Friday, September 6, 2013

Caligula Gold Coin Found in Cyprus

In late 2012 an ancient Gold aureus of emperor Caligula was discovered underwater in the area between Limassol and Larnaca in Cyprus by a local amateur fisherman.

The coin was made in Rome in the first century AD and depicts the Roman emperor Gaius (reigned AD 37-41), otherwise known forever to history by his nickname Caligula ('Little Boot').
Roman gold went east in payment for spices and silk. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder (AD 23/4-79) tells us that, in his day, over 25 million denarii were spent each year on this trade, equivalent to one million gold coins.
Caligula was very tall, with spindly legs and a thin neck. His eyes and temples were sunken and his forehead broad and glowering. His hair was thin and he was bald on top, though he had a hairy body. During his reign it was a crime punishable by death to look down on him as he passed by, or to mention a goat in his presence.
Caligula was sadistic, cruel and indulged in sexual aberrations that offended Rome and were considered insane. Caligula's power soon led him to believe himself a God. This led him to kill anyone that he thought surpassed him in something.

Declaring himself a deity caused a major backlash in Judea, because the Jewish law said that they could only worship their God. His refusal to revoke the decree that the nations worship him caused the revolution in Judea. Caligula's hubris eventually destroyed him. He insulted his Roman military commanders, particularly Cassius Chaerea, who plotted against and murdered him on January 24, 41 at the Palatine Games.