The Demon Emperor of Rome: Part Two
- The Demon Emperor of Rome: Part Two -
In the previous part, I did lay out the entire history of my reign as the notorious Roman emperor who was known as Caligula. Therein, is the context, the backdrop, for the events that follow. Events that in the end proved so shocking, that they resulted in my death. Some said I was mad, but I was not. I was then, as now, divine in nature... and unknowable to those who judged me by lesser standards than they ought to have. Having been constrained by the dark Order of the Serpent for far too long... whose odd dictates made me more hated and despised with each passing day... I decided, in the year 40, to act with all haste against them. This had to be done in secret... since in the public sense, that group did not exist. They were a secret society whose ultimate goals were kept even from myself. They had manipulated I knew not how many events throughout the history of the Roman Empire... but I intended to see to it in a most personal manner, that they could never influence anything, ever again. Their main headquarters, I had never been to previously. I had only ever met with them at designated locations in the city of Rome itself, always random ones and always at night. Always at the second hour after midnight. But they did not make any secret about their place of power, for it lay at the very bosom of the Imperial Cult, the one that oversaw the worship of all the emperors of Rome, and regulated how that worship was to be done. The Senate had long since awarded me with divinity, and declared that I was to be given the proper sort of state worship that was due to all emperors both before and after me. However, I was never to refer to myself as an actual god. That was forbidden! But like the great Julius Caesar before me, I had taken to doing precisely that... referring to myself as a true living god. They meant to honor me, with titles that had no weight to them, no true meaning. But I was going to give them meaning! One way... or another. On this day, I journeyed to the wealthy city of Pergamum, which had of old been one of the largest of all cultural centers during the days of the ancient Greek empire. When Rome took over and Augustus Caesar established the cult of emperor worship, setting forth its' rules and regulations... it was this very city that was chosen to be the Imperial Cult's headquarters, its' beating heart. That may have been well and good for Augustus, but I was not him. The Christians believed Pergamum to be the literal throne of the Devil, the seat of Satan on Earth. Atop the acropolis in that city... there was a magnificent temple to the god Zeus, whom we called Jupiter in Rome. But that is not where I was bound! My destination was to be the library, one of the grandest in all the world during those days. It housed countless volumes, be they books, scrolls, or other texts. I had my most trusted and loyal bodyguards with me at the time, each and every man resplendent in his finest armor. Every man a member of my personal Gemanic Guard, a force of trained soldiers that rivaled even the Praetorian Guard in terms of their reputation. I did not at all care if the Order of the Serpent knew we were coming. How could they stop us? They could hide all they wished to, they could cower in the den, but we knew where that den was and were on our way to it.
There was a guarded chamber in that library that no one was ever allowed to enter... watched over by two eunuch warrior priests, both former gladiators who had won their freedom. Their masters believed that no emperor would ever dare to rise against them, considering it an unthinkable sacrilege that none would consider. The eunuchs were trained well enough to deter the common folk. Even gladiators with all their skill would have been frightened away by these two! But we were not common, nor were we gladiators. I was the emperor, after all, and my companions were far beyond the skill of these two fools to stand up to. Even so, I was surprised that the former gladiators put up such a fight! One of my guards managed to decapitate the first warrior priest, his blood spraying out upon the wall near the doors that he had been guarding. The other one attempted to flee upon seeing this, and was cut down in the act of doing so. “These men were fanatics!” declared Decius, the man whom I made captain over this small contingent of my personal guards. He was in charge of this entire operation. I remarked: “I know they are. That is all part of what I explained to you previously, and why this group is a danger to all Rome.”
