Claudius I

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

Claudius I

(Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus) (klôd`ēəs), 10 B.C.–A.D. 54, Roman emperor (A.D. 41–A.D. 54), son of Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus and thus nephew of TiberiusTiberius
(Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus) , 42 B.C.–A.D. 37, second Roman emperor (A.D. 14–A.D. 37). He was the son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla and was originally named Tiberius Claudius Nero. He campaigned (20 B.C.) in Armenia, became (19 B.C.
..... Click the link for more information.
. When CaligulaCaligula
, A.D. 12–A.D. 41, Roman emperor (A.D. 37–A.D. 41); son of Germanicus Caesar and Agrippina the Elder. His real name was Caius Caesar Germanicus. As a small child, he wore military boots, whence his nickname [caligula=little boot].
..... Click the link for more information.
 was murdered (A.D. 41), the soldiers found Claudius, who had been of little importance, hiding in abject terror behind a curtain in the palace. They hauled him forth, and the Praetorians proclaimed him emperor. This act offended the senators, who never forgave Claudius. It also made him favor the army. He annexed Mauretania and landed in A.D. 43 in Britain, which he made a province. Agrippa's kingdom of Judaea and the kingdom of Thrace were reabsorbed into the empire, and the authority of the provincial procurators was extended. He caused MessalinaMessalina
(Valeria Messalina) , d. A.D. 48, Roman empress, wife of Claudius I. She was the mother of his children, Britannicus and Octavia. Her reputation for greed and lust was supposedly unknown to her husband until, in Claudius' absence, she publicly married her lover Caius
..... Click the link for more information.
, his third wife, to be executed and was in turn supposedly poisoned by her successor, Agrippina the YoungerAgrippina the Younger,
d. A.D. 59, Roman matron; daughter of Germanicus Caesar and Agrippina the Elder. By her first husband, Cneius Domitius Ahenobarbus, she was the mother of Nero.
..... Click the link for more information.
, after she had persuaded him to pass over his son BritannicusBritannicus
(Claudius Tiberius Germanicus Britannicus) , A.D. 41?–A.D. 55, Roman prince, son of Claudius I and Messalina, so called in honor of Claudius' conquests in Britain.
..... Click the link for more information.
 as heir in favor of NeroNero
(Nero Claudius Caesar) , A.D. 37–A.D. 68, Roman emperor (A.D. 54–A.D. 68). He was originally named Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus and was the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus (consul in A.D.
..... Click the link for more information.
, her son by a former husband. Claudius was much reviled by his enemies and historians have accused him of being only a tool in the hands of his freedmen-secretaries and his wives; there are indications, however, that he had considerable administrative ability. Claudius' literary works are lost. He is the chief figure in two novels by Robert Graves, I, Claudius (1934) and Claudius the God (1935).


See studies by A. Momigliano (tr. 1962) and V. M. Scramuzza (1940).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Perhaps Claudius is not such a statesman after all.
Gertrude cannot help noticing that Claudius is becoming "unreal" on the subject of his brother, for, she has come to realize, they are very much alike: both Hamlet and Claudius "played only to win."
Claudius is not an unbeliever; he is simply a consummate and determined sinner, and his admission is what makes Hamlet more than a remarkable aesthetic achievement: it makes the play a challenging vision of human uncertainty in a distinctively religious setting that is charged with profound moral seriousness.
This preference for Ennius over Virgil is not wholly unhistorical, though it seems that Graves has attributed it to Claudius in error; the Historia Augusta ascribes it to Hadrian.(36) But it appears that Claudius is acting as Graves's spokesman on this issue.
The device of the play within a play provides greater assurance that Claudius is suffering from a guilty conscience, but it simultaneously sharpens Hamlet's anguish.
Moreover, he cannot be completely sure of his countryman's support as Claudius is an elected king.
Physically weak, afflicted with stammering, and inclined to drool, Claudius is an embarrassment to his family and is shunted to the background of imperial affairs.
Cymbeline or Pericles, especially the second, might well have represented Shakespeare in this discussion, but Boehrer chooses Hamlet, drawing on Jason Rosenblatt's idea that Claudius is to Gertrude as Henry VIII was to Catherine.