To prove he was the only God, Caligula had all the pilots killed and still made the people take their flights

To prove he was the only God, Caligula had all the pilots killed and still made the people take their flights by Cameron Hayes. 1999, oil & glitter on linen, 60 x 72 inches.

In Ancient Rome an individual believes his own uniqueness must be elevated and recognised, and has the power to do it. The Emperor believes he is God, and to prove he was the only God, Caligula had all the pilots killed and still made the people take their flights. Not just the senators but even the army knew that Caligula had gone too far and had to be assassinated.

Caligula had already ordered that all the heads be cut off the statues of the gods and heroes in Rome and the provinces, and had them replaced with factory-produced busts of his own image. But the statue of himself he had designed for the biggest synagogue in Rome was too big, and would damage the synagogue when pushed into it. As each bureaucrat delayed the statue’s construction (knowing it would cause a public riot) they were killed.

Caligula defined God as a man who had power over every person and spent his time controlling every individual, their luck and coincidence. After Caligula had given himself everything he wanted, he then decided to tie ropes to every individual which led back to his own patio. The despot Caligula, whose personality traits have morphed him into a Mr Burns for a not so subtle contemporary personality portrait, is not limited in expression by laws or regulations but ultimately by his own lack of imagination and ability.

Cameron Hayes: “One night Caligula had a dream that he was a god. The following morning he was frustrated that nobody else had the same dream. Fortunately, Caligula had all the money and power in the world, so he was able to convince people he was a god with his display of influence on daily life, his control of luck, and his manipulation of the past and present.

What Caligula wanted most of all was to have an effect on people, be it good or bad. In pre-science Rome, Caligula knew that chance and luck played the greatest part in people’s lives, and that the older gods got all the credit for it.

Caligula knew that if he could manufacture luck and, if he could apply luck, then he would be the one god to replace the marble and bronze gods that were more famous than Caligula.”

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