The doors were locked but the eunuchs both had identical copies of the keys on them. I knew that this secret order was paranoid... but this was ridiculous. Decius unlocked the doors and we stormed into the large chamber beyond. Within it, was a massive circular table with seven throne-like chairs arranged all around it. The light was dim and the torches and braziers barely allowed enough illumination to see by. There were shelves lining the walls, and upon the table was a map of the known world. A tapestry hung upon the far wall, just past the table from where one entered, and it was decorated with an image of a great red dragon swallowing its' own tail. Seated in each of the thrones were seven old men and women who were all members of the Imperial Cult on the side. The cult never knew about this place, nor of the true loyalties these people possessed. “How dare you intrude upon us like this? You were supposed to be in Rome today, meeting with the Senate regarding the situation in Jerusalem.” I walked up to the old man who spoke thus to me, drew a dagger from my belt, and pointed it in his face. Everyone a that table gasped as I did so. “That, my friend, is what I wanted you to believe!” I exclaimed to him. The man was a coward, clearly, and was visibly shaking with fear. I then declared: “From this day forth, I am hereby abolishing this order. I am a living god, after all... the very god this order claims to serve. Yet, you did not truly believe me about that, did you?” I then repeated the words: “Did you!” as I cut into the man's nose with my blade. They could not find the words to utter, so terrified were they. “Like the Senate, all of you sought to honor me with mere titles. I reject your honors, your titles, for I have a higher one than any you could possibly imagine! I reject all of you.” The man whose nose I cut said defiantly: “We have guided Rome since its' founding, since before even the days of Augustus! We serve the Dragon, the old god whose name was revered in Atlantis, and...” but before he could say anything further, I leaned very close to his face, looked him in his dark gray eyes, and screamed: “I am the Dragon! Hear me roar.” to which the man cried out: “Oh gods protect us! You truly are mad.” I then slashed his left cheek with my dagger and explained: “Mad? Hardly! I was there in Atlantis, you see... in other flesh than this. Perhaps that is why, you do not recognize me? I look so very different now, after all. One of my names was, if memory serves, Samael. I see that you recognize the name! Good, very good.” The old man knew then that I was not mad after all, and he swallowed hard. “No, this cannot be! We... we were to be chosen, to be the heralds of your coming. But not yet! This is too soon, too...” and right at that point I stabbed the man through his throat. “Too late for you!” I said in a calm tone that belied the anger in my heart. He died bleeding to death, clutching his neck and he slumped forward. That took a bit, and in that time I ordered my guards to put the rest of those gathered in that place to death. I ordered the tapestry cut into pieces and burned in one of the braziers, and had the men leave the bodies of these people as a warning to others. “They were dogs in life, so let us leave them here for the dogs.” I proclaimed. For almost an entire month, orders were posted on the doors to that chamber... stating that the bodies of those within were to remain there, as a testament to their blasphemy against the emperor in questioning my divinity. But only for a month! After that, the remains were collected and brought to the banks of the Tiber river in order to be cast in. The Imperial Cult was cautious after that not to incur my wrath too much. When I proclaimed my divinity in public... it was only the senators who still complained, and those who sought to maintain the old status quo that I was attempting to break away from. To make them understand just how much things had changed, I staged various gladiatorial events where sometimes certain people in the crowd would be thrown down into the arena and expected to participate in the deadly games taking place. It was never as random as it so seemed, for each of those thus condemned had been affiliated in some fashion with either the Order of the Serpent or those senators who were seeking to defy me. I did not enjoy such things... I had always preferred the chariot races so much more... but by attempting to ruin my name and wreck my reputation throughout the empire, my old enemies left me with no choice but to take action against them. For they had already acted against me! This was not the first time I did this, but each time I hoped it would be the last. Each time, I wept at the senselessness of the loss of life.
