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ancient Roman gens. Appius Claudius Sabinus Inregillenis or Regillensis was a Sabine; he came (c.504 B.C.) with his tribe to Rome. While consul (495), his severe interpretation of the laws of debt caused the temporary emigration of the general citizenry (the plebsplebs
or plebeians
[Lat. plebs=people], general body of Roman citizens, as distinct from the patrician class. They lacked, at first, most of the patrician rights, but with the establishment of the tribune of the people in the 5th cent. B.C.
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, as distinct from the patricianspatrician
, member of the privileged class of ancient Rome. Two distinct classes appear to have come into being at the beginning of the republic. Only the patricians held public office, whether civil or religious. From the 4th cent. B.C.
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) to the sacred mount, a hill NE of Rome. His Sabine name was Attius Clausus. Appius Claudius Crassus was a decemvir (451–449 B.C.), one of ten men appointed to codify Roman law. Although originally a strong opponent of the plebeians, he later sought to placate them and became known as a lawgiver. His career, however, ended in failure. Legend says that his attempt to rape VirginiaVirginia,
in Roman legend, daughter of the centurion Virginius. Her father stabbed her to save her from the lust of Appius Claudius Crassus, decemvir. This precipitated the fall of the decemvirs. The story occurs often in literature.
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 caused a revolt in which he was killed and which led to the fall of the decemvirs. Appius Claudius Caecus, while censor (312–308 B.C.), increased the role taken by the lower classes in public affairs. He was consul (307 and 296) and later persuaded the senate to reject the peace proposals of PyrrhusPyrrhus
, c.318–272 B.C., Molossian king of Epirus. He fought at Ipsus in Asia Minor in the service of Demetrius Poliorcetes (later Demetrius I) of Macedon, and by the aid of Ptolemy I he became (297 B.C.) joint king of Epirus with Neoptolemus.
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. He constructed the first Roman aqueduct and began construction of the Appian Way. Publius Claudius Pulcher, while consul (249 B.C.), attacked the Carthaginian fleet at Drepanum and was defeated. It was believed that he was defeated because he threw the sacred chickens, which refused to eat before the battle, into the sea. Appius Claudius Pulcher, d. c.48 B.C., campaigned in Asia (72 B.C.). He became praetor (57 B.C.), propraetor in Sardinia (56 B.C.), consul (54 B.C.), and proconsul of Cilicia (53 B.C.). He sought through Pompey the assistance of his rival Cicero to secure his acquittal from impeachment for bribery. He joined Pompey in the civil war and died in Euboea before the battle at Pharsalus. For Publius Claudius Pulcher, see ClodiusClodius
(Publius Clodius Pulcher) , d. 52 B.C., Roman politician. He belonged to the Claudian gens (see Claudius), and his name is also written as Publius Claudius Pulcher. He was brother to Appius Claudius Pulcher and to the notorious Clodia. In 62 B.C.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus). Born 10 B.C. in Lugdunum [now Lyon]; died 54 A.D. Roman emperor from 41 to 54 of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Elevated to the throne by the Praetorian Guard, Claudius was sickly and the butt of jokes by his contemporaries, but left a significant mark on the history of the Roman Empire. Under Claudius, imperial authority was broadened at the expense of the Senate and the basis for an imperial bureaucracy was created. He advanced “new” people drawn from the equestrian class and from freedmen. He extended the rights of Roman citizenship to the provinces, especially Gaul. Finances were improved and a large program of public works carried out, including construction of the harbor in Ostia and of the famous 72–km aqueduct called the Aqua Claudias. Claudius also brought order to the provisioning of Rome. In 43 A.D., Britain was conquered and turned into a Roman province. In 44–45, he secured Mauretania for Rome; this was then divided into two provinces. Claudius was interested in history and archaeology: he wrote two works, no longer extant, on the history of the Etruscans and the Carthaginians. Claudius was poisoned by his ambitious wife, Agrippina.


