by Ted Bauman
The Sovereign Investor
In A.D. 37, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus — better known as Caligula — became emperor of Rome. Citizens, especially the elite senatorial class, were overjoyed. Despite the fact that he had improved the Empire’s defenses and finances, Caligula’s predecessor, the gloomy and reclusive Tiberius, had long since worn out his welcome.
Caligula’s personal background promised great things. His father was a much-loved Roman general who had subdued the Germanic tribes to the north, adding much territory to the Empire. Caligula had spent many years campaigning with his armies.
Romans adored Caligula at first. He decreed many populist reforms. The historian Suetonius recorded that 160,000 animals were sacrificed during public rejoicing over his accession to the principate.