Claudius  [10 BCE - 54 CE; poisoned]

Fourth Roman emperor. Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus was the son of the emperor Tiberius' younger brother Drusus & Antonia, the daughter of Marc Antony & Octavia, the sister of Augustus. He would have been the normal choice to succeed Tiberius had the imperial family not thought him unfit for the office. But when he was found hiding in the palace after the assassination of his nephew Caligula (41 CE), the Praetorian guard made him emperor despite opposition in the Senate. 

Trained as a scholar by the historian Livy, Claudius had already produced massive histories of Rome, the Etruscans, Carthage & his own family, which would have been invaluable sources for modern scholars. But none of his literary works [all in Greek] have survived. As an antiquarian, Claudius had greater sympathy for the traditions of the old Roman Republic than previous rulers of the house of Caesar. But an abortive rebellion in the Senate only a year after he became emperor made him favor the army. 

Though not himself a soldier, Claudius was responsible for the conquest of Britain where his troops proclaimed him a god (43 CE). Instead of encouraging worship of the emperor in Rome, however, he indirectly furthered the development of the imperial cult by proclaiming his grandmother [Augustus' wife Livia] a goddess. Elsewhere, Claudius' troops extended Rome's control over all of north Africa, the Balkan peninsula & Asia Minor. Thus, the first Roman emperor who had not been trained to be a soldier pushed the boundaries of the empire to their greatest extent. 

Claudius' major impact upon the Roman world, however, came from his enlightened judicial & civic reforms [including the extension of Roman citizenship] & his policy of colonization in Britain, Germany & Gaul, which made possible the survival of Roman culture even after the fall of Rome to barbarians 400 years later. In the eastern provinces he relied on the family of Herod to rule regions outside Palestine. But after the death of his friend Agrippa I (44 CE), he returned Judea, Samaria & most of Galilee to direct imperial control. While repeatedly issuing edicts to safeguard tolerance of Jewish religion in the provinces, he is reported to have (temporarily) exiled all Jews from Rome (51 CE) as the result of an internal (Messianic?) dispute. 

Though a successful administrator of the empire, Claudius proved to be a less than enlightened head of his own household. He divorced his 1st wife, executed his 2nd (for publicly marrying her lover) & married his niece Agrippina [Caligula's sister], who eventually poisoned him.

References: Josephus, Antiquities 18.164-165;
                                                        19.102-103, 162-166, 212-268, 273-280, 360-361;
                                                        20.1-15, 131-137, 148-151.
                   _____, War 2.204-223, 244-248.
                   Acts 11:28, 18:2
                   Tacitus, Annals 11.1-4,8-9,11-15,25-38;
                                              12.1-11,19-26,41-43,56-61, 65-69.
                   Suetonius, Lives of Caesars: Claudius.              

Other resources on line:

Roman silver denarius with image of Claudius issued in 41 CE shortly after he became emperor. The Latin inscription reads (clockwise from bottom left):
Ti(berius) Claud(ius) Caesar Aug(ustus) Germ(anicus), P(ontifex) M(aximus)
(ibunis) P(otentia). For a catalog of Claudius' coins see:

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