That year saw the expansion of the empire into the region of Mauretania... a client kingdom of Rome that was lorded over rather sloppily by its' ruler, Ptolemy. I invited him to Rome, in order to meet with him, but he was highly disrespectful to myself and to the memory of my late sister Drusilla. I heard oft hear rumors that he felt this way, and now had full confirmation of them. I had him executed, both for saying what he did... which I will not repeat here... and for more political reasons as well. I thereafter had the region of Mauretania divided into two provinces separated by the river Malua. This seemed the wisest course for that territory, though there was ever an element of unrest that I was not able to quell. I also turned my attention to Britannia, and considered very strongly conducting a proper sot of military campaign there, one that would go down in history as being akin to Julius Caesar's efforts in Gaul. We set out upon it rightly enough, but on our way there through the north, through Germania... I began to recall my father's time in Germania, and was overcome by a terrible wave of grief and despair that I had no way to alleviate. Decius was with me on that occasion and asked me: “My emperor, are you at all feeling well?” to which I replied: “I am beset with sorrow, Decius. These are haunted lands, I would so much rather be anywhere other than traveling through them.” The cold, the snows, the towering forests of pine trees, and in them I could see very clearly the ghosts of men and women who died here during the battles in which my father fought. We pressed on, however, despite my unease... and arrived at the English Channel, a journey that felt as if it took a lifetime, though of course it did not. Once we got to the shores of the sea, we made camp and began to conduct training exercises prior to attempting a basic scouting mission across the channel. I waited behind at the camp, and reports came back to me that an exiled British chieftain named Adminius was making his way to the channel with the intent to cross. An act that would take him squarely into the area where we had our main camp set up. The scouts who had delivered that report to me had arrived back at camp just in time, because not long after that we could see Adminius' ships beginning their crossing. They were literally walking straight into the mouth of the lion, so to speak! I ordered the camp dispersed, and my soldiers to hide themselves. Then, in the instant that Adminius and his followers disembarked and began to make their way inland from the beach, we sprung our trap and fell upon them with great fury. However, the enemy made no attempt to fight back and they surrendered to a man. Adminius attempted to convince me that Britannia's warriors would all surrender to us as his men had, and urged us to cross the channel and begin our campaign there at once. But, something seemed wrong to me about that... as if he was trying to lead us into a larger trap of his own, or perhaps of some other more powerful chieftain's design. My soldiers began to quarrel among themselves, and were split when it came to deciding how best to proceed. To make matters worse, the sea became very rough during all the arguing, and many of the men said that it was because the god Neptune was angry and did not wish for us to cross the sea into Britannia after all. Decius urged me to do something in order to settle this debate, and so I yelled loudly for the soldiers to stop bickering long enough to let me speak. I then proclaimed: “You fear Neptune's wrath, do you? He is only the god of the sea, and the sea alone. I am emperor of all Rome, of an empire that spans the whole of the known civilized world, and thus am I the god thereof. The god of this world! Is not the world greater than just the sea alone? Have faith in me, and know that even Neptune can be calmed when he is wrathful.” I then told the men to take up arms and attack the water with it. They did as commanded, slashing at the rough waves with the swords, stabbing at the water with their spears. Then, as if by a miracle, the water was calm and the men cheered at seeing this. I ordered them to collect seashells as proof of our victory over Neptune, and said that as a reward for such a victory we could call off the invasion of Britannia and return to Rome in a kind of spiritual triumph. On the way back, we visited several brothels and had many grand feasts. Decius smiled, knowing that we had taken the wisest course of action, whilst our prisoners, Adminius included, trembled at the thought of what might be awaiting them back in Rome. They were even more fearful... after seeing what we had done, when threatened by even a god's wrath.
I remember how much I could not stop myself from chuckling the day I decided to prove my point in regard to how foolish I felt the Roman Senate had become. I dressed myself in my finest attire, and did a rather inspired thing... I led my horse, Incitatus, into the great hall where the Senate met. The men of the Senate were not known for their sense of humor, save when making political jests at their enemies' or their rivals' expense. Sometimes even at the expense of one another! They spent so much time in the act of arguing over this or that... that I honestly came to be of the opinion that my horse could do a far better job as a senator than the lot of them. That was the joke that I had come to tell them, and so I had need of my horse to assist me in this. I was respectful, dignified, and perfectly series as I told all those assembled their of my intention to have Incitatus named consul. Bear in mind, that the office of consul was the highest elected political office that one could hold in the Roman Republic that had preceded the empire. But by the time I had become emperor, the office was merely an honorary one that held a bit of a symbolic tie to the old republic. It was good enough for a horse, I figured! I was curious to see if any of these fools would be open to the idea, because that surely would tell me just how much the Senate had lost its' collective mind. Yet, much to my surprise, they refused my suggestion outright and called it a ridiculous notion, as well as a total waste of their time. I replied to that with the statement: “Exactly! And that is also the precise sort of waste of time that all meetings within the halls of the Senate are.” to which many of the senators became quite angry, stating that I abused them too much. I remarked: “That is funny, because some say a horse can be driven too far... yet people do continue to ride, all the same!” After which I led Incitatus back out of the Senate hall, stifling a laugh as I did so. My point was proven. Incitatus had only the best a horse could ask for. A stable made from marble, with a manger decorated with ivory, along with purple blankets and a collar for the horse itself decorated with precious stones. He had servants to wait upon him, priests to attend him, and I even allowed him to invite dignitaries to dine with him in a great house that was roomy enough to allow for such a spectacle. The servants saw to the arrangement of these diversions, and I had the invitations all marked with the symbol of a great hoof print. Naturally, the horse did not actually write the invitations... it was one of the servants, at my suggestion. The hoof print signature was all my doing, however! A stylized design that I added myself. What I sought to prove about the uselessness of the Senate, I ended up succeeding in proving in regard to the Imperial Cult, when the cult actually approved my request for Incitatus to be named a priest. One of the highest ranking priests, in fact! For it was long known that one could simply buy such positions, and that you could buy them for anyone, even a beloved pet if the coin was right. That is just how very, truly, utterly ridiculous things had become in Rome. Apparently... I was the only one who got the joke.
