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SPAIN, Caesaraugusta. Gaius (Caligula). AD 37-41. Æ As (30mm, 11.52 g, 6h). Licinianus and Germanus, duoviri. Laureate head left / Founder plowing right with yoke of oxen. ACIP 3100a; RPC I 371. Joe Geranio Collection, anyone may use as long as credit is given.
Caius Caesar was born in 12 A.D., the son of Germanicus and Agrippina Sr. He was nicknamed Caligula, meaning "little boots," by the legions because as a child his mother dressed him in military uniforms (including little boots). Initially he was very popular, succeeding Tiberius in 37 A.D. and for a few brief months ruling very well. However, an unknown disease drove him mad and his reign soon degenerated into debauchery and murder. He was murdered by the Praetorian Guard in 41 A.D.
Joe counting hair curls, pincers, etc.......... from profile. The Gettty Caligulan head is fantastic for showing agreement on Caligula' Vesta aes (bronze coins). See example below. Remember; these portraits are found without inscribed statue bases if that was the case and numismatics are the key for helping ID these wonderful Julio Claudian portraits. The only thing I love more than collecting Julio Claudian coins is identifying portraits in the round, but you can't do that without numismatics.
For more on this portrait see: F. Johansen, " The Sculpted Portraits of Caligula," Ancient Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum, ...
Johansen 1987, p. 97. Probably made shortly after Caligula's accession, this head I have seen personally at the J. Paul Getty Museum. A most impressive head from Asia Minor. See also (JWAG) "A Pre-Principate Portrait of Gaius (Caligula?) by John Pollini 1982, p. 6. See: D. Boschung, "Die Bildnisse des Caligula", Gebuder-Mann, (1989)
This is about 20 years ago when I first became interested in Julio Claudian Portraiture. My Julio Claudian buds and myself drove 400 miles; studied the portraits and then drove home and went to work on about 2 hours sleep!! We really knew how to roll!!
Unknown - Caligula Portrait
Roman, Asia Minor, about A.D. 40
16 15/16 in.
The Roman emperor Gaius, more commonly known by his nickname Caligula, ruled from A.D. 37 to 41 and was extremely unpopular. In fact, after he was murdered, almost all portraits of him were destroyed.
The Romans had a long tradition of portraiture, but portraits of emperors had a specific propaganda function beyond that of ordinary portraits. The actual appearance of the individual was combined with the political message that the portrait was meant to convey. Portraits of Caligula show a young man with a high forehead, small mouth, and thin lips. He is identifiable as an individual, yet his hairstyle copies that of the emperor Augustus, making a deliberate allusion to his dynastic connection and his right to rule.
The depiction of the emperor in these official portraits bears no resemblance to the unpleasant descriptions of Caligula provided by Roman writers such as Suetonius:
Height: tall -- Complexion: pallid -- Body: hairy and badly built -- Neck: thin -- Legs: spindling -- Eyes: sunken -- Temples: hollow -- Forehead: broad and forbidding -- Scalp: almost hairless, especially on top. Because of his baldness and hairiness he announced that it was a capital offense either for anyone to look down on him as he passed or to mention goats in any context.
Augustus Recut Portrait-
Roman, about A.D. 50
15 3/8 in.
After many years of civil war, Augustus took complete power in Rome in 27 B.C. He claimed that he was re-establishing the Roman Republic, but he actually founded the Roman Empire. Visual signs emphasizing its power and legitimacy bolstered this new political order.
Portraits of Augustus served as symbols of his political agenda rather than corresponding to his physical features as described in written sources. Augustus is always shown in an ideal, classicizing style, and he never ages over the length of his reign. One constant feature of Augustus's portraits is his hairstyle, with its distinctive forked locks of hair on his forehead.
This portrait was carved about the middle of the first century A.D., after Augustus' death in A.D. 14. Posthumous portraits of Augustus were popular and were often used by his successors to legitimize their rule. This portrait, however, may originally have been a head of Caligula, a later emperor. The head's wide-open eyes and concave temples characterize Caligula's portraits. When the hated Caligula was murdered in A.D. 41, most portraits of him were destroyed, but some may have been re-carved into other, more popular emperors. Joe Geranio(From Getty text)
Caligula from New Haven-Roger Ulrich
Caligula in Bronze on globe. Found in Colchester/flickr photo- Joe Geranio
Caligula from Herakleion- Photo Courtesy of Prof. John Pollini
GAIUS CALIGULA.. 37-41 AD. Æ As (10.72 gm). Struck 37-38 AD. C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, bare head left / VESTA above, S C across field, Vesta seated left, holding patera and sceptre. RIC I 38; BMCRE 46; BN 54; Szaivert 9-6; Cohen 27. Joe Geranio Collection- Can be used if credit is given.
