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History's most famous Horse appointer's tomb found
January 19, 2011 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Minding his own business looting a tomb near Lake Nemi, south of Rome, an Italian man, now in custody, has led police to what they believe is the resting place of one of the most famous emperors in history, Caligula.

Excavations to begin shortly at Lake Nemi, where in the 1930s were discovered Caligula's subtle ships/homes.
posted by zombieApoc (55 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Boots!
posted by Balisong at 6:51 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge is skeptical to say the least.
posted by vacapinta at 6:53 AM on January 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


He is accused of... purposely wasting money on his bridge...

Nothing new under the sun, apparently.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:54 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Finally!! We can now celebrate the bones of the man who brought fisting into mainstream.
posted by Senator at 6:59 AM on January 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


I wanted to be clever and quote the movie but then I remembered 1) No one else has seen it and 2) There are no memorable lines from that movie with a bonus 3) That's a terrible movie.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:00 AM on January 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


My favorite Caligula book. tl;dr version: He gets an undeserved reputation, since there were worse emperors that were more perverse and extravagant. Barrett also wrote a good book on Agrippina. tl;dr version: she's the prototype feminist that scared men so much that they passed laws to keep women from amassing that much power again.

And I agree that this is probably not Caligula's tomb. My evidence is that they have no idea until it it properly excavated. So at this point it could pretty much be anyone's.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:01 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wasn't Peter O'Toole in that? that has to account for something, but maybe it was just "that" movie of his career. That's not even mentioning the fact that its' Tinto Brass movie.
posted by zombieApoc at 7:03 AM on January 19, 2011


And Malcolm McDowell and Helen Mirren and it's shit.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:04 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge is skeptical to say the least.

She has expressed my thoughts exactly. Lots of Romans wore caligulae. Boots, schmoots.

Okay, she was more articulate about it.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 7:05 AM on January 19, 2011


And to think that, in another 2000 years, robotic grave robbers will be digging up landfills to find copies of Caligula: The Director's Cut. Progress marches on...
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:08 AM on January 19, 2011


Metafilter And The Tomb Of The Unknown Emperor!
posted by The Whelk at 7:09 AM on January 19, 2011




shakespherian: Au contraire:

"I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and therefore I am... a God."

[General rumpus]

"I will await the unanimous decision of the senate, Claudius."
posted by Jofus at 7:15 AM on January 19, 2011


Oh and here we are.
posted by Jofus at 7:15 AM on January 19, 2011


And yes, I do tend to quote that line whilst standing on pub tables after a couple of pints. WHAT OF IT?
posted by Jofus at 7:17 AM on January 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wasn't Peter O'Toole in that? that has to account for something, but maybe it was just "that" movie of his career.

I always thought this was "that".
posted by Joe Beese at 7:17 AM on January 19, 2011


Boots!

-ula's diminutive, so it's more like "Li'l Boots" or "Bootsy."
posted by Iridic at 7:21 AM on January 19, 2011




Jofus is a Matthew Sweet fan.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:26 AM on January 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Finally!! We can now celebrate the bones of the man who brought fisting into mainstream.
And he did so singlehandedly.
posted by Flunkie at 7:28 AM on January 19, 2011 [16 favorites]


So this guy is like some sort of a.... tomb raider?
posted by fuq at 7:29 AM on January 19, 2011


one of the most famous emperors in history

I think that infamous may be a better word to use in his case.
posted by schmod at 7:32 AM on January 19, 2011


-ula's diminutive, so it's more like "Li'l Boots" or "Bootsy."

So if Caligula is a god then Bootsy Collins is the Second Coming? Makes sense to me.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:32 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


This travesty of a film had Peter O'Toole, Malcolm Mcdowell, Helen Mirren AND Sir John Gielgud and it couldn't escape being terribad.

I wonder if those actors regret being in a movie that featured midget porn.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:33 AM on January 19, 2011


Jofus: "I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and therefore I am... a God."

