In 12 AD in Antium, Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder welcomed their third son into the world. His name was Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus. While he was with his parents in Germany as a toddler, the tiny military boots he wore, which were called caligulae, gave him his nickname, "Caligula." He was made a priest in 31 and quaestor in 33, and the emperor Tiberius appointed him and Tiberius Gemellus his heirs, as he had none. However, he let it known that he wished for Caligula to be his successor rather than Tiberius Gemellus. Tiberius died in 37, and, despite the fact that he had virtually no administrative training, Caligula stepped up as emperor. He was immediately loved by the senate and they voted to give him total imperial powers, taking away whatever share Gemellus possessed.
Caligula soon grew suspicious of every rumor that headed his way, and it got to the point that he sentenced his own family members to death in order to gain property and eliminate disloyalty. He contracted a fever at some point in his young life that spiked so high that he was never quite the same again. This damage to his brain added to the already unsavory mind he had caused him to do things such as appoint his horse, Incitatus, to high-ranking political positions. He is notorious as an "evil emperor," and did things such as declare that every Jewish place of worship in Alexandria be destroyed and converted into a temple honoring him in the form of Zeus. He did this in 38 AD. This act is believed to be one that prompted his assassination, as it followed shortly after he repealed the decree.
Despite his many problems, which historians have tried to diagnose as anything from schizophrenia to just plain orneriness, there is no doubt that he was a talented orator. However, this brought on a series of tongue-lashings between him and orators of the time, some of which felt they were righted after they wrote nasty things about him after his death in 41 AD.