It was the end of the year 40, or very near thereto. I do not remember the precise night, but on this one evening it was decided that a massive orgy should be in the offing. I was quite bored... and needed a bit of diversion. At any hour, there were always interesting things going on at the palace, but interesting is not always fun. But on that night, there was much fun to be had! The palace loomed above the city from its' perch atop the Palatine Hill, a great three story structure with many columns and great steps leading up to the palace's magnificent portals. It was a sight to behold! According to tradition, the first emperor Augustus had made his family's residence there, and over time the palace grew to massive proportions. On that night there was laughter, sighs, screams and occasionally sobbing to be heard from out of its' windows. There were eight guards at each entrance, four in the front of the doors, and four behind the doors. No one was allowed in without an invitation, and everyone who was invited was searched for any possible concealed weapons. A few wealthy strangers who were not expected were always able to bribe their way into such festivities, but even they had to be searched. Decius was the chief guard on duty that night, and under his watchful eye nothing untoward happened. I felt at ease, for once, and was able to relax and think about only pleasant things. The food and wine were plentiful, the music lovely.
I was wearing a beautiful purple silk Stola that night, rather than my usual Toga. It was the attire of a noblewoman, rather than a man, but it was only correct since on the eve of that great orgy I was in the guise of the goddess Venus. I had already dressed as Jupiter previously, at past orgies, and at least once as Mars... but that was only one time, when my sister Drusilla and I decided to take twenty four hours to engage in as much sexual intercourse as we could manage, in public, at a spectacular amphitheater that had been prepared for the occasion. Two other men were with us, and they enjoyed me as much as they did my sister, with myself enjoying all three of them. Tragically, that would also turn out to be the day in which Drusilla came down with the fever that claimed her life. For tonight's orgy, I had various statues of Drusilla brought into the halls and set up for people to regard. She was depicted as a goddess in every single stone likeness, with elements of gold worked into each sculpture. My other two sisters, the traitors, I had treated far less kindly once they had been found guilty of their crimes against me. I had the two women bound, and while so bound I did with them whatsoever I desired, ravishing them quite cruelly. I did the same to the man who had conspired with them, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. All three had been my lovers in the past, and that was the last time I engaged with them as such. Following their defilement at my hands, I had them taken to a public brothel where they were forced to serve any and every man or woman who wished to have their way with them for a total of five days. Thousands of vile acts were committed both upon them and by them during those days, and that was only the start of their humiliation. Drusilla would have been proud, for they had done much against she and I! My mind did not linger long upon those darker times, however, as I walked across the polished palace floor and through the vast halls with their many marble pillars, trimmed with gold. Delicate white draperies hung from many of the archways, flower petals were strewn across every floor I walked upon, and the scent of sweet incense was thick in the air. Torches and braziers were lit brilliantly, and the sounds of harps and lyres, and singing were everywhere. In one corner of a side hallways, one of the senator's wives was engaged in the act of spreading her legs for a dog. Her panting and his licking were quite disgusting to hear, and I simply ignored them as I made my way into the orgy chambers proper. Beneath the gaze of great statues in the likenesses of Augustus, Jupiter, and Mars, there were countless men and women... in various states of dress or undress... engaged in every sort of sexual act, and perversion, that a person might imagine. A veritable sea of writhing, undulating flesh lay before me, and I smiled. There was a great abundance of drunkenness, and the worst drunks of the lot were all the wives of the senators, who were presently acting more like wild animals than actual human beings. They had all answered, when I sent them invitations... not a single senator's wife was at home with her husband that night. They chose to come, to honor the wishes of their emperor, and there was no law which stated they could not do so. Much to the growing fury of the senators themselves! Not one of those men was present here. Had they been, they would have seen their wives for what they truly were. Hardly noble, after all! I strode to the far side of the chambers, where a great throne was set up. Reclining in it was my wife, the magnificent Milonia Caesonia. She had been empress since the year 39, and was by then my fourth wife officially. Some believed that she had sneaked me