[General rumpus]


I think you're mistaken, Jofus. General Rumpus can only have been a character from the second Star Wars trilogy.
posted by The Bellman at 7:36 AM on January 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


Oh. and the above-linked AV Club article has this gem of a line:

"I refuse to believe that anything with a naked Helen Mirren in it could be completely worthless"

I, too refuse to believe. Naked Helen Mirren = win.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:40 AM on January 19, 2011


This travesty of a film had Peter O'Toole, Malcolm Mcdowell, Helen Mirren AND Sir John Gielgud

And a screenplay by Gore Vidal.
posted by dnash at 7:52 AM on January 19, 2011


O'Toole also played Thomas Kincade's father in a Hallmark movie. The film is complete shit, but O'Toole actually turns in a hell of a performance. It's kind of painful to watch, like the French-trained chef I once met working the griddle in a Waffle House.
posted by EarBucket at 7:58 AM on January 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Perhaps the tomb is of the previous King of Lake Nemi, and the man had only to break one of the branches from the tree to become the next king, and then wait for his successor to attempt to do the same.
posted by LionIndex at 8:17 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


there were worse emperors that were more perverse and extravagant

Caligula's latest reincarnation is called Silvio B and he's trying hard to beat the record.
posted by aqsakal at 8:18 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Art Squad!
posted by mecran01 at 8:30 AM on January 19, 2011


Jofus is a Matthew Sweet fan.

Busted.
posted by Jofus at 8:37 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


fuq: yes, but nowhere as cute as lara croft. They're called tombaroli in rome.
posted by 3mendo at 8:50 AM on January 19, 2011


vacapinta: Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge is skeptical to say the least.

That's Numberwang!: She has expressed my thoughts exactly. Lots of Romans wore caligulae. Boots, schmoots. Okay, she was more articulate about it.

I'm not remotely a classicist, but Oxbridge don Mary Beard's Times UK columns (vacapinta's link) are consistently the best of old media's regular contributions by clever clogs!

She's an incredibly elegant & funny writer.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:50 AM on January 19, 2011


I'd recommend to skip the 70's movie version and watch the fantastic british TV-series I, Claudius instead.
posted by ts;dr at 8:58 AM on January 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


I agree with ts;dr that I, Claudius is the way to go (i once worked in a video store that was raided for carrying Caligula, but never got up the nerve to watch it myself).

Also, Rome, the series, is definitely worth watching if you can get it on cable (or Netflix).
posted by misha at 9:14 AM on January 19, 2011


I, Claudius yt instead.

Word of warning, the DVD I got had some serious sound mix problems, I could barely hear anyone and ...no captions.

I agree with misha, Rome managed to be accurate, gripping, and full of constant nudity and violence.
posted by The Whelk at 9:17 AM on January 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one thinking "Man, I ought to spend more time raiding tombs?"
posted by sonika at 9:20 AM on January 19, 2011


shakespeherian: I wanted to be clever and quote the movie but then I remembered 1) No one else has seen it and 2) There are no memorable lines from that movie with a bonus 3) That's a terrible movie
This from the guy who actually liked Mr. and Mrs. Smith!

Ahem. While obviously TV shows like "I, Claudius" (stupendous), or HBO's Rome, or hell even Starz' "Spartacus" are considerably better, I actually watched Caligula (when I was a teenager), and enjoyed it after a fashion. It's obscene, and it's grotesque, and has the weird editing style of Tyler Durden splicing in hardcore porn into what otherwise might be an explicit but worthy film (as has been said: Gielgud! O'Toole! McDowell! Mirren! Vidal!), although it still sounds less repulsive than what I've read of 120 days of Sodom, or pretty much anything Rob Zombie shits out.

