[In 2 parts]
This Palatine Hill Cryptoporticus has recently opened (Spring '06 or earlier) after being closed for many years.
It seems to be generally accepted/believed this is the cryptoporticus that Caligula was assassinated in.
IMO, everything fits perfectly and it is the only possibility in that timeframe.
I love to stand in locations like this and play out major historical events in my mind that happened ~2000yrs ago.
*But* I am only happy doing this if I know the exact location that these events took place, this cryptoporticus is 130m long.
But there is no ancient plaque or 'X' on the floor marking this location. Or any books, papers, diagrams, etc by historians or archaeologists that I have found saying where the actual assassination took place.
I have also posted this question on history and archaeology Newsgroups with no luck.
I have an advantage though, I have no academic reputation to tarnish and I doubt the other truckdrivers will ostracize me if I am wrong .
I've spent hours seaching the net and reading a few history books. And these sources have given alot of clues mainly from the ancient writers about this location.
With these clues and just common sense as there are only 2 possible locations in this cryptoporticus it really seems to be IMO a certainty where these events took place.
But bottomline and in reality this location is just my guess as there is no *solid proof* that it is the actual location, I believe it is and my reasons are below.
I originally wrote this ~1yr ago, since then some links went dead and the cryptoporticus opened.
I've added new links and rewrote it so sometimes I do repeat myself (esp with the 'hid' and 'ran down' info .
You will most likely enter the Palatine Hill from the Roman Forum. Go to www.vroma.org:7878/3034
See the "You are here" next to the 'Arch of Titus'. You will turn right on the 'Nova Via' and around where the 'Via' is there is the Palatine Hill ticket office (ticket is also good for the Colosseum).
To go to the Cryptoporticus you don't want to to the top 2 bldgs shown in this photo www.ntimages.com/Italy/Rome/forum2palatine.jpg but halfway up the stairs take the path on the left and it will bring you to the cryptoporticus entrance where I believe Caligula's assassination took place.
'Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus' (AD 12 - AD 41) better known as Caligula. Which was a childhood nickname given to him by his father's troops meaning 'little sandal(s)' although it's usually translated as 'little boots'.
His great-uncle Emperor Tiberius very likely had his father poisoned and later killed his older brothers and his mother. Caligula was just a child so he and his sisters were spared. But he knew growing-up if he ever gave Tiberius the slightest reason to suspect him of revenge, he would be killed.
But Caligula only showed an interest in feasts, wine, incest, kinky sex and sadism, all carried out to the extreme.
And that is how he lived his life until the age of 24 when Tiberius died and he became Emperor.
The army and the people are overjoyed, they really hated Tiberius and they loved Caligula's father and his family (think JFK in the 60's).
He began his reign as a decent emperor, as far as emperors go and probably would have gone down in history as one.
Except ~6 months into it he became very ill, fell into a coma and was at the point of death.
When he finally recovered, that which came back from death's door was a total madman, who thought himself a living God and he even had temples built to himself.
This alone might have eventually got him killed along with blowing thru the Roman treasury on his partying and foolish building projects.
But his assassination was basically IMO caused by his preoccuption with sex which caused grave insult to two of the key conspirators.
Caligula had a habit of inviting Senators, aristocrats and their wives to Palace feasts. And in the middle of dining, he would choose one of their wives and take her to his bedroom.
On his return he would comment (pro or con) on her physical traits and her lovemaking ability as part of the dinner conversation.
During which the humiliated husband and his wife had no choice but to just sit there.
He had done this to M. Valerius Asiaticus who was a Senator and an ex-Consul.
Valerius and 3 other Senators were key players in the assassination.
But the Senators and others who want Caligula dead have a major problem, the Praetorian Guard who are the Imperial bodyguards to the Emperor. Plus to some extent Caligula's seperate but very loyal ($$$) German bodyguards.
So an Emperor has armed military men (Praetorian Guard) around him at all times, whose job it is to protect the Emperor's life even at the cost of their own.
So 'ya think' any Emperor in his right mind would want to keep these boys *very happy* with pay raises, bonuses, perks and respecting their profession. They are afterall proud, honorable and brave soldiers who will kill and die for you.
But Caligula goes way out of his way to tick them off! There are 4 high ranking Praetorian conspirators, three Tribunes (Colonel) and the co-Prefect (General) of the Guard.
One of the Tribunes named Cassius Chaerea is the mastermind of the plot and it is he who will strike the first blow.
Chaerea is a proud, honorable man with a manly military appearance but he had a high or lisply voice. Caligula constantly made fun of him in front of others esp the Guards beneath his command. Caligula would call him a girl, a sissy, a weakling and would often choose sexually or love related passwords to be used when he was in 'Command of the Watch'. And on the occasions when Chaerea was required to kiss the Emperor's ring, Caligula would use his finger or fingers to mimic a sex act just to humiliate him.
