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Search is Underway for Caligula’s Orgy Party Boat

Something is catching and snagging fishing nets dragging across the bottom of Lake Nemi south of Rome and archeologists are hoping it’s stripper poles, hot tubs and huge beds. That would mean they may have discovered a long lost orgy boat belonging to the king of kinky sex … Emperor Caligula. This is such a big deal in Italy that the government is sending in specialized divers from the Civil Protection Agency who normally work rescuing people after earthquakes, floods and avalanches. What do these horny archeologists expect to find on this ship?

Lake Nemi

Lake Nemi is a small 33 meter (108 foot) deep volcanic lake that was used by Caligula to get away from the pressures of Rome and host orgies and parties (redundant in his case) on three huge 1st century yachts decked out with gold and marble floors and purple satin sails and equipped with heating and plumbing. He may have been perverted but he still liked to do it in style. It’s believed Caligula had the boats built to keep up with the Egyptians who liked to have their own fancy ships for sailing the Nile.

Another depiction of what Caligula’s orgy boat may have looked like.

It’s not known whether the ships sank due to lack of maintenance or if Emperor Claudius purposely sank them as an act of “draining the swamp” of his predecessor’s toys. In any case, their existence was just a rumor until the reign of Benito Mussolini, who ordered the lake partially drained and found two of the ships and plenty of water-logged orgy artifacts. Documents from the 15th century said that the third boat was in a different location but war got in the way of wading through Lake Nemi and it was never found.

That must have been disappointing to Benito because this was the biggest and best of the booty boats. It was allegedly 400 feet long and, according to the Roman historian Suetonius, had “ten banks of oars…the poops of which blazed with jewels…filled with ample baths, galleries, and saloons, and supplied with a great variety of vines and fruit trees.”

Italians viewing one of the other Caligula boats found after the lake was partly drained

Alberto Bertucci, mayor of the city of Nemi, is directing the sunken S&M ship search party. The disaster divers will team with police divers and use sonar and scanners with ground-penetrating sound waves to find the wooden ship, even if it and its beds are buried in the lake bed.

What will they do if they find Caligula’s boat and are able to raise it? It would be nice to put it in a museum with the other two boats and their artifacts but that museum was destroyed during World War II. A small museum on the shore of Lake Nemi has some models of them — perhaps it can be expanded.

But first the divers, archeologists and fans of the movie Caligula will undoubtedly spend some time on the remains of the boat living out their Malcolm McDowell version of Caligula fantasies.

Did someone say boat party?

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Paul Seaburn Paul Seaburn is one of the most prolific writers at Mysterious Universe. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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