a love potion, and that it was this which had driven me insane. Yet in truth, I was simply drunk with love regarding her! She was all that Drusilla had been, and more. The people thought she was a poor choice for an empress, for she was wanton, cruel, and passionate... hedonistic and sometimes somewhat bloodthirsty. Yet her love was genuine, and she showed me such compassion that at time she was even like a mother to me, as much as a wife. She had been pregnant already at the time we were wed... for my daughter by her. Julia Drusilla, we named the child, to thus honor my late sister's memory, and we made quite the public spectacle of the girl's birth. Which was regarded as quite the grotesque display, by the Senate. They did not realize that the public birth had in fact been done as it had been simply to mock their sensibilities. I called my wife Mila, and she already had three daughters from her previous marriage. All of whom, I so regarded as my very own children.
Mila was wearing a long silk Stola of her own, in the colors of purple and scarlet. She held a golden goblet in her right hand, filled with blood red wine, and regarded it distractedly as I approached her. To be honest, she would not have been considered beautiful by many. Nor was she all that young. But she was, even so, beautiful to me! She had long dark reddish hair tied back with a gold ribbon, and big dark eyes that were as rich and brown as fertile soil. Her face was regal looking, very queenly, and she had a small mouth but with somewhat full lips that she always seemed to have anointed with red coloring. To most “proper” Roman women, wearing lip makeup was unheard of, and considered something that only foreign harlots did. That was why I encouraged Mila to wear lip coloring as much as I did. Basically the ancient world's equivalent to modern lipstick. I had heard many call her the “Scarlet Whore”, and in the Christian communities she was being referred to as the “Great Whore”, in addition to that other name... and ones more wicked still. She was the reincarnation of the ancient goddess Lilith, and as in so many other lives before and since then we found each other and fell deeply in love. Her skin was light but had a very healthy tanned quality to it most of the time. In comparison to her... I looked like one near death. My own skin was very pale by Roman standards, and I was quite skinny looking in that life, as well as being a bit on the hairy side, something which I detested about myself. My hair was medium brown, my eyes were a darker brown, and I had servants help to keep me clean shaven. Including my body hair, as much as was possible. I sometimes suffered from the sane falling sickness that Julius Caesar had in his own lifetime. I had been named after him, originally, before people took to calling me by my nickname Caligula, which I despised. I preferred people to simply call me by my first name, Gaius. Sometimes, I punished people who did not, or who insisted on using the name Caligula for me instead. One person had gone so far as to call me a goat, when they saw my body hair prior to me needing it taken care of, and that person ended up gored to death by wild goats in the arena. My hair on my head was rather on the thin side, and balding rather badly on top. I often wore long, flowing wigs to cover this. Always in my natural hair color, of course! From time to time I suffered from bouts of fatigue or faintness, but on each occasion I recovered fully and never thought too deeply about my health. I often sought to avert my gaze from people I did not know, since some found that I had a bad habit of staring too deeply or too long, and that this felt awkward to them. But Mila loved me despite all of my flaws, and looked at me as the god that I truly was. Not seeing the weak flesh, but the strong, bright spirit that lay within it. “Welcome, my love!” she exclaimed in the rich tone that her voice had, adding: “The presence of the goddess Venus is always welcome in these halls of love.” to which I replied: “I am the morning star, in the presence of the heavens when I stand before you.” Some called me by that very title... some meant it as a reference to the Christian concept of the Devil, whom many of that outlaw religion believed me to be. Still others called me Neos Helios, the “New Sun”... because on certain Egyptian coins I was often depicted as a sun god. Once, a senator had said to me that living emperors could only be worshiped as divine in the east, and that only dead emperors could be worshiped as divine in Rome, with any titles of divinity awarded to living emperors in Rome being mere honorary titles with no meaning. I mentioned that earlier in these writings of mine. But by the time of that great orgy, everything had changed! Now, everyone in the empire, right down to the senators themselves, was forced to worship me as a tangible, living god. I had scribes come to write my gospel, and men offering apologies to me when I found their wives or daughters beautiful enough, to warrant my amorous attentions. Many such, were in attendance at this very orgy! Before the night was through, I would partake of several of them, in addition to the grand finale of the evening that would see me lying on the floor with my wife Mila astride me, as we made love with her pouring wine upon my chest and licking it up, calling me her “Scarlet Beast”. The Devil had come to claim its' own, and I was the earthly incarnation of that dark and terrible being. Off to one side of the orgy chambers, cages with wild animals such as wolves, tigers and bears sat. Into the cages were cast condemned prisoners... so that their death screams would add to the music and singing.
