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For other Romans named Claudius see Claudius (gens).

Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar Drusus, originally known as Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus (August 1, 10 BC - October 13, 54) was Roman Emperor from 41 to his death in 54. He was grandson of Augustus's wife Livia, nephew of Tiberius, and brother to Germanicus.

The son of Drusus and Antonia Minor, Claudius married four times, to Plautia Urgulanilla, then to Aelia Paetina, then to Messalina, whom he ordered to be put to death about ten years later. His last wife, his niece Agrippina, daughter to Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder, reputedly killed him by poisoning some mushrooms he ate. He is known for having a stammer.

With Messalina he had two children: Britannicus (c.39 - AD 55), who might have been fathered by Caligula, and Octavia (c.41 - AD 62), who married her own step-brother, Agrippina's son, the Emperor Nero.

Claudius was considered a rather unlikely man to become emperor. He is the only scholar to ever wear the purple. His stutter and lameness had caused him to be largely overlooked in the purges that had filled Tiberius's and Caligula's reigns. After Caligula was assassinated, the soldiers were desperate to find any remaining member of the Julio-Claudian family to fill the throne. Most of them had been murdered long before, Claudius having been ignored because most did not consider him a serious contender. Although Claudius had not intended to be emperor, he did better than most. He had a great eye for legal detail, and under his rule Britannia was added to the empire.

Claudius is the protagonist of Robert Graves's novels about early imperial Rome, I, Claudius and Claudius the God.

see: Julio-Claudian Family Tree

Preceded by:
Caligula (37 - 41)
Roman emperors
Followed by:
Nero (54 - 68)

The emperor Claudius was the subject of the books I, Claudius and Claudius the God by Robert Graves. The books are written from a first-person perspective, giving the impression of having been written by Claudius himself as his autobiography. Those books were the basis for a thirteen-part BBC series, first broadcast in the U.S. on Masterpiece Theatre in 1977, also titled I, Claudius and starring Sir Derek Jacobi in the title role (before he was knighted).