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Happy Birthday Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus

August 1, 2017

Happy Birthday Claudius



Born today in 10 BCE.   I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by the stories told about this famously “unlikely” Roman Emperor.

Claudius became a big star in the 1970s, thanks to Robert Graves, Jack Pulman and Derek Jacobi.  His story was, of course, ludicrously oversimplified.

The Claudius I grew up with was often described as “the least likely man in the empire to become emperor” which just wasn’t true.  The least likely man in the empire was a slave being worked to death in a salt mine in Thrace.  Claudius became emperor because he was the last surviving adult male representative of the Julio-Claudian family – making him the most likely candidate in the empire.  Graves, Pulman and Jacobi also helped to promote the notion that Claudius was a closet republican – an assertion for which there is no evidence.  Indeed, such evidence as we have suggests…

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