The day after that orgy, ensuring that I acted before the year was quite over yet, I appeared before the Senate and told them that I was seriously intending to move to the city of Alexandria, which I planned to make the new capital of the empire. In honor of Alexander the Great, whose was the city's namesake. For like him, I planned to rule an empire that filled all the world from horizon to horizon. I had, in my head, visions of spectacular military campaigns and glorious victories over foreign lands. I would add to Rome all the lands that had belonged to Alexander at the height of his ancient empire... and more. I had even said as much to the senators, hoping to stir their sense of patriotism. But they were not at all amused, feeling that once I was secure in Alexandria I would be beyond their reach. There, I could rule as a true living god, with no one to complain about it... as some in Rome still complained. There, the reach of the Senate would be as diminished as it could possibly be, and they feared that I plotted to see the Senate disbanded as soon as Alexandria was made the new capital of the empire. For what use was there for a Roman Senate in a reborn Alexandrian Empire? Knowing that, following that, I would not ever return to the city of Rome again... the senators realized that they were about to lose all control and all authority over their emperor, and all the political power that they had ever possessed up until then. Many claimed that my plan was an outrage of a sort unheard of since Julius Caesar declared himself a god and was assassinated for it. With the loudest voice among all my detractors being Cassius Chaerea, the man who led the Praetorian Guard. He vowed that no emperor of Rome would ever rule from any foreign capital city... and that should I attempt it, then he would personally intervene to put a stop to it. Apparently, they all lacked my vision, and had a rather narrow definition of what was patriotic. I did not relent in my plan, and proceeded to more forward with it. At the Imperial Palace, I made certain to temporarily replace all of the Praetorian Guard who were stationed there with soldiers from the ranks of my own Germanic Guard. In that way, I could be certain that Cassius would be unable to attempt any kind of assassination plot. I could no longer rely upon the Senate to protect me from such things... and thus I needed to double my security methods. Only a password that was changed daily could allow one to enter or leave the palace. And each day, I gave that to Decius, who then give it to the men under his command. I alone knew the password, which I shared only with my wife and our daughters. During one tense afternoon, Mila said to me: “Gaius, my love, do you recall the time when you paraded me at the very head of your troops during a public procession... and I was naked, with you proclaiming me to be the great Magna Mater herself, the very embodiment of Cybele?” I nodded, stating that I did recall the time she was thinking about. She continued: “And all the times you brought friends or lovers of yours over to see me, even in nakedness, in order to show them just how beautiful you thought I was?” I so nodded once again, but this time I asked her where she was going with all of this. She replied: “After all that, people still hate me... they still hate us... and I cannot comprehend why. Are they jealous of us? Because we are so much more than they are! Because we share a love they cannot compete with. Or because we are artists, creating the world anew with brighter colors than before. So many reasons, I believe they have... and all stemming from jealousy. Just as the Senate is jealous of you, Gaius! And fearful of your true divinity, your true godhood, which they cannot stop. Will we be safe and able to be ourselves in Alexandria, I wonder?” I told her, in an assuring tone of voice: “Of course we will, Mila... my beloved goddess! It is the only way, for me to avoid the fate that befell Julius Caesar. If we remain here in Rome, we will likely all be killed sooner or later. Too many enemies, too many old traditions that people do not want to see ended, and too many plots and conspiracies to keep foiling all the time. Next year, I will be twenty nine years old... I was twenty five when I was named emperor. I have not had a long reign as such, but too many people wish to make it a short one. I intend to disappoint them.” But the next year, the very year in which I planned to begin the move to Alexandria, would prove to be my last. It was a man named Cassius... Cassius Longinus... who had led the conspirators who murdered the noble Julius Caesar. And now a new Cassius was rising up in defiance of an emperor. I felt... afraid.
