Last week, police arrested a thief near Lake Nemi, a body of water about 19 miles south of Rome. The thief was loading a big statue into his truck--a statue, reportedly, of the Roman emperor Caligula, who died in 41 AD.
The Guardian reports that "the statue is estimated to be worth €1m. Its rare Greek marble, throne and god's robes convinced the police it came from the emperor's tomb." The article goes on to say that the thief brought the police back to the site where he'd found the statue. This site is believed to be Caligula's tomb, and excavations are now underway.
So far, so good. But Mary Beard, classics professor at Cambridge and classics editor of The Times Literary Supplement, has a few questions she'd like cleared up. Like that statue, for example: "How do we know it was Caligula?" Beard wonders. "Because, they say, it was wearing the 'caligae' or sandals that gave the emperor his nickname (his 'real' name was Gaius)." But, as Beard puts it: "Errr? Aren't there loads of Roman statues that wear these?"