Gaius (Caligula). AD 37-41. Æ As (28mm, 11.11 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 37-38. Bare head left / Vesta seated left on throne, holding scepter and patera; c/m: TIB CLA IMP (ligate). RIC I 38; for c/m: Pangerl 51. Joe Geranio Collection.
PHOENICIA, Tripolis. Gaius (Caligula). AD 37-41. Æ 21mm (8.84 g, 12h). Date CY 350 (AD 38/9). Laureate head left; L NT (date) below chin / The Dioscuri standing left, each holding wreath over pileus resting on ground and scepter. RPC 4519.15 (this coin); SNG Copenhagen -; BMC 38. Joe Geranio Collection- Anyone may use if credit is given.
KINGS of BOSPORUS. Aspurgus, with Gaius (Caligula). AD 14-38. Æ 12 Unit (25mm, 9.56 g). Struck AD 37-38. Bare head of Caligula right / Diademed head of Aspurgus right; monogram and IB in fields. MacDonald 302; RPC I 1904; Anokhin 320. Joe Geranio Collection- Anyone may use as long as credit is given.
IONIA, Smyrna. Gaius (Caligula), with Germanicus and Agrippina Senior. AD 37-41. Æ 21mm (6.42 g, 12h). Menophanes, magistrate, and Aviola, proconsul. Struck circa AD 37-38. Laureate head of Gaius (Caligula) right / Draped bust of Agrippina I right, vis-à-vis bare head of Germanicus left. RPC 2471; Klose XXIX, SNG von Aulock 2201.
Joe Geranio Collection- Anyone may use as long as credit is given.
|Library Catalog Search (Preliminary Version)|
Here are some details of the find. In fact, this denarius of Caligula is part of a small treasure of 20 denarii, scattered over a small area of semi-arid scrub land, near the ancient roman city of Nemausus (today Nimes). Thanks to the calcarious soil the coins did not suffer corrosion. Besides some broken roman tiles, the area was virgin. It was evidently a site where was located a small country house, modest in all ways and deserted ever since the first century AD. Through the wear of the coins, from republican denarii, gallion types of Marcus Antonius, several Augustus denarii and the common Tiberius denarius with Livia seated, it can easily be concluded that the 20 denarii were hidden or lost at one time, about 38 AD, because the wear of each coin was equivalent with the age as compared with the most recent one (of Caligula). Nothing else was found here, except a small copper Gallic coin, much older, and, since it was in superb condition, using the same wear/age considerations, was lost about a hundred years earlier. Knowing that the salary of a common soldier at that time was about one denarius a day, the amount of denarii found here was quite considerable. The brown margin on top of the reverse is concretion (some people mistakenly thought the coin is subaerate). As the above information is first-hand, I can guarantee the coin is genuine. For sentimental reasons the coin is not for sale, but I’ll be happy to contribute to numismatic science by publication of its image Regards Frank. This was sent to me by Frank where he found this denarius of Caligula. Frank granted portraitsofcaligula.com permission to use. These are Franks comments - Joe Geranio
Photo sent to Joe Geranio. I have yet to see one in person - Joe Geranio.
Detailed biography goes here
Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
Caligula, the grand nephew and murderer of Tiberius, most worthy to succeed that emperor, because of an equally infamous, though not so able a tyrant, reigned from A.D. 37 to A.D. 41.
Hence Ausonius, in his poem, referring to this cruel wretch, says --
As emperor, however, he was always called Caius, and he considered himself insulted by the name of Caligula.
He was the youngest son of Germanicus, the nephew of Tiberius and Agrippina; born in 12 A.D. on the day before the calends of September, at Antium, as Suetonius has proved at great length (in Caligula, ch. 8). In 17 A.D., he went into Syria with his father, at whose death, within two years, he returned to Rome with his mother. After she was banished, he was transferred to his great grand-mother Julia and when she diet to his grand-mother Antonia.
In 31 A.D., after the violent deaths of his brothers Nero and Drusus, and also of Sejanus, whose plots he alone had escaped he was he was the apparent successor to the empire and invested with the Pontificate.
In 33 A.D., on the same day he assumed the toga he laid aside his beard, he was nominated questor and Tiberius invited him to Capraea. He moved in with Tiberius, feigning ignorance or indifference, regarding the murder of his relations, as though it did not concern him. He so obsequiously obeyed Tiberius the it was a common expression, that "there never was a better servant, or a worse master." (Sueton, ch. 10)
In 37 A.D., Tiberius was attacked with a severe illness from which he was recovering when Caligula, at the instigation of Maero, the praetorian prefect, put and end to his life by smothering him.
Caligula entered Rome after Tiberius' death and compelled the Senate to join him, by a Senatus Consultum, in depriving Tiberius, son Drusus junior and the elder Tiberius' heir in his last will, of his right to the empire.
