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January 20, 2011

Adhuc Vivo!

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Est: News the lost tomb of Caligula has been found.

The tomb of Caligula has been unearthed in Italy almost 2,000 years after his death, it has been claimed.

Italian police said the discovery was made after a man was arrested trying to smuggle abroad a statue of the Roman emperor which had been stolen from the site.

Non est: Unfortunately, historical evidence suggests that this cannot be so.

Caligula was assassinated in his palace on the Palatine Hill in Rome in 41 AD. According to Suetonius' Life (chap 59), his body was taken to the horti Lamiani, the site of an imperial pleasure gardens on the Esquiline Hill. There he was quickly cremated and buried a light covering of turf. Later on his sisters returned, to cremate and bury it properly.

There is no suggestion whatsoever, so far as I know, that this burial was at Nemi, or that it was a grand tomb (the Latin just says "buried", sepultum). True, Caligula had a big villa there, but it is almost inconceivable that this assassinated symbol of imperial monstrosity would have been given a grand monument, plus a big statue there.

Pictured: Helen Mirren.

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Posted by Ghost of a flea at January 20, 2011 07:08 AM