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livia Emperor Claudius

Introduction
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 relationships with his wives and children provide detailed insights into the perennial difficulties of the succession problem faced by all Roman Emperors. His final settlement in this regard was not lucky: he adopted his fourth wife\'s son, who was to reign catastrophically as Nero and bring the dynasty to an end. Claudius\'s reign, therefore, was a mixture of successes and failures that leads into the last phase of the Julio-Claudian line.
Early Life (10 BC - 41 A.D.)
Claudius was born on 1 August 10 BC at Lugdunum in Gaul, into the heart of the Julio-Claudian dynasty: he was the son of Drusus Claudius Nero, the son of Augustus\'s wife Livia, and Antonia, the daughter of Mark Antony. His uncle, Tiberius, went on to become emperor in AD 14 and his brother Germanicus was marked out for succession to the purple when, in AD 4, he was adopted by Tiberius. It might be expected that Claudius, as a well-connected imperial prince, would have enjoyed the active public life customary for young men of his standing but this was not the case. In an age that despised weakness, Claudius was unfortunate enough to have been born with defects. He limped, he drooled, he stuttered and was constantly ill. His family members mistook these physical debilities as reflective of mental infirmity and generally kept him out of the public eye as an embarrassment. A sign of this familial disdain is that he remained under guardianship, like a woman, even after he had reached the age of majority. Suetonius, in particular, preserves comments of Antonia, his mother, and Livia, his grandmother, which are particularly cruel in their assessment of the boy. From the same source, however, it emerges that Augustus suspected that there was more to this \"idiot\" than met the eye. 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 destined for a relatively quiet and secluded dotage when, in January 41, events overtook him.
The Early Years: Britain, Freedmen, and Messalina (AD 41 - 48)
Among Claudius\'s first acts was the apprehension and execution of Gaius\'s assassins. Whatever his ... more

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Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar



Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar was born in Rome on November 16, 42 BC.  Four years after his birth his mother divorced his father and married Octavian.  Tiberius was a descendant of the Claudian family who moved to Rome shortly after the foundation of the city.  The Claudians did not respect others who were not of noble ancestry.
After Tiberius was four he was raised to be a loyal servant of Augustus.  Tiberius is associated with Augustus for 22 years.  Augustus had Tiberius carefully educated. Augustus  later forced Tiberius to dissolve his happy marriage to Vipsania Agrippina and marry Augustus' daughter Julia.  This was arranged to better the chance of succession of a descendant of Augustus to take power.  The plan did not work because they did not get along and soon lived separately.  For this reason Tiberius retired to the island of Rhodes where he devoted himself to study for seven years.  When Tiberius returned to Rome in AD 26, Julia had been banished for adultery.  The death of both of Augustus' grandsons within two years led him to adopt Tiberius as his son and heir.
Tiberius then went into active service in northern Germany against the Marcomanni.  Tiberius succeeded in securing the northern border with the dangerous German tribes.  Tiberius made two more marches into the heart of Germany.  On his return to Rome he was awarded a triumph, the highest official tribute that was given to honor a victorious warrior.  
Augustus died in AD 14 and Tuberius assumed sole power of the whole Roman empire.  Tiberius was a large, strong man, and very tall.  He had a fair skin complexion that was sometimes subjected to outbreaks of skin disease.  According to Suetonius, he wore his hair long in the back.  This was an old fashioned style for the time.  Perhaps it was adopted in memory of his distinguished ancestry.  Tiberius remained in excellent health most of his life.  He was formal in manner but it was reported that he indulged in heavy drinking and sexual activity.  He was also well educated in Latin and Greek literature.  He also had a strong devotion to astrology.  
Tiberius took the throne at the age of fifty-six.  This was during the life of Jesus Christ.  Although he assumed actual power, he did so unwillingly and refused most of the titles that the senate offered him.  Many people believe that Tiberius was reluctant to become an autocrat.  Tiberius began to take firm steps against foreign beliefs because he thought they were a threat to traditional Roman values.  He expelled followers of the Egyptian and Jewish religions from Rome and banished astrologers.  Tiberius believed in astrology himself but probably feared a possible conspiracy inspired by horoscopes.
Tiberius established a central camp for the Praetorian guard in Rome so the military could be quickly called to put down civilian violence.  Civilian riots were common because of the large population of unemployed that were provided for by the public dole.  Lucius Aelius Sejanus was in charge of these troops and that gave him an enormous amount of potential power.  He aspired to marry Livia Julia, Tiberius daughter, and worked to increase the emperor's fear and distrust of other members of his Tiberius family.  In AD 26 Tiberius left Rome and withdrew to Campania, and the following year went to the island of Capri.  Tiberius left Rome under the power of Sejanus.  Finally realizing that Sejanus was trying to seize the imperial power he sent a carefully worded letter to the senate.  The senate read the letter while the unsuspecting Sejanus sat in the senate chamber.  Tiberius bitterly condemned Sejanus.  Quick action was then taken to execute Sejanus and his family.  Incidents such as this one gave Tiberius a bad name with the people of Rome and the senate.  Tiberius continued to rule Rome and the empire from the isolation of Capri.  Tiberius often confused and baffled the senate with his letters.  The senate was frequently unable to interpret his mysterious messages.  
Tiberius continued to live at Capri.  His character was weakened by years of hard work, worry and intense pressure.  According to Suetonius he engaged in a series of perversions.  Tiberius grew into a very paranoid and ... more

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