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Claudius

For other Romans named Claudius see Claudius (gens).

Roman Emperor (from 41 to 54) Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar Drusus (10 BC - AD 54) was grandson of Augustus, nephew of Tiberius, and brother to Germanicus.

The son of Drusus and Antonia Minor, Claudius married four times, to Plautia Urgulanilla, then to Aelia Paetina[?], then to Messalina, whom he ordered to be put to death about ten years later. His last wife, his niece Agrippina, reputedly killed him by poisoning some mushrooms he ate. He is known for having a stammer.

With Messalina he had two children: Britannicus (c.39 - AD 55), who might have been fathered by Caligula, and Octavia (c.41 - AD 62), who married her own step-brother, Agrippina's son, the Emperor Nero.

Claudius was a rather unlikely man to become emperor. He is the only scholar to ever wear the purple. After Caligula was assassinated, the soldiers were desperate to find any remaining member of the Julio-Claudian family to fill the throne. Most of them had been murdered long before, Claudius having been ignored because most did not consider him a serious contender. Although Claudius had not intended to be emperor, he did better than most. He had a great eye for legal detail, and under his rule Britannia was added to the empire.

see: Julio-Claudian Family Tree

Preceded by:
Caligula
Roman emperors
Followed by:
Nero

The emperor Claudius was the subject of the books I, Claudius and Claudius the God[?] by Robert Graves. The books are written from a first-person perspective, giving the impression of having been written by Claudius himself as his autobiography. Those books were the basis for a thirteen-part BBC series, first broadcast in the U.S. on Masterpiece Theatre in 1977, also titled I, Claudius and starring Sir Derek Jacobi in the title role (before he was knighted).



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