On either side of the high forehead are the sunken temples known from contemporary descriptions of the emperor. The bust is a masterpiece of Roman portraiture.
On January 24th, AD 41, the emperor Caligula was stabbed to death in Rome. So were his wife Milonia Caesonia and his daughter, the two-year-old Julia Drusilla.
The assassins – officers of the Imperial Guard – immediately proclaimed a new emperor: Claudius, the uncle of Caligula. On the same day, portraits of Caligula were thrown into the Tiber. Three of the c. 45 known portraits of Caligula were in fact found in that river. This cuirass bust is one of them. It shows Caligula as commander-in-chief, wearing an oak leaf wreath.