For four years, Caligula capriciously ruled Rome, drained the treasury, and mocked the Senate—until those sworn to protect him plotted his death. Caligula was a nickname meaning ‘Little Boot’ or ‘Bootikin’ that was bestowed on the future emperor when he was a small boy by his father’s soldiers in Germany, where he paraded around among them in a miniature legionary’s uniform. Throughout the centuries the name of Caligula has been synonymous with madness and infamy, sadism and perversion. It has been said that Marshal Gilles de Rais, perhaps the most notorious sadist of all time, modelled his behaviour. on that of the evil Caesars described by Suetonius, among whom is numbered Caligula. According to his biographer Suetonius, Caligula believed himself to be a god and often said: “Remember that I have the right to do anything to anybody.” He humiliated senators by making them run behind his litter or forcing them to fight for his amusement. Suetonius wrote, “When the consuls forgot to make proclamation of his birthday, he deposed them, and left the state for three days without its highest magistrates.” Caligula allegedly had a voracious appetite in the bedroom, and as emperor, nobody would defy him. Historians wrote that he would sleep with his own officials’ wives, then brag about it publicly in front of them. In addition to four successive wives, Caligula was said to have enjoyed his sisters in bed. He threatened numerous other aristocratic women into submitting to him and went round boasting about it. He staged trials of innocent people so as to confiscate their estates, while lavishing quantities of money on luxuries for himself. He also provided spectacular games in the Circus to entertain the common people and retain their loyalty, although bored on one occasion and, with no criminals available that day, he allegedly had a group of the spectators thrown to the wild beasts in the arena to liven things up. Unlike his predecessors, Caligula was an idler. He could not be bothered with the hard routine work of his office, which he handed over to assistants while he enjoyed himself. He became increasingly suspicious and resentful of the Senate. Many suspects were killed or banished and the emperor began publicly praising the advantages of full-scale autocracy and insisting that he was already a god and must be worshipped while still alive (unlike his predecessors). Caligula was cold-blooded from the start. He often bragged that he once carried a dagger into Emperor Tiberius’s bedroom with the intention of killing him, avenging his mother and brothers. Apparently, when he entered the room and found Tiberius asleep, he had a change of heart and left, but he still felt like people had to know that he could have done it. Caligula could be utterly monstrous in his dealings with humans, but that doesn’t mean he disregarded all forms of life: He loved his horse Incitatus so much that he gave him his own house with a marble stall and manger made from ivory. Caligula even planned to make the horse a consul as an expression of his total power, but died before he had the opportunity. Some writers believe that Caligula lived in constant fear of having a seizure, and this made him paranoid and cruel. To further the epilepsy diagnosis, multiple sources confirmed that Caligula could not swim, despite the fact that swimming lessons would absolutely have been a part of his education. One reason for this might be that he was afraid he would have a seizure and drown while in the water.