Archive for October 19th, 2008

Caligula wuz here

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

More specifically, Caligula died here. The crazy sumbitch was killed by his own guards in a passageway underneath the palace, and now, Italian archaeologists may have found that very passageway.

Maria Antonietta Tomei, a Rome archeologist, said a cryptoportico or underground corridor discovered beneath the imperial palaces on the Palatine Hill matched exactly the description given by the Rome historian Suetonius, who says that the Emperor was stabbed to death after watching an entertainment. He left via the passageway, where the Praetorian Guard led by its commander, Cassius Chaerea, was lying in wait.

Professor Tomei said she was “absolutely convinced” that the cryptportico was the one in which Caligula met his end. Although it bore builders’ stamps from the time of Claudius, it already existed at the time of Caligula, and had only been restructured by his uncle and successor.

Cassius Chaerea particularly hated Caligula because he mocked him all the time, giving him embarrassing watchwords. Moral of the story: do not mercilessly taunt your bodyguard.

Anyway, Professor Tomei seems suspiciously certain that this is the corridor in question. Suetonius isn’t exactly rich with detailed descriptions of the corridor. He just says it was a covered passage.

Unless there was only one of them underneath the palace, I don’t see how they could know for sure they’ve found the place Caligula died.

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