This page cannot be viewed in frames

Go to page

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Caligula and his “romances”

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


Caligula was remembered as one of the worst rulers of ancient Rome. If we believe historians’ accounts the Emperor would have distinguished himself with controversial ‘romances’.

Augustus, his great-grandfather, would certainly be shocked if he saw what Caligula is doing. During his reign, he lived in an official concubinage with his own sisters. In addition, he often allowed himself to deal with married women, and with the knowledge of their husbands. We know the message that the emperor was once on Gaius Piso and Livia Orestillia’s marriage. After the whole ceremony, Caligula went with the wife of Piso to his chambers to return and announce that he married a woman as Romulus, who according to legend, had ordered the kidnapping of the women from Sabines to Rome.

Only after a few days, the Emperor divorced Livia, because his attention was attracted by the beautiful Lollia Paulina. He was so charmed by her beauty that he called her and her husband to Rome and ordered them to make divorce. The marriage of Caligula and Paulina lasted only a few weeks; the emperor, as before, divorced and under the death penalty forbade her to make love with other men. Eventually, Caligula married Caesonia, the daughter of a baker – because of low origins she could not be title empress.

In addition to “official” accounts, Caligula allowed himself to indulge with married women at feasts. During the banquets, he abducted the wives of others, and after a while, he would come back as if nothing had happened at the table where their husbands waited.

Caligula did not despise men either. A certain Valerius Catullus complained publicly that the emperor treated him hard. In addition, Caligula maintained sexual relations with her sister’s husband Marcus Lepidus and the actor pantomime Mnester. The second lover was the Emperor’s favourite, and also the best dancer of his time. The emperor did not allow any interference with Mnester’s performance and was severely punished even coughing in the audience.

Caligula’s crazy idea was to organize a luxury public house in the imperial palace. Caligula played the role of a pimp, and the sisters and patricians acted as prostitutes.

  • Koper Sławomir, Życie prywatne i erotyczne w starożytnej Grecji i Rzymie, Warszawa 1998

IMPERIUM ROMANUM needs your support!

If you like the content that I collect on the website and that I share on social media channels I will be grateful for the support. Even the smallest amounts will allow me to pay for further corrections, improvements on the site and pay the server.



Find out more!

Check your curiosity and learn something new about the ancient world of the Romans. By clicking on the link below, you will be redirected to a random entry.

Random curiosity

Random curiosity

Discover secrets of ancient Rome!

If you want to be up to date with newest articles on website and discoveries from the world of ancient Rome, subscribe to the newsletter, which is sent each Saturday.

Subscribe to newsletter!

Subscribe to newsletter

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: