Caligula Walked on Heated Floors on his Ships

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Today the History Channel told the story of the Lake Nemi ships, huge floating palaces that were found on a lake bottom in Italy. They belonged to the emperor Caligula, and some of the features of these large ships amazed the architects over the centuries.

The ships had heated floors. Pipes were laid under the ornate mosaic tiles so that the emperor and his family walked in luxurious comfort. A statue of Diana turned on a series of ball bearings, rotating around, this proved that these devices were invented 1400 years before Leonardo da Vinci as previously thought.

Since the Renaissance, historians have known about the two big ships that lay only 60 feet below the water. But it wasn’t until Mussolini’s day in the 1920s that they were able to do it. His idea was to redig the tunnels that had been bored into a mountain by the Romans in ancient times, and use these to drain the lake to reveal the ships.