Sometimes crime does pay -just not for the criminal in this case. According to Italian police, the recent capture of a criminal has led to the discovery of the tomb of Caligula, the notorious third Emperor of Rome. Given the long list of historical characters who ascended to the purple in ancient Rome it says something that the name of Caligula is still so infamous 2,000 years later after the young man reigned only from 37 to 41 AD before he was murdered by his Praetorian Guard at the age of only 28 (along with his wife and daughter). So reviled had he become by the senatorial class that every effort was made to purge Rome of all traces of the Emperor known by his nickname "Caligula" (Little Boots). His name was blotted out from the records, his images smashed, destroyed or at least defaced and that makes this find all the more important and archaeologists are already chomping at the bit to get at the remains of the tomb.
It all started last week when Italian police arrested a man near Lake Nemi, south of Rome, loading part of a two and a half meter statue of the Emperor onto a truck. It was at this location that Caligula once had a villa, a floating temple and a floating palace. The remains of these buildings had been uncovered by the regime of Mussolini but were destroyed in World War II. The statue the man was trying to make off with is in Greek marble and portrayed Caligula as a god (he had himself deified in his own lifetime) and is estimated to be worth a million euros. Once the man was taken into custody and questioned he later led police to the place where he recovered the statue, believed to be the final resting place of Rome's third emperor. Excavations are already underway and time will tell what treasures remain to be found.