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Caligula’s dishonest bid

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


Caligula (reigned 37-41 CE) went down in history as one of the most unbalanced Roman emperors. During his rule, the emperor tried to obtain as much wealth as possible, including through auction.

According to Suetonius, during one of the auctions organized by Caligula, numerous senators took part. During such an auction, a senator named Aponius Saturninus took a nap and nodded his head while he was selling. Caligula told the auctioneer to keep counting head nods as approval for subsequent purchases. In this way, Caligula forced Roman to buy 13 gladiators for the huge sum of nine million sestertii.

  • Suetonius, Caligula, 38

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