Emperor Claudius Essay

2578 Words11 Pages
Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus (b. 10 BC, d. 54 A.D.; emperor, 41-54 A.D.) was the third emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. His reign represents a turning point in the history of the Principate for a number of reasons, not the least for the manner of his accession and the implications it carried for the nature of the office. During his reign he promoted administrators who did not belong to the senatorial or equestrian classes, and was later vilified by authors who did. He followed Caesar in carrying Roman arms across the English Channel into Britain but, unlike his predecessor, he initiated the full-scale annexation of Britain as a province, which remains today the most closely studied corner of the Roman Empire. His
…show more content…
Nevertheless, Claudius spent his entire childhood and youth in almost complete seclusion. The normal tasks of an imperial prince came and went without official notice, and Claudius received no summons to public office or orders to command troops on the frontiers
How he spent the voluminous free time of his youth is revealed by his later character: he read voraciously. He became a scholar of considerable ability and composed works on all subjects in the liberal arts, especially history; he was the last person known of who could read Etruscan. These skills, and the knowledge of governmental institutions he acquired from studying history, were to stand him in good stead when he came to power.
His father died on campaign when Claudius was only one year old, and his brother, Germanicus, succumbed under suspicious circumstances in AD 19. His only other sibling to reach adulthood, Livilla, became involved with Sejanus and fell from grace in AD 31. Through all this turmoil Claudius survived, primarily through being ignored as an embarrassment and an idiot.
Claudius's fortunes changed somewhat when his unstable nephew, Gaius (Caligula), came to power in the spring of 37 A.D. Gaius, it seems, liked to use his bookish, frail uncle as the butt of cruel jokes and, in keeping with this pattern of behavior, promoted him to a consulship on 1 July 37 A.D. At 46 years of age, it was Claudius's first public office. Despite this sortie into public life, he seemed
Get Access