Caligula’s horse Incitatus, made a Roman senator

Reign 12-41AD Roman emperor Caligula’s most famous action was to make his favourite horse, Incitatus, a senator – like a member of Parliament (MP) in the UK.

statue of man on horse

Statue of a Youth on Horseback, British Museum. Thought to be Caligula

He silenced objections with threats of death and forced suicide. He had the horse sworn in and gave it a wife – a mare called Penelope.

It is unclear whether Caligula was mentally ill, was testing the extent of his power by making silly demands, or had a grudge against the Senate.

Little Boot

Caligula, whose real name was Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, got his nickname – little boot – as a boy going to battles with his army father, dressed in a tiny soldier’s outfit.

Caligula killed his cousin, who was joint emperor, and enjoyed having people’s heads chopped off. He is said to be one of the worst Roman rulers ever, but much is based on rumour rather than proof.

Caligula was killed by members of his own guard, fed up with his rule.

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