98 Facts About Claudius


Claudius was the first Roman emperor to be born outside Italy.


Claudius's survival led to him being declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard after Caligula's assassination, at which point he was the last adult male of his family.


Claudius expanded the imperial bureaucracy to include freedmen, and helped restore the empire's finances after the excesses of Caligula's reign.


Claudius was an ambitious builder, constructing new roads, aqueducts, and canals across the Empire.


Claudius was seen as vulnerable throughout his reign, particularly by elements of the nobility.


Claudius was constantly forced to shore up his position, which resulted in the deaths of many senators.


Claudius was then raised by his mother, who never remarried.


Claudius seems to have passed her son off to his grandmother Livia for a number of years.


Claudius was put under the care of a "former mule-driver" to keep him disciplined, under the logic that his condition was due to laziness and a lack of willpower.


Claudius spent a lot of his time with the latter, as well as the philosopher Athenodorus.


When Claudius returned to the narrative later in life, he skipped over the wars of the Second Triumvirate altogether; but the damage was done, and his family pushed him into the background.


Since the new emperor was no more generous than the old, Claudius gave up hope of public office and retired to a scholarly, private life.


However, as this was the period during which the power and terror of the commander of the Praetorian Guard, Sejanus, was at its peak, Claudius chose to downplay this possibility.


Claudius appointed Claudius his co-consul in 37 to emphasize the memory of Caligula's deceased father Germanicus.


Claudius was spirited away to the Praetorian camp and put under their protection.


Some historians, particularly Josephus, claim that Claudius was directed in his actions by the Judaean King Herod Agrippa.


In return, Claudius granted a general amnesty, although he executed a few junior officers involved in the conspiracy.


Claudius took several steps to legitimize his rule against potential usurpers, most of them emphasizing his place within the Julio-Claudian family.


Claudius adopted the name "Caesar" as a cognomen, as the name still carried great weight with the populace.


Claudius kept the honorific "Germanicus" to display the connection with his heroic brother.


Claudius frequently used the term "filius Drusi" in his titles, to remind the people of his legendary father and lay claim to his reputation.


Since Claudius was the first emperor proclaimed on the initiative of the Praetorian Guard instead of the Senate, his repute suffered at the hands of commentators.


Claudius remained grateful to the guard, issuing coins with tributes to the Praetorians in the early part of his reign.


Claudius restored the status of the peaceful Imperial Roman provinces of Macedonia and Achaea as senatorial provinces.


In 43, Claudius sent Aulus Plautius with four legions to Britain after an appeal from an ousted tribal ally.


Claudius himself traveled to the island after the completion of initial offensives, bringing with him reinforcements and elephants.


Claudius left Britain after 16 days, but remained in the provinces for some time.


Only members of the Imperial family were allowed such honours, but Claudius subsequently lifted this restriction for some of his conquering generals.


Claudius was granted the honorific "Britannicus" but only accepted it on behalf of his son, never using the title himself.


Claudius had helped increase this number through the foundation of Roman colonies that were granted blanket citizenship.


Claudius personally judged many of the legal cases tried during his reign.


Nevertheless, Claudius paid detailed attention to the operation of the judicial system.


Claudius extended the summer court session, as well as the winter term, by shortening the traditional breaks.


Claudius made a law requiring plaintiffs to remain in the city while their cases were pending, as defendants had previously been required to do.


Claudius freed the island of Rhodes from Roman rule for their good faith and exempted Ilium from taxes.


One of Claudius's investigators discovered that many old Roman citizens based in the city of Tridentum were not in fact citizens.


However, in individual cases, Claudius punished the false assumption of citizenship harshly, making it a capital offense.


Claudius ruled that slaves who were thus abandoned and recovered after such treatment would be free.


Claudius embarked on many public works throughout his reign, both in the capital and in the provinces.


Claudius built or finished two aqueducts, the Aqua Claudia, begun by Caligula, and the Aqua Anio Novus.


Claudius granted their sailors special privileges, including citizenship and exemption from the Lex Papia Poppaea, a law that regulated marriage.


The resultant flood washed out a large gladiatorial exhibition held to commemorate the opening, causing Claudius to run for his life along with the other spectators.


Claudius expanded the Claudian tunnel to three times its original size.


Claudius refused to accept all his predecessors' titles at the beginning of his reign, preferring to earn them in due course.


Claudius put the Imperial provinces of Macedonia and Achaea back under Senate control.


Claudius set about remodeling the Senate into a more efficient, representative body.


Claudius chided the senators about their reluctance to debate bills introduced by himself, as noted in the fragments of a surviving speech:.


Claudius struck the names of many senators and equites who no longer met qualifications, but showed respect by allowing them to resign in advance.


Claudius increased the number of patricians by adding new families to the dwindling number of noble lines.


Several coup attempts were made during Claudius's reign, resulting in the deaths of many senators.


Ancient sources say the charge was adultery, and that Claudius was tricked into issuing the punishment.