It was no secret that Cassius sought vengeance against me as it was! In the past, I had called him a few rather colorful nicknames such as “Priapus” and “Little Venus” due to how effeminate he acted, and how weak and trembling his voice sometimes sounded. I actually had a strong attraction towards feminine looking, and acting, men... for I liked men and women equally. But Cassius both looked and acted ugly, and so I found him to be a most disturbing sort of man. As a small child, I had often rode upon his shoulders, and my silly uncle Claudius would remark that Cassius was well suited to be a fine steed one day. Claudius was a kindly man... if a bit foolish more often than not. Many would go on to say that my uncle had a hand in my death, that he knew of the conspiracy forming against me and had chosen not to reveal what he knew to me. Many cited how he was made the next emperor following my demise, and yet... he saw to the execution of all those who were involved in my assassination. And was by all accounts honestly surprised at being declared Princeps, which was the title that was essentially a gateway to becoming the next emperor. I do not know if his act of vengeance was carried out due to his having cared for me, as is the way with family, or if he did it merely to silence the conspirators so that his own place in their conspiracy might never be known. He would go on to take the truth to his grave with him, and history would never know the truth of the matter. In the hour of my death, I did not think about how far reaching the treason may have been... in fact, I was not thinking much about death at all when my murderers finally revealed themselves and struck. It was a fairly normal and good sort of day.
I had made my way down into the underground corridor beneath the Imperial Palace, a place known as the Cryptoporticus, a semi-subterranean gallery of sorts with vaulted ceilings that supported various structures up above, on the ground level. It was lit by day through window-like openings at the tops of each of its' arches, and was typically a very safe place to be. A series of games and dramatic plays were being held that day in honor of Augustus. It was by then the twenty fourth day of January in the year of 41 A.D. The final day of my life as the man history calls Caligula. I was expected to meet with and also address an acting troupe that was waiting for me in the underground corridor, one that was scheduled to perform in the festivities a bit later in the day. The actors were all young men, and among some of the more attractive in their profession. The palace was to be made available to those seeking to take part in the celebrations... and that is why these actors were allowed down into this place at all. Everything just seemed so normal, and even Claudius was in high spirits. He remained in the palace itself, and had not come below with me. Neither had I asked him to, since I figured that I would be safe at least among as frivolous a group as these actors seemed to be. I spoke to them about what roles they were going to be playing in the dramatic proceedings to come, and they were elated not only to be taking part in them but also to be actually meeting with me in person. “There is honestly no need to stand on ceremony here.” I told them, adding: “Even a god... has a name... and so, you may call me simply Gaius for the remainder of these proceedings. Though I am your god, and your emperor, I would like to think that before all of this is through we will also all be good friends. I am quite fond of your profession, you know! In all fact I have in the past...” and, I was then caught up in the process of regaling them with a story about a time when I met with some soldiers, senators, and dignitaries who had been brought to a room in the palace to meet with me, a room that I had converted into a makeshift stage for private performances. Only, on the occasion I was telling these actors about... I had the curtains on the stage opened and there I was in front of the important visitors, singing, dancing, and dressed like the goddess Venus. “I am your shining star!” I had said to them, and they were less than pleased with my unexpected performance, to put it a bit mildly. “We ended up discussing matters of state, after that, and I was dressed like Venus the whole time, and speaking in as feminine a voice as I could manage.” I told the actors. A few of them clapped at my story, and one of them said: “What a brilliant idea! Mixing politics with theater.” and it was good to hear other artists praising me so glowingly for my own sense of the artistic and flair for the dramatic.
