Emperor Claudius

Emperor Claudius

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Emperor Claudius

Emperor Claudius, born in 10BC in Lugdunum (Lyons) Gaul (France) to the Claudii clan which was part of the imperial family. Claudius was born with a debilitating disease (Believed to be cerebral palsy). As a result he was shunned by most of his family. His father died while he was still a child. His mother did not care for him. In fact she would often comment that he was "An abortion half finished by mother nature." and his sister would often complain about him.

Despite all these domestic problems, Claudius grew up to become a well educated and intelligent man. He mastered Greek, Latin and was said to be the last person to speak Etruscan. He wrote many historical works (all of which are lost today) and also published a treatise on Latin and wrote an eloquent defense of the Republican lawyer Cicero. Yet despite his academic achievements, his family gave him no public position.

During the reign of Caligula (37-41) he kept his head low and feigned feeble mindedness and stupidity. He also had to put up with Caligula's cruel insults. (For example, Claudius was named consul alongside Caligula's horse, at banquets, Claudius would frequently fall asleep. Caligula would often then pelt Claudius with food to wake him up) However by the grace of God, Claudius survived while many members of the imperial family were murdered and executed. In 41 AD, during the feast of Calends (February) Caligula was stabbed by his bodyguards. The Praetorian guards who then went rampaging through the palace, found Claudius hiding behind a curtain and so named him emperor (Secular historians claim this was by chance but clearly this was God's will for him).

A few months after his coronation, riots in Rome took place causing Claudius to banish the Jews from Italy (He is mentioned in the Bible for this though he is simply called Caesar)

In 43, Claudius invaded Britain with 150,000 men. This act cemented his rule because he was loved by the people after this. He then put in place reforms to benefit the more unfortunate of people. He allowed men from Gaul to join the Senate and decreed that slaves that were sick could no longer be dumped at the temple of Aesclepius to be left for dead (an appaling practice). He also surrounded himself with advisors who were plebeians rather than the aristocrats.

Claudius's life was going well except for his wife Messalina. Messalina was a sexually promiscusous woman and an adulteress. (It was rumored that one night, Messalina competed with a prostitute to see how many sexual partners she could have in one night!) In 48AD, news reached Claudius that she had a lover and was plotting a coup against him. And so Claudius did what was the cruelest thing he had ever done: he had her put to death.

A few months went by and he married a new wife: Agrippina (his niece). She already had a son named Nero (The future emperor who would begin the persecution of Christians). The marriage went well until 54 when Agrippina convinced Claudius to name Nero as his heir rather than his other son Brittanicus (Claudius's son by Messalina). Following this, she served Claudius his favorite dish: mushrooms. There was just one thing: they were poisoned! Claudius died within hours.

A few months after Claudius's death, Brittanicus was poisoned at a banquet by order of Agrippina to cement Nero's rule.

What were some of Emperor Claudius's worst moves.

The Roman Emperor Claudius probably the 2nd worst Roman Emperor next to Nero. Claudius did some of the worst stuff to confuse and put a bad reputation on the Roman Empire. There are only 2 things I can think of that Claudius did.

1. failed to invade England
2. Declared war on Poseidon by ordering Roman Soldiers to stab their spears into the ocean shore.

Can you think of anything else you think Claudius did that was not the best move?


You're thinking of Gaius 'Caligula'.

Claudius wasn't a very attractive figure, and his succession of wives all had him pussywhipped, but he wasn't one of the 'bad' emperors. His invasion of Britain was a success.


The Roman Emperor Claudius probably the 2nd worst Roman Emperor next to Nero. Claudius did some of the worst stuff to confuse and put a bad reputation on the Roman Empire. There are only 2 things I can think of that Claudius did.

1. failed to invade England
2. Declared war on Poseidon by ordering Roman Soldiers to stab their spears into the ocean shore.

Can you think of anything else you think Claudius did that was not the best move?