Still, even though I dislike David Lynch, I maintain that "Fire, Walk with Me" is a stupendous film (having not seen Twin Peaks first before I watched that) for capturing the tormented psychology of a sexually abused daughter, and portraying the father in the only way that makes sense. Where literalism would only come across as a cheap Lifetime movie, surreal and disorienting direction puts the audience further into the mind of Laura Palmer. I think with Caligula it's the same thing: some of those slave/torture/kill scenes are so depraved, yet without at least one movie to showcase the horror of that much power and insanity we might be tempted to sugarcoat what it meant to be an "Emperor", and how little human life could be valued.

Then again, "Rome" (as well as Spartacus- I'm almost embarrassed that I liked that show so much) did a pretty good job without being nearly as explicit, and some of the worst scenes are sexless in their brutality and dehumanization. But I still say Caligula isn't totally unredeemable as a film.
posted by hincandenza at 9:37 AM on January 19, 2011


I'll probably never legitimately get to begin a sentence, "Minding my own business looting a tomb,", and now I have to sort out exactly how I feel about that. It's not all good.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:03 AM on January 19, 2011


This from the guy who actually liked Mr. and Mrs. Smith!

I didn't say it was good.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:19 AM on January 19, 2011


David Meadows over at Rogueclassicism has got a post up with the relevant text from Suetonius. The likelihood that this marks the site of Caligula's tomb is vanishingly small. The site at Nemi (not to mention the museum there) is beautiful. The story of the recovery of the ships is extraordinary; the story of their destruction, tragic.
posted by hydatius at 10:25 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Caligula's Idiot Cousin at 11:03 AM on January 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


OH...THAT COUGH....
posted by clavdivs at 11:26 AM on January 19, 2011


'Rome' managed to be accurate

ummm, no.
posted by clavdivs at 11:29 AM on January 19, 2011


Caligula at the very least deserves credit for inspiring Hedonismbot. And for that, we should all be grateful.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:46 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


He gets an undeserved reputation, since there were worse emperors that were more perverse and extravagant.

Yeah, but he was pretty damn bad. Unlike Tiberius he didn't even start off as a compentent administrator - he was a disaster from the get-go. He wasn't as bad as Commodus (who I'd place as the worst), Elabagalus, or Caracalla perhaps, but that's setting an awfully high (or low) standard. It's a wonder the Empire survived as long as it did.

Jumping into another discussion: Rome devolved too quickly into soap opera for my taste. You have an absolutely fascinating period in history and a great actor playing Caesar and you spend most of your time following the fictional exploits of a rather unlikeable prig and his horn-dog buddy. I, Claudius is superior on almost every level, IMHO. I haven't seen Spartacus (it sounds like soap opera, but it also sounds like it's trying to be soap opera. It should be fun).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:07 PM on January 19, 2011


There was another great story linked to by one of the first pages I looked at, about a couple of guys who rediscovered a Roman aqueduct beneath an abandoned church in a small town north of Rome.

The church, it turned out, seems to have been a small temple to water nymphs that was part of the aqueduct in Roman times.

Pics here.
posted by atchafalaya at 12:35 PM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Your emperor wears army boots.
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:44 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always initially forget whether it's Malcolm or Roddy McDowell in this, and the brief thought that it might be Roddy makes me laugh every time.

I only point this out because I am sad to have been beaten to the Matthew Sweet joke
posted by scody at 1:03 PM on January 19, 2011


It's obscene, and it's grotesque, and has the weird editing style of Tyler Durden splicing in hardcore porn into what otherwise might be an explicit but worthy film

That's basically what happened. The big name actors finished the movie and the hardcore porn was put in later.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:26 PM on January 19, 2011


On the other hand the parts that aren't hardcore porn are boring, shapeless swords & sandals stuff without much in the way of characterization or development.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:53 PM on January 19, 2011


Proculus
Proctologist
Coincidence?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:56 PM on January 19, 2011


obiwanwasabi: "Proculus
Proctologist
Coincidence?
"

I am Proculus of Borg! Resistance is futile!
posted by bwg at 5:38 PM on January 19, 2011


atchafalaya (eponysterical?): Previously. Ancient aqueducts FTW!
posted by hattifattener at 10:44 PM on January 19, 2011


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