It was then that Cassius showed up. For the occasion of the Augustus celebrations, I had allowed the Praetorian Guard access to the palace once more, since Claudius told me that it would wise to gain the favor of them, even if their leader was a sworn enemy of mine. And so, the passwords were shared with them, as well as the necessary watch-words for use at night. Everyone thought that this would be a sign that I was willing to bestow a show of good faith even to those who disliked me, which would go far in terms of endearing me to the people. I had just begun to relax my fear of assassination, and I thought I could trust the Praetorian Guard once again. It seemed, that I was wrong. Cassius walked up to me as I stood there speaking with the actors, having just finished my silly story. He seemed polite enough, and bent down to kiss my imperial signet ring. I made a rather obscene gesture with my hand, just before his lips went to touch the piece of jewelry, and he appeared rather irritated by that. He was clearly in pain, having in his youth suffered an injury to his genitalia, this being the reason for his weak voice. “So, my emperor...” he began, adding: “What will be the watch-word for tonight?” I tried to think of one that I felt might be witty. I had made him use both Priapus and Venus previously, and so something inspired came to me, something that would resonate with him on a more personal level. “Coleus... I do think we shall use Coleus for tonight's watch-word. Is that... agreeable with you, Cassius?” Something seemed to snap in his brain at that point, as his face grew red with barely contained rage. I looked at him and said to him calmly: “Careful, Cassius! You do not know what it is that you are doing.” to which he replied: “Actually, Caligula... for once in my life, I do!” and he proceeded to unsheathe his gladius blade. His eyes were filled with murder, and all the Preatorian guardsmen who were with him drew daggers from their belts. “We all do.” the wrathful man added. Cassius was the first of them to stab me, followed by all the others, each taking turns plunging their blades into my flesh. I was stabbed a number of times to equal the fatal wounds received by Julius Caesar when his assassins deigned to strike him down. By the time my Germanic Guard responded, I was already dead. History records what happened following that. The Germanic Guard succeeded in slaying several of the assassins and conspirators, along with a great number of innocent senators and bystanders as the battle raged both in the underground corridor and in all the halls of the Imperial Palace itself. During the course of this carnage, my wife Mila and the child we had together... tiny one year old Julia... were slain by the assassins mere hours after they had killed me! For her part, Mila died with great courage. She was said to have looked the soldier who slew her in the eye and said to him: “If you mean to have blood this day, then go ahead! Kill me, and do so without any hesitation.” she offered her neck to the assassin's blade, and he struck her down as she so requested, fatally stabbing her. The killer's name was Lupus, a tribune especially sent by Cassius to kill any of my family or blood who remained in the palace. He and his soldiers were merciless, and poor little Julia did receive the most horrific death of all. They seized her and repeatedly smashed her head against a wall, until her brains were smashed out. In the process, every image of Mila and Julia were destroyed, in any and every place that they could be found. The conspirators hoped that they could, in doing this, make people forget that the empress and our child ever existed at all. Claudius had been outside in the city at the time, having gone for a walk while I was otherwise engaged with the actors. Seeking to murder him as well, the conspirators had poured out of the palace and began to search door to door for my uncle. In the act of my murder, Cassius caused a split within the Praetorian guard... half of which backed both he and his hand-picked assassins, and half of which remained loyal to me despite their leader's animosity. Claudius watched the Germanic Guard pursue the conspirators out into the streets and witnessed many of his own friends being cut down... along with even more uninvolved individuals. He fled back to the palace, and sought a hiding place. It is said that a loyal Praetorian named Gratus found him hiding just behind a curtain and at once declared him Princeps. He assured my uncle that his men were not among those seeking to slay the Imperial Family... and they spirited him away to their camp to keep him under their protection. In the end, the conspirators were all dealt with and Claudius became the next emperor.