Claudius was the fourth emperor of the Roman Empire. He was born in 10 BC in Gaul and was the first emperor to be born outside Italy.
He was the nephew of Emperor Tiberius and grandson of Mark Antony, who was killed by the Emperor Augustus.
Claudius was well educated in his youth but suffered from disabilities – he was partially deaf, had a limp and a stutter.
In ancient Rome, this was sadly considered a sign of weakness, so his parents kept him out of public life as they were embarrassed of him.
Therefore, he had very little experience in politics when he was made emperor.Claudius had some time in politics before being emperor.
He was a historian until his mid-20s, writing honest essays about the civil wars and previous emperors.
His honesty made the public respect him but the aristocracy dislike him for painting them as bad people.
He then worked as consul for Caligula’s reign, but was rarely taken seriously.After Caligula was killed, the assassins also tried to find Claudius.
They killed many of his friends, so he fled to a friendly group of guards for protection.
The senate unwillingly accepted Claudius as the new emperor but warmed up to him when he pardoned all those involved in Caligula’s murder.
To gain more favour, he didn’t accept all the titles that came with emperor at once, instead waiting until he had proven himself as a good rule.
Claudius did not have any military training or record, which was unusual for an emperor. However, he expanded the empire to larger than it had been since it started.
He brought the small provinces of Thrace, Judea and Mauritania into the empire. The most well known and furthest conquest was Britain.
In 43 AD, Claudius sent a small army to Britain to help a tribe regain control of some land. This was a disguise for his invasion.
The Roman Empire wanted to have control of Britain because it had many mines and slaves.
Once Rome had conquered a big part of Britain, Claudius visited the country in a show of strength to subdue any rebellion.
He was given much praise by the senate for his success.Claudius married four times.
He had one son, known as Britannicus, with his third wife Valeria Messalina but Britannicus was too young to be emperor should Claudius be killed (which several people tried).
This made him marry once more and adopt the future Emperor Nero as his son and heir.
Facts about Claudius
- Claudius was the fourth emperor of Rome and the first born outside Italy.
- Claudius had disabilities which were considered as weaknesses in ancient Rome.
- Because of the disabilities, Claudius couldn’t enter politics much.
- Claudius was a historian and wrote honest essays about problems in Rome.
- To gain the senate’s favour, Claudius pardoned those involved in Caligula’s murder.
- Claudius conquered Britain as well as several smaller provinces.
- The Roman Empire wanted Britain as it was a very rich country.
- Claudius married four times but each ended badly and had two sons.
- Why did Claudius not have much political experience?
He was kept out of public life because his parents were wrongly embarrassed of him.
- Why did the aristocracy dislike Claudius?
He wrote very honest essays about the Roman Empire which painted the aristocracy as bad people.
- How did Claudius gain the senate’s support?
He pardoned those who had helped kill the previous emperor and worked hard to earn the title of emperor.
- Why did the Roman Empire conquer Britain?
Britain was very rich because it had many mines and slaves.
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