All the conspirators (there are others involved also) need now is a good time and good place.
The *PLACE* they choose is the Cryptoporticus, a 130m tunnel that connects the Tiberius/Caligula Palace to the 'House of Livia' (aka 'House of Germanicus', 'House of Augustus') which is in the 'House of Augustus' complex.
There are two seperate side-by-side houses in this complex one is called the 'House of Augustus' and the other the 'House of Livia', this is the very modest palace that Emperor Augustus and his 2nd wife Livia live in during his reign.
But it seems that sometime after Augustus' death the 'House of Livia' becomes the 'House of Germanicus' (Caligula's father). Caligula is Augustus' great-grandson and Livia his step-great-grandmother who after the death of his parents raises Caligula and his sisters for a short time in this complex.
The *TIME* is during the multi-day 'Ludi Palatina' which are scenic plays held in honor of the late Emperor Augustus.
These plays are being held in a large wooden amphitheater on the Palatine Hill.
They choose the day when Ghaerea will be on duty in this cryptoporticus.
Caligula leaves the amphitheater for an afternoon break back at the Palace, he wants a meal and to relax a bit in the Baths (he is also suffering from a hang-over and gluttony from a feast the night before).
He *Enters* the cryptoporticus with a small entourage and leaves his German bodyguards at the entrance [It *seems* the Germans guarded him at and from the crowded amphitheater but passed on their duties to the Praetorian Guard once inside the Palace cryptoporticus?].
There are conspirators within his entourage and in the cryptoporticus waiting with the two Tribunes of the Praetorian Guard (Chaerea and Cornelus Sabinus).
Caligula stops to talk to some young Asian boys practicing their singing act in the cryptoporticus that they will perform later.
Caligula even offers to return to the amphitheater right then to hear them perform but one of the boys complains he has a chill right now and begs off.
Either at that moment or seconds later when he gives the password to Chaerea he is struck by Chaerea's sword or dagger. Chaerea only wants to wound Caligula just so he'll suffer and know he is about to die also for the sweetness of revenge.
The 1st wound lands on his jaw another account says the neck & shoulder area.
Caligula's screams echo thru the tunnel as he tries to flee from Chaerea only to be tripped-up and sent sprawling to the ground by Sabinus who also stabs him.
Now the other conspirators fall upon him with their daggers, in their frenzy some are even biting into his flesh.
Caligula has 30 wounds, a few intentionally aimed at his privates by those I assume he had humiliated sexually.
Even though he is dead, the honor of administering final 'coup de grace' thrust is given to a man named Aquila, history records his name but not his reason.
During the attack Caligula's 'litter bearers' try to come to his aid using their litter poles as weapons. But to no avail.
Now the assassins must escape, the German bodyguards are still at the cryptoporticus entrance and will soon enter the tunnel when they hear what has happened. They are loyal to Caligula because he pays them very well, so they must be avoided until things calm down or they can be dealt with.
The assassins run down the tunnel to the 'House of Livia/Germanicus' and hide there. This is part of the Palace complex and under the Praetorian Guard's control.
The Germans enter the tunnel and see their Emperor dead. They start killing the assassins that have stayed, the blood on their clothing gives them away. Although one Senator is killed mistakenly because he has blood on his toga either by an earlier animal sacrifice or was just unluckily standing near Caligula when stabbed.
The Germans hold the others in the tunnel and later seal off the amphitheater's exits, so no one can escape while they search for other assassins and conspirators. Finally they realize that with their sugar-daddy Emperor dead they are in a no-win position and stand-down.
Praetorian Guards enter the Palace, Caligula's wife Caesonia is stabbed to death and their young daughter is picked-up and has her head bashed against a wall.
Caligula's uncle Claudius fearing for his life hides behind some curtains in the palace. And just like in those old movies, his feet stick out betraying his hiding place. He's then taken to the Praetorian Guard's barracks and held there for a few days.
Claudius is no fool, he wisely tells these soldiers that they are way underpaid and need a big raise plus a nice bonus .
Well the soldiers readily agree, it is exactly what they wanted to hear. The soldiers then go down to the Senate House and *TELL* the Senators "We have a new Emperor". This is the first time the Praetorian Guard have ever done this but it will not be the last!
Caligula was 28 on Jan 24, 41AD, he ruled for 3yrs and 10 months. His body was secretly taken to a villa's garden and hastily burned and buried.
Later this garden was haunted by his ghost until his sisters returned from exile and properly cremated him and placed his ashes in the 'Tomb of Augustus'.
And the Palace where he was murdered beneath, it's claimed that not a night passed without some fearsome apparition appearing. It remained haunted until it was finally destroyed in Nero's Great Fire in 64AD.
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Rome: Palatine Hill's Cryptoporticus Now Open & Caligula's Assassination (rewrite)
[In 2 parts]