The person you are describing is Caligula. He was nowhere near as bad emperor as Nero or Commodus, Caligula had his personal excesses but really didn't effect the prosperity of the empire as whole unlike Nero who damaged it and Commodus who utterly ruined it.

Claudius is regarded as one of the ten best emperors. He invaded and partially conquered southern England, however while this invasion was good for him personally it was terrible for Rome.

Emperor claudius - History bibliographies - in Harvard style

Your Bibliography: Cary, M. and Scullard, H., 1975. A history of Rome down to the reign of Constantine. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave.

Cassius, Cary, E. and Foster, H. B.

[Books LVI - LX]

1981 - Harvard Univ. Press [u.a.] - Cambridge, Mass.

In-text: (Cassius, Cary and Foster, 1981)

Your Bibliography: Cassius, Cary, E. and Foster, H., 1981. [Books LVI - LX]. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press [u.a.].

Cassius, Cary, E. and Foster, H. B.

[Books LXI - LXX]

1982 - Harvard Univ. Press [u.a.] - Cambridge, Mass.

In-text: (Cassius, Cary and Foster, 1982)

Your Bibliography: Cassius, Cary, E. and Foster, H., 1982. [Books LXI - LXX]. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press [u.a.].

Hornblower, S. and Spawforth, A.

The Oxford classical dictionary

1996 - Oxford University Press - Oxford

In-text: (Hornblower and Spawforth, 1996)

Your Bibliography: Hornblower, S. and Spawforth, A., 1996. The Oxford classical dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Leon, E. F.

The Imbecillitas of the Emperor Claudius

1948 - Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association

In-text: (Leon, 1948)

Your Bibliography: Leon, E., 1948. The Imbecillitas of the Emperor Claudius. Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 79, p.79.

The Mad Monarchist: Monarch Profile: Emperor Claudius

In-text: (The Mad Monarchist: Monarch Profile: Emperor Claudius, 2012)

Your Bibliography: Madmonarchist.blogspot.com. 2012. The Mad Monarchist: Monarch Profile: Emperor Claudius. [online] Available at: <http://madmonarchist.blogspot.com/2012/11/monarch-profile-emperor-claudius.html> [Accessed 20 October 2015].

Seneca, L.


2008 - Book Jungle (April 18, 2008) - Springfield, MO

In-text: (Seneca, 2008)

Your Bibliography: Seneca, L., 2008. Apocolocyntosis. Springfield, MO: Book Jungle (April 18, 2008).

Suetonius, Graves, R. and Rives, J. B.

The twelve Caesars

2007 - Penguin Books - London

In-text: (Suetonius, Graves and Rives, 2007)

Your Bibliography: Suetonius, Graves, R. and Rives, J., 2007. The twelve Caesars. London: Penguin Books.

Tacitus, C., Church, A. J., Brodribb, W. J. and Hadas, M.

The complete works of Tacitus

1942 - Modern Library - New York

In-text: (Tacitus, Church, Brodribb and Hadas, 1942)

Your Bibliography: Tacitus, C., Church, A., Brodribb, W. and Hadas, M., 1942. The complete works of Tacitus. New York: Modern Library.

St. Valentine beheaded

On February 14, around the year 270 A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.

Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.

To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.

Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it 𠇏rom Your Valentine.”

For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.

In truth, the exact origins and identity of St. Valentine are unclear. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, 𠇊t least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February.” One was a priest in Rome, the second one was a bishop of Interamna (now Terni, Italy) and the third St. Valentine was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.

Legends vary on how the martyr’s name became connected with romance. The date of his death may have become mingled with the Feast of Lupercalia, a pagan festival of love. On these occasions, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed. In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius decided to put an end to the Feast of Lupercalia, and he declared that February 14 be celebrated as St. Valentine’s Day.

Gradually, February 14 became a date for exchanging love messages, poems and simple gifts such as flowers.

