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Incitatus – horse of Caligula

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Print showing Incitatus at feast
Print showing Incitatus at feast

Incitatus was Spain’s favourite racehorse of Emperor Caligula, whom he made consul of Rome. According to Suetonius, the animal had 18 servants for itself, he lived in a marble stable, walked in a harness decorated with precious stones and dressed in purple, and ate from an ivory manger.

In the end, the horse was given a furnished home and servants, so that the guests invited on its behalf could feast more comfortably. Cassius Dio adds that the horse was fed “golden barley” (barley mixed with gold flakes). Cassius Dio also reported that the horse had its own servants and that Caligula would make him a priest.

Incitatus regularly attended Caligula’s feasts: on this occasion, the emperor toasted the steed’s health. Dio and Suetonius report that Caligula was going to make Incitatus a consul.

The death of Caligula and the change to the imperial throne thwarted these plans.

  • Cassius Dio, Roman history, LIX.14.7.28
  • Suetonius, Caligula, 55.3

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