Germanicus and Agrippina: The Golden Couple, Parents of the “Mad” Emperor Caligula | Ancient Origins Members Site


Germanicus and Agrippina: The Golden Couple, Parents of the “Mad” Emperor Caligula

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Agrippina and Germanicus

Germanicus and Agrippina: The Golden Couple, Parents of the “Mad” Emperor Caligula

Roman Emperor Caligula fell severely ill six months into his rule. When he recovered, he abandoned the toga for silk gowns and often dressed as a woman. He also declared himself as a living god. Caligula’s illness was widely credited by contemporary historians as a turning point to his madness. In contrast, Caligula’s parents, Germanicus and Agripinna, were the ‘Brad and Angelina’ of Ancient Rome. Their union provided the genetic lynch-pin between the two most powerful dynasties in Rome – the Julian and the Claudian, as well as celebrity, nobility and glamour. They were beloved by the Emperor and the empire alike. From the glowing reports on Germanicus and Agripinna, it was hard to believe that Caligula was their son.

Emperor Caligula.

Emperor Caligula. (CC BY-SA 3.0)

However, it is possible that Caligula’s descent into madness was not as dramatic as it was reported. His childhood was extraordinary even by ancient Roman standards. In the time that he lived in and all Caligula and his parents have had to go through as a family, is it so hard to believe that this may have planted at least some of the seeds of Caligula’s peculiarities?


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