Claudius II Gothicus

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Claudius II Gothicus, in full Marcus Aurelius Claudius Gothicus, (born May 214, Dardania, Moesia Superior—died 270, Sirmium, Pannonia Inferior), Roman emperor in 268–270, whose major achievement was the decisive defeat of the Gothic invaders (hence the name Gothicus) of the Balkans in 269.

Claudius was an army officer under the emperor Gallienus from 260 to 268—a period of devastation of much of the Roman Empire by invading tribes. Rising to the command of Gallienus’ newly formed cavalry, Claudius succeeded to the throne upon the emperor’s assassination in 268. The new ruler speedily suppressed the rebellion of the usurper Aureolus and drove from Italy the Alemanni tribe, which had been summoned by the insurgents.

During his brief reign, Claudius’ authority was recognized only in the central territories of the empire. He made an unsuccessful attempt to recapture the allegiance of the western provinces, which obeyed the emperors of the Rhine. Nonetheless, in his own area, Claudius destroyed a vast Gothic migratory force near Naissus (modern Niš, Serbia) in Moesia. While preparing a campaign against the Vandals, Claudius died of the plague and was succeeded by his cavalry commander, Aurelian.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Charly Rimsa, Research Editor.


Such was his position within society that when Caligula was stabbed to death outside the Palatine Games in 41AD, it was with a groan that the populace received news of Claudius’ ascension to emperorship. He nearly wasn’t emperor at all. Hearing of the news of Caligula’s death, he was found by a Praetorian guard hiding behind a curtain, quivering in fear.

As the guards searched for someone suitable the Senate held an emergency meeting. With talks of restoring the republic, the Praetorians scrambled to find a new emperor. The power they held within the empire was as a result of being the emperors personal guard. Without one, they would lose their well-paying jobs and any sort of authority it gave them.

It was for this reason that when they saw the crippled and fear-struck Claudius shaking behind a curtain, they did not spit on him or sneer in disgust as they once had, but instead bowed. They declared him emperor there and then.

The senate, too split amongst themselves to come to a consensus reluctantly agreed to give Claudius the empire. As the final member of the Julian-Claudian dynasty alive and of a suitable age to rule, they would allow it, if only reluctantly.

Emperor Claudius - History

2. And Luke, in the Acts, after mentioning the famine in the time of Claudius, and stating that the brethren of Antioch, each according to his ability, sent to the brethren of Judea by the hands of Paul and Barnabas, [329] adds the following account.

[325] Caius ruled from March 16, a.d. 37, to Jan. 24, a.d. 41, and was succeeded by his uncle Claudius.

[326] Several famines occurred during the reign of Claudius (cf. Dion Cassius, LX. 11, Tacitus, Annal. XII. 13, and Eusebius, Chron., year of Abr. 2070) in different parts of the empire, but no universal famine is recorded such as Eusebius speaks of. According to Josephus (Ant. XX. 2. 5 and 5. 2), a severe famine took place in Judea while Cuspius Fadus and Tiberius Alexander were successively procurators. Fadus was sent into Judea upon the death of Agrippa (44 a.d.), and Alexander was succeeded by Cumanus in 48 a.d. The exact date of Alexander's accession we do not know, but it took place probably about 45 or 46. This famine is without doubt the one referred to by Agabus in Acts 11:28. The exact meaning of the word oikoumene, in that passage, is a matter of dispute. Whether it refers simply to Palestine, or is used to indicate a succession of famines in different parts of the world, or is employed only in a rhetorical sense, it is impossible to say. Eusebius understands the word in its widest sense, and therefore assumes a universal famine but he is mistaken in his assumption.

[327] The only non-Christian historians, so far as we know, to record a famine during the reign of Claudius, are Dion Cassius and Tacitus, who mention a famine in Rome, and Josephus, who speaks of the famine in Judea (see the previous note for the references). Eusebius, in his Chron., mentions famines both in Greece and in Rome during this reign, but upon what authority we do not know. As already remarked, we have no extant account of a general famine at this time.

