Caligula: A neuropsychiatric explanation of his madness

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Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known as Caligula, (12 CE to 41 CE) was the third Roman emperor and ruled only four years. Throughout his life he experienced several traumatic events, and, in addition, historians mention some premorbid conditions that could cause him to become the monster that most historians know today. When Caligula was 25 years old, he suffered a near-fatal illness that turned his story around. One possible cause was lead poisoning due to the high consumption of wine, which contained lead, by Roman patricians. On the other hand, it is plausible that Caligula experienced epilepsy that began in childhood, later experienced status epilepticus in 37 CE, which triggered an epileptic psychosis with the consequent psychopathic and paranoid changes that led him to the madness noted by historians.




CHARRY-SÁNCHEZ, J. D., VELEZ-VAN-MEERBEKE, A., & PALACIOS-SÁNCHEZ, L. (2021). Caligula: A neuropsychiatric explanation of his madness. Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria. Associacao Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria.

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