Posted on 26th December 2020
Born ‘Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus’ on 1 August 10BC; he was Caligula’s nephew. Claudius’ father died when he was one year old and he was raised by his mother.
As a child he stammered, slobbered at the mouth and dribbled, he also limped and suffered from shaking fits. Due to these disabilities, he did not socialise but spent much of his time reading books and improving his education.
As he aged, he worked as a historian and wrote volumes on history and scientific papers. A very clever man, he had tried on many occasions to enter government, but Caligula fought against this.
When Claudius was forty-six years old, Caligula finally allowed him to enter the senate as consul, however, Caligula still enjoyed bullying and making fun of him.
Claudius had witnessed noblemen killed by the praetorian guard, many of which were his friends. While Caligula was being murdered, Claudius hid behind a curtain and this is where the Praetorian Guard found him. It is believed that he knew about the plot to kill Caligula but took no part in it.
Emperor 41AD – 54AD
Claudius was declared emperor by the praetorian guard at the age of fifty in 41AD. He was the only living relative of Augustus and the first person to be named emperor by the praetorian guard and not the senate.
He pardoned many of the assassins and secured the loyalty of the guard by issuing bribes and bonuses to them.
During his reign Claudius arranged for public works including building roads, canals and aqueducts; the first major works since the reign of Augustus; this made him popular with the people. He enjoyed gladiatorial games and chariot races and could be found watching these, staying to the very end so as not to miss anything.
He was a well-educated man who also involved himself in court cases, acting as judge in many of them.
In 43AD Claudius sent legions to invade Britain; travelling to Britain himself he took control of the army, defeated the barbarians and gained control of Camulodunum (modern day Colchester) as well as other areas. He spent sixteen days in Britain and returned to Rome a hero, and was granted a triumph by the senate.
Claudius was the first emperor born outside of Italy and multiple attempts were made on his life during his reign. This resulted in many senators losing their lives and Claudius spending much of his time defending his right to rule.
Claudius married four times; he divorced his first and second wives, his third wife Messalina he married in 38AD but had her executed along with her lover in 48AD and his fourth wife Agrippina the Younger (Agrippinilla), sister of Caligula he married in 49AD.
Tagged as: Junior Ancient Rome
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