Momigliano, A. Claudius, the Emperor, and His Achievement. Oxford, 1934.
Scramuzza, V. M. The Emperor Claudius. Cambridge, 1940.



(also spelled Clodius from the first century B.C.). An illustrious family in ancient Rome.

The founder of the family is considered to have been Attus Clausus, a Sabine who settled in Rome circa 504 B.C. and changed his name to Appius Claudius Sabinus; he received patrician rank. During the struggle between the patricians and the plebeians that lasted from the early fifth century B.C. to the early third, the Claudians were known for their arrogance and their stubborn defense of the rights of the patricians. After the fourth century B.C., the plebeian Marcellus line separated from the family. The consul G. Claudius Nero, the victor over the Carthaginians at Metaurus in 207 B.C., began the separate Nero line, which in time produced the emperor Claudius.

Among the best known members of the family were Appius Claudius Crassus, Appius Claudius Caecus, Appius Claudius Caudex, and Marcus Claudius Marcellus.

Appius Claudius Crassus. Died c. 448 B.C. Consul in 471 and 451 and one of the decemviri from 451 to 450. According to tradition, he was responsible for the second secession of the plebeians (449), after which the Code of the Twelve Tables was issued.

Appius Claudius Caecus (the Blind). Censor in 312, consul in 307 and 296. He carried out major construction work, including the first large aqueduct in Rome and a paved highway from Rome to Capua, both named after him. In 296 B.C., he fought against the Samnites and the Etruscans. After he became blind, he retired from state affairs.

Appius Claudius Caudex. The brother of Appius Claudius Caecus. During the First Punic War, while he held the title of consul, he seized Messana (264 B.C.) after destroying the armies of the Carthaginian Hannom and the Syracusan tyrant Hiero II.

Marcus Claudius Marcellus. Born c. 270 B.C.; died 208 B.C. General; consul in 222, 215, 214, 210, and 208. In 222 he warred successfully against the Gauls. After the battle of Cannae (216), he defende Nola against Hannibal. From 214 to 211 he headed the Sicilian expedition that took Syracuse after a long siege. In 209 he was defeated and then caught in an ambush by the Carthaginians near Venusia, where he died.

Publius Claudius Pulcher. The son of Appius Claudius Caecus. During the First Punic War, when he was a consul in 249, he commanded the Roman fleet at Lilybaeum and was defeated, losing nearly the entire fleet.

Appius Claudius Pulcher. Praetor in 57 B.C., consul in 54, censor in 50. Political foe of Cicero. Publius Clodius Pulcher also belonged to the Claudius family.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


murders to gain throne; plots to keep it. [Br. Lit.: Hamlet]


because he stammered, held in little esteem as emperor. [Br. Lit.: I, Claudius]


emperor-scholar in soldier-worshiping nation. [Br. Lit.: I, Claudius]
See: Irony


murders brother to gain throne. [Br. Lit.: Hamlet]
See: Murder


plotted to kill Hamlet’s father and marry his mother. [Br. Lit.: Hamlet]


usurped throne of Hamlet’s father. [Br. Lit.: Hamlet]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


full name Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus. 10 bc--54 ad, Roman emperor (41--54); invaded Britain (43); poisoned by his fourth wife, Agrippina
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
* Polonius/Ghost/Osric: Polonius, the Lord Chamberlain of Claudius's court, is a pompous, conniving old man and father of Laertes and Ophelia.
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The end of the play again with Gertrude poisoned, Claudius dead the young prince fading from life in Horatio's arms is devastating.
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Claudius is thought to have been poisoned by his wife Agrippina, Nero's mother, to ensure her son's succession before Claudius's own son Britannicus, then only 13, was old enough to be considered.
The first Geordie phrase dates back to the reign of 3-4 Claudius. The Roman Emperor addressed the crowd and proclaimed "I, Claudius!" After a pause a confused Geordie piped up with "Why 'I Claudius'?" over there.
As a dutiful son he is to carry out his father's order and kill Claudius as an act of filial duty.
Claudius is a treacherous drunk, barely able to stand up in his final scene.
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