Emperor Caligula’s luxury ship is found at the bottom of Lake Nemi

Emperor Caligula, as one of his whims, ordered the construction of several large barges for use on Lake Nemi. His two naves, modernly called the Prima and Seconda naves (first and second naves), each had dimensions of 70 m x 20 m and his 73 m x 24 m. It is a subject of debate among scholars and historians. Some say that Caligula built the barge to show the rulers of Syracuse in Sicily and the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt that Rome could compete with all the luxury pleasure boats they built. Some argue. Other scholars claim that Caligula designed one of his ships as a floating temple to Diana, while the other was used as a floating palace for orgies, murder, brutality, music, and sports. Some argue that it is possible.

Flat-bottomed Nemi boats were not self-propelled. Instead, they were anchored to the shores by chains and bridges that stretched over the water, allowing people and trade to come and go. According to some historical accounts, Caligula’s ships were the arena for orgies, murder, atrocities, music and sports. One of the most interesting aspects of the entire
incident is the fact that from Caligula’s reign to his twentieth century, knowledge of his two giant ships on the lake was not lost over the centuries. was.

Local fishermen were always aware of the existence of wrecks, often using grappling hooks to extract parts and sell them to tourists. In 1446, Cardinal Prospero Colonna and Leon Battista Alberti surveyed the site and found it at a depth of 18.3 meters (60 feet), which at the time was too deep for effective recovery. This attempt resulted in the destruction of the shipwreck and looting of the relics.
By 1827, there was renewed interest in raising Caligula’s ships. Anesio Fusconi built a floating platform to lift the wrecked ship. However, some of the cables broke, so I stopped working until I found a stronger cable. Upon his return, he found that locals had dismantled his wine barrel-making platform, prompting him to abandon the project.

Benito Mussolini’s fascist government worked for about five years, from October 1928 to October 1932, to rescue Caligula’s ship. Mussolini ordered that Lake Nemi be drained. Locals and archaeologists are aware of an ancient Roman underground tunnel that connected the lake to the farms outside the crater, and connected it to a water pump platform. Using powerful pumps and water machines, workers lowered the lake level and by June 10, 1931, had recovered the first ship and found the second.

When the ship came into view, the destruction caused by previous attempts to lift it was clearly visible. Virtually all of the original superstructure was destroyed, and the wreckage lay inside the hull along with various other artifacts.

This discovery proved that the Romans were capable of building large ships. Before the Nemi ships were salvaged, scholars often ridiculed the idea that the Romans could have built ships as large as those described in some ancient sources for Roman grain carriers.
During the Second World War she was destroyed by fire on the night of May 31, 1944.

At about 8:00 pm, several US artillery shells hit the Lake Nemi Museum, causing little damage, but forcing the German artillery to abandon the area. A few hours later, smoke rose from the museum, and shortly afterwards the two ships burned to ash, but the museum’s concrete structure was barely damaged.

The Lake Nemi Museum was restored and reopened in 1953. Photographs, drawings and drawings of archaeologist G. Gatti from the Italian Navy survey also survived the fire, allowing artists and architects to restore his two ships. In the room where she once housed two gigantic Nemi ships, there is now a fifth scale model of her built at the naval shipyard near Naples, along with bronzes and other artefacts that survived the fire. is on display. A life-size reconstruction of a sailing ship’s hull is on display outside the Lake Nemi Museum.