History : Dec 2015-Jan 2016
THE FAITHFUL GERMANS BODYGUARDS OF THE EMPEROR The Praetorian Guard was an elite force responsible for the emperor’s safety, but two senior officers, Cassius Chaerea and Cornelius Sabinus, took an active role in Caligula’s assassination. However, he was also protected by the Germanic Guard, his private—and fiercely loyal—bodyguard. The Germanic Guard did not seem to have had a military structure, and until Caligula’s time they were simply 100 to 500 warriors commanded by a decurion tribune. The Germanic Guard was disbanded briefly after the defeat of Roman legions by Germanic tribes in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in a.d. 9. They were re-formed in a.d. 14 and finally dissolved in a.d. 68 as punishment for loyalty to the former emperor Nero. Myths spread about the Germanic Guard, which projected a ferocious image, in sharp contrast to “civilized” Roman society. Forcefully incorporating new recruits was one of the justifications Caligula gave for his military expeditions to Germania, in which his warriors campaigned against their countrymen.