The Hide-and-Seek Emperor

Stories December 27, 2019

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them… and some, when greatness literally falls into their lap, hide behind tapestries to escape it. This is the story of Emperor Claudius, who was found by the Praetorian Guard hiding behind a curtain when it came time to crown him as emperor.

Emperor Claude the Fraud?

Before Emperor Claudius was “Emperor Claudius,” he was just plain old Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, a man with a love for fun, games, and the ladies.

Born with a physical deformity that made his family and countrymen underestimate him as a leader (scholars claim he either had a form of cerebral palsy or Tourette’s syndrome), Claudius spent most of his days staying under the radar, enjoying a life of leisure. That is, when people weren’t pelting him with olive pits or putting his shoes on his hands when he fell asleep at parties so that when he awoke he’d hit himself in the face. 1

It’s been argued that Claudius exaggerated his ailments to make himself seem even weaker and less of a threat so that he wouldn’t have to take on any responsibility. Because as we know with great responsibility comes…

A Bunch of People Trying to Kill You

When Claudius’s nephew, Caligula, was assassinated, Claudius, who was his co-counsel at the time, was his successor. Rather than walk up proudly to claim the throne, Claudius did what a lot of us who don’t want to work and just want to lay in the sun all day would do: he hid behind a curtain and hoped the guards wouldn’t see his toes poking out.

The guards were shockingly not fooled by Claudius’ clever hiding spot, and proclaimed him the new Emperor.

For someone who spent most of his adult life either running from responsibility, or not viewed as worthy of it, Claudius did very well as Emperor.

He was able to successfully annex Britain (which Julius Caesar had failed to do), improved the judicial system, and passed laws that made it illegal for slave owners to just abandon their sick slaves to die. 2 #progress!

Claudius was also pretty popular with his subjects, celebrating amongst them during chariot races (of which he was an avid fan) and even apologizing for his temper when it got out of hand.

Behind Every Great Man Stands a Great Woman…

Emperor Claudius may have been a lady killer, but it was his ladies who would end up doing most of the killing during his rule. Cladius was married a total of four times, proving that if you don’t get it right the first time, you shouldn’t always try, try again.

Claudius divorced his first wife, Plautia Urgulanilla, when he suspected her of infidelity (casual) and murdering her sister-in-law (super not casual!). Wife number two, Aelia Paetina, was allegedly emotionally and mentally abusive so Claudius kicked her butt to the Roman equivalent of a curb.

Then came Valeria Messalina, a woman with a ravenous appetite for sex, and possibly power. Throughout their marriage, Messalina had multiple affairs, which Emperor Claudius ignored for the most part because they were most often with servants. Eventually, she shacked up with Gaius Silius, a nobleman whom Claudius thought wanted more than just his woman. Claudius had the pair murdered and swore never to marry again…

The Best Laid Plans Go Awry When You’re Trying to Get Laid

Agrippina was Claudius’s niece and fourth wife.

Agrippina had a son named Nero from a previous relationship whom Claudius adopted and married to his daughter Octavia, making Nero heir to the throne. Agrippina, who apparently thought her uncle-husband was taking his sweet time dying, allegedly decided to speed up the process by getting a servant to poison Claudius with mushrooms.

When that didn’t work, Agrippina persuaded Emperor Claudius’s own doctor to help, shoving a poisoned feather down his throat when he appeared to be helping him vomit up the last bits of the previous poison. It was rough being Emperor.

After Claudius death, Nero became Emperor and lived happily ever after with this mother.

Until he had her murdered.

Claudius may not have wanted to be Emperor, but nevertheless, he ruled over Rome for 13 yes. His life and reign are a lesson to us all to a.) make lemons out of lemonade and b.) trust no bitch.

Watch the video: The Reign and Death of Emperor Claudius. Dr. Andrew Traver