The funeral ceremonies of were performed with due pomp by Caligula.
In the calends of July he entered upon the office of Consul Suffectus, as colleague to his uncle Claudius, and after two months resigned it.
Dion wrote, "In a short time he assumed so much the air of a king, that all those honors, which Augustus had accepted only when duly arrived at the sovereignty, and even then with hesitation as they were decreed from time to time, and many of which Tiberius altogether declined, were by Caligula grasped in one day, with the exception only of Pater Patriae, which, however was not long deferred."
In 39 A.D., in the calends of January, he entered his second Consulate and resigned the office in thirty days. (Sueton ch. 17)
Having exhausted the treasury by his profuse expenditure on public spectacles and other extravagances, he endeavoured to repair the deficiency by the slaughter of wealthy citizens; and then proceeded to Gaul, their to practice the like system of murder and spoliation.
The name of Germanicus does not appear on coins of this year, nor ever subsequently.
Having invited over from Africa, Ptolemy, the son of Juba, he put him to death on the pretence of the young prince's ostentatious bearing. (Dion, B. lix. 25)
Proceeding to the ocean, as if about to invade Britain, he ordered his soldiers to gather shell-fish, and returned as a conqueror, laden with the spoils of the sea. (Sueton. ch. 46)
L. Vitellius, prefect of Syria, the same year, gave such a lesson to Artabanus, the Persian, who was threatening an invasion of Armenia that the later abandoned his design, and paid his adoration to the statues of Augustus and of Caligula. (Dion, I. e.)
In 41 A.D., he began hid fourth consulate, on the 7th of the ides of January. Shortly afterwards (viz. on the 9th of the calends of February), he was assassinated by the conspirators Cassius Chaerea and Cornelius Sabinus.
Caligula's accession to the empire was hailed with joy by the Roman people; but their satisfaction was based on no solid foundations, being the result rather of their deep-rooted attachment to his father Germanicus. He seeming, indeed, responded to the fond wishes of the nation, by many acts of piety, justice, and moderation. But it too soon became apparent that these virtues were not of natural growth but owed their exhibition to the policy of Tiberius, who wished through their influences to consolidate his own power in the empire. For there was not act of cruelty, folly, meanness or infamy, which this monster and madman did not delight in perpetrating. He caused his horse, whom he called Incitatus, to be introduced at dinner time, setting before him gilded corn, and drinking his health in golden cups; and he would have created him consul, had he lived long enough. He imitated all the gods and goddesses, in the adoration which he caused to be paid to him, becoming by turns Jupiter, Bacchus, Hercules, Juno, Diana, and Venus. He constructed a bridge of vessels joined together from Puteoli to Baiae, and crossing over with his troops invaded puteoli and then recrossed it in a kind of triumph, delighting in hearing himself called Alexander the Great. By his absurd and extravagant undertakings of this kind, before the year was fully expired, he had squandered the enormous sums of money left by Tiberius. (Vicies ae septics millies IIS. -- See Sestertium).
He both claimed and receive divine worship, and was the greatest blasphemer that ever lived; yet he quailed in the conviction of a deity, and crept under his bed whenever he heard thunder. With savage inhumanity he attended executions in person, and made parents behold the merciless torments inflicted on their children. He contracted and dissolved marriages with equal caprice and dishonesty. Besides his incestuous union with Drusilla, he seized and repudiated three wives, and was at last permanently attached to Caesonia a mother of children by another man, and without your or beauty, but of depravity corresponding with his own.
Other instances of his incredible cruelty and lust may be found in Suetonius, Philo, and Dion. Such infatuations are evident tokens not only of a brutal nature, but also of a distempered intellect. Nor is it possible to entertain other than supreme contempt for the base servility of the Romans, who could offer solemn adoration to a wretch openly guilty of the most detestable and unnatural crimes; and whose adage was oderint, dum metuant (Let them hate so long as they fear).
The gold and silver coins of Caligula are of considerable rarity. Sestertii are also rare. Ases are more common, yet still expensive due to popularity of collecting the infamous emperor and because they generally exhibit good workmanship. When Caligula was destroyed, the dastardly senators, who had so recently sacrificed to him, ordered all his statues to be demolished, his acts abrogated, his money melted down and his inscriptions defaced, in order that his memory might be extinguished forever. Yet this sentence has not prevented a considerable number of his coins from reaching us, though consequently, except for ases, they are of considerable rarity when in good preservation. The coins of Caligula, minted at Rome, do not exhibit Imperator as a surname. This title is used on colonial coins. The only imperial coin of Caligula bearing IMP is a denarius.
On his coins, Caligula resembles his grandfather, but is less noble and has a malignant expression. He was at great pains to cherish this horrid index of his cruel disposition.