Claudius I, detail of a bust found near Priverno; in the Vatican Museums.—Alinari/Art Resource, New York
(born Aug. 1, 10 BC, Lugdunum [Lyon], Gauldied Oct. 13, AD 54) Roman emperor (AD 41–54). Nephew of Tiberius, Claudius became emperor unexpectedly after Caligula was murdered. Sickly, clumsy, unattractive, and scholarly, he wrote several histories, none of which survive. He was ruthless toward individual senators and the equites (seeeques) and tended to disfavour the upper classes but catered to the freedmen. The invasion of Britain in 43 was part of his general expansion of frontiers; he also annexed Mauretania in northern Africa, Lycia in Asia Minor, and Thrace, and he made Judaea a province. He encouraged urbanization, spent lavishly on public works, and extended Roman citizenship throughout the empire. Having executed his scheming third wife, Valeria Messalina, in 48, he married his niece Agrippina the Younger. She pressured Claudius into naming her son Lucius (later Nero) heir instead of his own son Britannicus. Claudius may have been poisoned by Agrippina.
Variants of CLAUDIUS
Claudius in full Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus orig. Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus