Uploaded by mary_jane on Nov 11, 2001
The emperor, Claudius, was a man with great integrity, individuality, common sense, patriotism and determination. From his struggles as a child to his death, was a remarkable journey. Many historians today and ancient Rome have placed him amongst the greats of all time. Despite his physical disabilities and background, Tiberius Claudius Nero contributed much to the greatness of the Roman Empire.
Tiberius Claudius Nero is the youngest son of Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia (Daughter of Antony and Octavia), giving him royal blood. He was born on August 1st, 10BC, in the city of Comata, which is in the Region of Lugdunum (Modern Day Lyon, France). He was an unwanted child since birth. It is said that he had a sick and ugly appearance, with cerebral palsy. Yet, against the odds, he became an emperor, made many contributions to the benefit of the Roman society.
According to many sources, Claudius was rejected from his own family due to his appearance; even his mother frequently mocked him. He would have been the normal choice to succeed Tiberius, had the monarchical family not thought him, unfit for the office. However, only Augustus thought Claudius as not stupid and granted Claudius a non-governmental priesthood position. Claudius was trained as a scholar, by the historian Livy and wrote several histories and literary works in Latin and Greek. (None of his work has survived, although there are inscriptions and fragments that provide some insight into his thinking). Claudius was considered a fool and kept out of public life until his insane nephew, Calligula, became emperor and appointed him as consul (alongside Calligula's horse) as a joke. After the assassination of Calligula, Claudius was found hiding in the palace, scared for his own life. The Praetorian Guards, interested in keeping their job as the Emperor's bodyguard, declared Claudius as emperor and forced the Senate to do the same. The soldiers, courtiers, freedman and foreigners were his main followers. Nevertheless, they did not dream that Claudius would be known as one of the greats.
Claudius' reign is marked with the expansion of the Roman Empire. He had great sympathy for the traditions of the old Roman Republic than previous rulers of the house of Caesar. But a futile revolt in the Senate, within a year after he became emperor, made him favour the army. In 43AD, he conquered Britain, where his troops accepted him as a god (Smith, Mahlon. H,...