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Portico belonging to Caligula unearthed in Rome

Archaeologists have unearthed a portico that belonged to Caligula at the construction site for the Piazza Pia underpass in Rome.

Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, most commonly known as Caligula, was emperor of the Roman Empire from AD 37 until he was assassinated in AD 41.

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Among the few surviving sources about Caligula, most were written by members of the nobility and senate long after the events they describe.

During his reign, Caligula became increasingly self-indulgent and ruled in tyranny, demanding that he be worshiped as a living god.

His relationship with the Senate deteriorated into outright hostility and open mockery, resulting in his assassination by officers of the Praetorian Guard, senators, and courtiers.

According to a statement by the Italian Ministry of Culture, construction works at the Piazza Pia underpass has led to the discovery of a colonnaded portico and a large open area designed as a palatial garden.

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The association of the structure with Caligula is due to a lead water pipe (fistula plumbea) uncovered in situ, which is stamped with “C(ai) Csaris Aug(usti) Germanici” – Caesar Augustus Germanicus.

The discovery also has parallels with ancient literary sources. A passage written by Philo of Alexandria (20 BC – AD 50) describes an event in which Caligula receives a diplomatic delegation of Alexandrian Jews following civil strife between the Jewish and Greek communities of Alexandria. The text describes a large garden overlooking the Tiber, separated by a monumental portico.

Header Image Credit : AGI

Sources : Italian Ministry of Culture

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 8,000 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
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