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Caligula tazza


Not on view

Caligula was not a good emperor. Suetonius describes episodes in which he displays cruelty, sexual perversion, even insanity—like his attempt to make his favorite horse a government official. But this dish only features Caligula’s commendable behavior. For example, in the third scene, the emperor generously hands out money to the Roman people. This is in keeping with the overall emphasis of the Silver Caesars, which highlight themes of legitimacy, magnanimity, popularity, dynastic succession, and military prowess.

Scene one
After the death of the emperor Augustus, Roman soldiers are on the brink of mutiny (A.D. 14). The infant Caligula is removed from an army camp for his safety

The soldiers love baby Caligula. Catching sight of him being taken away, they feel remorse and end the uprising

Scene two
Artabanus, king of the Parthians and former enemy of the Romans, crosses the Euphrates seeking friendship with the new emperor, Caligula (A.D. 37)

Wearing a traditional Armenian crown, Artabanus kneels in homage before the provincial governor (the future emperor Vitellius) and Roman military symbols

Scene 3
Caligula generously hands out money to his people

Scene 4
Caligula constructs a bridge of boats stretching across the Bay of Baiae, near Naples. Wearing a crown of oak leaves, he marches back and forth across its three-mile length in a magnificent spectacle

Caligula tazza, Gilded silver, Netherlandish?

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Caligula tazza (reassembled from two different collections)