Tuesday, April 3, 2012
C is for Claudius
Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus was the fourth (4th) Emperor of Rome. Claudius ruled Rome for thirteen (13) years; A. D. 41-54. Claudius was born 1 August 10 BC and died 13 October A.D. 54. He was a descendant of the Claudian dynasty. He was born in Gaul which made him up to that point the first emperor of Rome born outside of Italy.
Claudius suffered from a limp, deafness, and a speech impediment. His family, as proud Romans was ashamed of him and kept him from public sight. They excluded him from public offices until he undertook his role in the consulship. Even then he had to share this office with his nephew, Caligula. His handicaps probably saved his life. His family enemies did not consider him a threat to the Roman emperorship.
Claudius was made Emperor in A. D. 41 when his nephew Caligula was assassinated. The Praetorian Guard declared him Emperor since he was the last male of this family line. In reality he was probably chosen because the leadership of the guard thought they could control him due to his handicaps.
Claudius was ambitious and a great builder. He built new roads, aqueducts, and canals. He conquered Great Britain. He was very active and visible in the courts of his day.
Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome because the Jews were accused of causing continuous disturbances at the instigation of someone called Chrestus. Some think this is a Latin reference to Christ (Jesus.) Even though his policies allowed his subjects to worship freely, he opposed proselytizing by any “religion.” This expulsion of course was what caused Aquila and Priscilla to leave Rome and take up residence in Corinth in A. D. 49. It was at Corinth they met the Apostle Paul and eventually hosted a church in their home.
The opinion of most historians is that Claudius was murdered by poison. He died in the early hours on 13 October A. D. 54. It is thought that his wife, Agrippina, the mother of Nero, was the instigator of his death. Halotus, his food taster or Xenophon, his doctor are thought to have given Claudius the poison. It seems Claudius was on the outs with his wife Agrippina. As she was taking steps to ensure her son, Nero succeeded Claudius; he seemed to be taking steps to establishing his son Britannicus (from a previous marriage) as a successor.
Posted by Gregg Metcalf at 4:00 AM