People - Ancient Rome : Claudius

Claudius in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Caesar Germanĭcus, more commonly known by his historical name of Claudius, succeeded to the Roman Empire on the death of Caligula. He was the second son of Drusus and Antonia, and consequently grand- nephew to Augustus. When the assassination of Caligula was made known, the first impulse of the court party and of the foreign guards was to massacre all who had participated in the murder. Several persons of distinction, who imprudently exposed themselves, became, in consequence, the victims of their fury. This violence subsided, however, upon their discovering Claudius, who had concealed himself in an obscure corner of the palace, and who, being dragged from his hiding-place, threw himself at their feet in the utmost terror and besought them to spare his life. The soldiers in the palace immediately saluted him emperor, and Claudius, in return, set the first example of paying the army for the imperial dignity by a largess from the public treasury. It is difficult to assign any other motive for the choice which the army made of Claudius than that which they themselves professed, "his relationship to the whole family of the Caesars." Claudius, who was now fifty years old, had never done anything to gain popularity, or to display those qualities which secure the attachment of the soldiery. He had been a rickety child, and the development of his faculties was retarded by his bodily infirmities; and although he outgrew his complaints, and became distinguished as a polite scholar and an eloquent writer, his spirits never recovered from the effects of disease and of severe treatment, and he retained much of the timidity and indolence of his childhood. During the reign of Tiberius he gave himself up to gross sensuality, and consoled himself under this degradation by the security which it brought with it. Under Caligula also he found The Emperor Claudius. (Bust in the Vatican.) his safety consist in maintaining his reputation for incapacity, and he suffered himself to become the butt of court parasites and the subject of their practical jokes. The excitement of novelty, on his first accession to the throne, produced efforts of sagacity and prudence of which none who had previously known him believed him capable; and during the whole of his reign, too, we find judicious and useful enactments occasionally made, which would seem to show that he was not in reality so foolish and incompetent as historians have generally represented him. It is most probable, therefore, that the fatuity which characterizes some parts of his conduct was the result, not of natural imbecility, but of the early and unlimited indulgence of sensuality. Coin of Claudius. Claudius embellished Rome with many magnificent works; he made Mauritania a Roman province; his armies fought successfully against the Germans; and he himself triumphed magnificently in victories over the Britons, and obtained, together with his infant son, the surname of Britannicus. But in other respects he was wholly governed by worthless favourites, and especially by his empress, the profligate and abandoned Messalina (q.v.), whose cruelty and rapacity were as unbounded as her licentiousness. At her instigation it was but too common for the emperor to put to death, on false charges of conspiracy, some of the wealthiest of the nobles, and to confiscate their estates, with the money arising from which she openly pampered her numerous paramours. When the career of this guilty woman was terminated, Claudius was governed for a time by his freedman, Narcissus, and Pallas, another manumitted slave, until he took to wife his own niece, Agrippina, daughter of Germanicus, a woman of strong natural abilities, but of insatiable avarice, extreme ambition, and remorseless cruelty. Her influence over the feeble emperor was boundless. She prevailed on him at last to set aside his own son Britannicus, and to adopt her son, Domitius Ahenobarbus, by her former husband, giving him the name by which he is best known, Nero, and constituting him heir to the imperial throne. Claudius having afterwards shown a disposition to change the succession and restore it to Britannicus, fell a victim to the ambition of Agrippina, who caused him to be poisoned. A dish of mushrooms was prepared for the purpose, a kind of food of which the emperor was known to be especially fond, and the effects of the poison were hastened by the pretended remedies administered by Xenophon, the physician of the palace. It was given out that Claudius had suffered from indigestion, which his habitual gluttony rendered so frequent that it excited no surprise; and his death was concealed till Domitius Nero had secured the guards, and had quietly taken possession of the imperial authority. Claudius died in the sixty-fourth year of his age and the fourteenth of his reign, A.D. 54. His biography is to be found in the Lives of Suetonius. See BaringGould, The Tragedy of the Caesars, vol. i. (London, 1892).

Claudius in Roman Biography Clau'dl-us, [Kr. Claude, klod,] or, more fully, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero, fourth Emperor of Rome, born at Lyons in 10 i:.c, was the son of Drusus Nero by Antonia Minor, (who was a daughter of Mark Antony,) and was a nephew of the emperor Tiberius, Being feeble in mind and body, he took no part in public affairs during the reign of Tiberius. Caligula, who was his nephew, gave him the office of consul in 37 A.i>. On the death of Caligula, in 41, Claudius was proclaimed emperor by the mutinous soldiers ; and the senate, though they preferred a republic, acquiesced in the choice of the army. His accession, as usual, was signalized by acts of justice and clemency. He recalled exiles, diminished taxes, and built an aqueduct in Rome. The principal military event of his reign was his successful invasion of Britain in person. His wife, the infamous Messalina, acquired an ascendency over him, and caused senators and other innocent persons to be put to death. After she became so shameless as to marry Caius Silius, she was executed, by the order or permission of Claudius. He afterwards married his niece, Agrippina the Younger, who by a former husband had a son, L. Domitius. Having persuaded him to adopt this son, she poisoned Claudius in 54 A.D., when her son, assuming the name of Nero, became emperor. See Suetonius, "Claudius;" Tacitus, "Annates;" Dion Cassius, " Hisuiry."

Claudius in Wikipedia Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (1 August 10 BC 13 October AD 54), born Tiberius Claudius Drusus, then Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus until his accession, was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54 AD. A member of the Julio- Claudian dynasty, he succeeded his nephew Caligula. The son of Drusus and Antonia Minor, he was born in Lugdunum in Gaul, and was the first emperor to be born outside Italy. He was reportedly afflicted with some type of disability, and his family had virtually excluded him from public office until his consulship with his nephew Caligula in 37 AD. Claudius' infirmity may have saved him from the fate of many other nobles during the purges of Tiberius' and Caligula's reigns; potential enemies did not see him as a serious threat. His survival led to his being declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard after Caligula's assassination, at which point he was the last adult male of his family. Despite his lack of experience, Claudius proved to be an able and efficient administrator. He was also an ambitious builder, constructing many new roads, aqueducts, and canals across the empire. During his reign, the empire conquered Britain, Thrace, Noricum, Pamphylia, Lycia, and Judaea. He took a personal interest in the law, presided at public trials, and issued up to twenty edicts a day. However, he was seen as vulnerable throughout his reign, particularly by the nobility. Claudius was constantly forced to shore up his position; this resulted in the deaths of many senators. These events damaged his reputation among the ancient writers, though more recent historians have revised this opinion. After his death in 54, his grand-nephew and adopted son Nero succeeded him as emperor...