Claudius was hardly the first emperor to use freedmen to help with the day-to-day running of the Empire.


Claudius was forced to increase their role as the powers of the princeps became more centralized and the burden of running the government became larger.


Claudius did not want free-born magistrates to serve under him as if they were not peers.


Claudius was similarly appreciative of them and gave them due credit for policies where he had used their advice.


Claudius had strong opinions about the proper form for state religion.


Claudius restored lost days to festivals and got rid of many extraneous celebrations added by Caligula.


Claudius was concerned with the spread of eastern mysteries within the city and searched for more Roman replacements.


Claudius emphasized the Eleusinian Mysteries, which had been practiced by so many during the Republic.


Claudius expelled foreign astrologers, and at the same time rehabilitated the old Roman soothsayers as a replacement.


Claudius was especially hard on Druidism, because of its incompatibility with the Roman state religion and its proselytizing activities.


Claudius is said to have risen with the crowd after gladiatorial matches and given unrestrained praise to the fighters.


Annual games were held in honour of his accession, and took place at the Praetorian camp where Claudius had first been proclaimed Emperor.


Claudius organised a performance of the Secular Games, marking the 800th anniversary of the founding of Rome.


Claudius presented staged naval battles to mark the attempted draining of the Fucine Lake, as well as many other public games and shows.


At Ostia, in front of a crowd of spectators, Claudius fought an orca which was trapped in the harbour.


Claudius had come when he was completing the construction of the harbour, drawn there by the wreck of a ship bringing leather hides from Gaul, and feeding there over a number of days, had made a furrow in the shallows: the waves had raised up such a mound of sand that she couldn't turn around at all, and while she was pursuing her banquet as the waves moved it shorewards, her back stuck up out of the water like the overturned keel of a boat.


Claudius reinforced or extended the seating rules that reserved front seating at the Circus for senators.


Claudius rebuilt Pompey's Theatre after it had been destroyed by fire, organising special fights at the re-dedication, which he observed from a special platform in the orchestra box.


Suetonius and the other ancient authors accused Claudius of being dominated by women and wives, and of being a womanizer.


Claudius later divorced Urgulanilla for adultery and on suspicion of murdering her sister-in-law Apronia.


When Urgulanilla gave birth after the divorce, Claudius repudiated the baby girl, Claudia, as the father was allegedly one of his own freedmen.


Some years after divorcing Aelia Paetina, in 38 or early 39, Claudius married Valeria Messalina, who was his first cousin once removed and closely allied with Caligula's circle.


In 48, Messalina married her lover Gaius Silius in a public ceremony while Claudius was at Ostia.


Under Roman law, the spouse needed to be informed that he or she had been divorced before a new marriage could take place; the sources state that Claudius was in total ignorance until after the marriage.


Ancient sources tell that his freedmen put forward three candidates, Caligula's third wife Lollia Paulina, Claudius's divorced second wife Aelia Paetina and Claudius's niece Agrippina the Younger.


Claudius gradually seized power from Claudius and successfully conspired to eliminate his son's rivals, opening the way for her son to become emperor.


The attempted coup d'etat by Silius and Messalina probably made Claudius realize the weakness of his position as a member of the Claudian family.


Claudius's knees were weak and gave way under him and his head shook.


Claudius slobbered and his nose ran when he was excited.


The Stoic Seneca states in his Apocolocyntosis that Claudius's voice belonged to no land animal, and that his hands were weak as well.


Claudius himself claimed that he had exaggerated his ailments to save his life.


Since the discovery of his "Letter to the Alexandrians" in the last century, much work has been done to rehabilitate Claudius and determine the truth.


Claudius proposed a reform of the Latin alphabet by the addition of three new letters; he officially instituted the change during his censorship but they did not survive his reign.


Claudius tried to revive the old custom of putting dots between successive words.


Claudius harshly criticized his predecessors and relatives in surviving speeches.


Claudius is the source for numerous passages of Pliny's Natural History.


Claudius's censorship seems to have been based on those of his ancestors, particularly Appius Claudius Caecus, and he used the office to put into place many policies based on those of Republican times.


Agrippina and Claudius had become more combative in the months leading up to his death.


Some historians have cast doubt on whether Claudius was murdered or merely died from illness or old age.


Claudius was deified by Nero and the Senate almost immediately.


Just as Claudius had criticized his predecessors in official edicts, Nero often criticized the deceased Emperor, and many Claudian laws and edicts were disregarded under the reasoning that he was too stupid and senile to have meant them.


Claudius's temple was left unfinished after only some of the foundation had been laid down.


The Flavians, who had risen to prominence under Claudius, took a different tack.


When Nero's Golden House was burned, the Temple of Claudius was finally completed on the Caelian Hill.


Claudius was forced to rely on second-hand accounts when it came to Claudius.


Claudius wrote of Claudius as a passive pawn and an idiot in affairs relating to the palace and public life.


Claudius's books were lost first, as their antiquarian subjects became unfashionable.