Jump to content

Caligula's "Nemi ship"

Louie da fly

Recommended Posts

the story goes that Caligula made a bet that he could ride a horse across the Bay of Naples. He then lashed together a bridge of ships that ran across the bay and made good on his boast - I'm not sure if this was the same horse that he made a member of the Roman Senate, but.....whatever else you can say of Caligula, he was a man of his word


Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not clear what happened during the War, who actually was responsible for the museum going up in flames. What remained are some metal and stone artefacts. These are displayed in the reconstructed museum building together with models of the ships.


Unfortunately, the museum was closed during the winter 1991/92, when I lived in Rome, so I did not have an opportunity to visit it. Being out of town, it is difficult to reach without car.


Also some looting occurred during the War and a piece of the marble flooring of one of the boats has been found in NYC set up as a coffee-table: 



It's in an way quite amazing what notoriety the guy achieved in less than five years of reign. He didn't make it to his thirties ...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

The matter related to the Nemi ships has always been fascinating, but it seems that the purpouse of the ships was less "legendary".

Caligola was deeply devoted to the goddes Diana and Isis, so these two ships it seems were two big ceremonial ships dedicated to them.

A big temple of Diana was present on the shores of the lake Nemi.

They could be moved, for ceremonial purposes, since they had rudders and oars, but they didn't pretend to be "seaworthy".

When Calicola was killed, the "damnatio memoriae" was proclaimed, so everything related to him was canceled or destroyed.

The two ships were spoiled from all the serviceable material and sunk in the lake intentionally, since representative of Caligola power.

Therefore we must consider that already at the time of the Romans the ships were stripped of largest part of their beauties and decorations and reduced to two empty hulls, before sinking them.

However their value for the study of the ancient Roman construction technique was enormous and it is a pity that they have been lost. fortunately their construction technique was studied for at least ten years before the destruction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...