sudden exit of Caligula was known the spasmodic cry of the old
Republic was heard in the Senate House. For the