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Emperor Claudius | All the action from the casino floor: news, views and more

emperor Claudius | All the action from the casino floor: news, views and more

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However, these same sources admit that the freedmen were loyal to Claudius. He was similarly appreciative of them and gave them due credit for policies where he had used their advice.

However, if they showed treasonous inclinations, the Emperor did punish them with just force, as in the case of Polybius and Pallas' brother, Felix.

There is no evidence that the character of Claudius' policies and edicts changed with the rise and fall of the various freedmen, suggesting that he was firmly in control throughout.

Regardless of the extent of their political power, the freedmen did manage to amass wealth through their positions. Pliny the Elder notes that several of them were richer than Crassus , the richest man of the Republican era.

Claudius, as the author of a treatise on Augustus' religious reforms, felt himself in a good position to institute some of his own.

He had strong opinions about the proper form for state religion. He refused the request of Alexandrian Greeks to dedicate a temple to his divinity, saying that only gods may choose new gods.

He restored lost days to festivals and got rid of many extraneous celebrations added by Caligula. He re-instituted old observances and archaic language.

Claudius was concerned with the spread of eastern mysteries within the city and searched for more Roman replacements.

He emphasized the Eleusinian mysteries which had been practiced by so many during the Republic. He expelled foreign astrologers, and at the same time rehabilitated the old Roman soothsayers known as haruspices as a replacement.

He was especially hard on Druidism , because of its incompatibility with the Roman state religion and its proselytizing activities.

Claudius forbade proselytizing in any religion, even in those regions where he allowed natives to worship freely. It is also reported that at one time he expelled the Jews from Rome, probably because the Jews within the city caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus.

According to Suetonius, Claudius was extraordinarily fond of games. He is said to have risen with the crowd after gladiatorial matches and given unrestrained praise to the fighters.

Soon after coming into power, Claudius instituted games to be held in honor of his father on the latter's birthday. Claudius organised a performance of the Secular Games , marking the th anniversary of the founding of Rome.

Augustus had performed the same games less than a century prior. Augustus' excuse was that the interval for the games was years, not , but his date actually did not qualify under either reasoning.

At Ostia, in front of a crowd of spectators, Claudius fought a killer whale which was trapped in the harbour. The event was witnessed by Pliny the Elder:.

A killer whale was actually seen in the harbour of Ostia, locked in combat with the emperor Claudius. She had come when he was completing the construction of the harbour, drawn there by the wreck of a ship bringing leather hides from Gaul, and feeding there over a number of days, had made a furrow in the shallows: The Emperor ordered that a large array of nets be stretched across the mouths of the harbour, and setting out in person with the Praetorian cohorts gave a show to the Roman people, soldiers showering lances from attacking ships, one of which I saw swamped by the beast's waterspout and sunk.

Claudius also restored and adorned many public venues in Rome. At the Circus Maximus , the turning posts and starting stalls were replaced in marble and embellished, and an embankment was probably added to prevent flooding of the track.

Suetonius and the other ancient authors accused Claudius of being dominated by women and wives, and of being a womanizer.

Claudius married four times, after two failed betrothals. The first betrothal was to his distant cousin Aemilia Lepida , but was broken for political reasons.

The second was to Livia Medullina , which ended with Medullina's sudden death on their wedding day. Plautia Urgulanilla was the granddaughter of Livia's confidant Urgulania.

During their marriage she gave birth to a son, Claudius Drusus. Drusus died of asphyxiation in his early teens, shortly after becoming engaged to Junilla, the daughter of Sejanus.

Claudius later divorced Urgulanilla for adultery and on suspicion of murdering her sister-in-law Apronia. When Urgulanilla gave birth after the divorce, Claudius repudiated the baby girl, Claudia, as the father was allegedly one of his own freedmen.

This action made him later the target of criticism by his enemies. Soon after possibly in 28 , Claudius married Aelia Paetina , a relative of Sejanus, if not Sejanus's adoptive sister.

During their marriage, Claudius and Paetina had a daughter, Claudia Antonia. He later divorced her after the marriage became a political liability, although Leon suggests it may have been due to emotional and mental abuse by Paetina.

Some years after divorcing Aelia Paetina, in 38 or early 39, Claudius married Valeria Messalina , who was his first cousin once removed and closely allied with Caligula's circle.

Shortly thereafter, she gave birth to a daughter, Claudia Octavia. A son, first named Tiberius Claudius Germanicus, and later known as Britannicus , was born just after Claudius' accession.

This marriage ended in tragedy. The ancient historians allege that Messalina was a nymphomaniac who was regularly unfaithful to Claudius— Tacitus states she went so far as to compete with a prostitute to see who could have the most sexual partners in a night [43] —and manipulated his policies in order to amass wealth.

Sources disagree as to whether or not she divorced the Emperor first, and whether the intention was to usurp the throne.

Under Roman law, the spouse needed to be informed that he or she had been divorced before a new marriage could take place; the sources state that Claudius was in total ignorance until after the marriage.

Claudius did marry once more. The ancient sources tell that his freedmen put forward three candidates, Caligula 's third wife Lollia Paulina , Claudius's divorced second wife Aelia Paetina and Claudius's niece Agrippina the Younger.

According to Suetonius, Agrippina won out through her feminine wiles. The truth is probably more political. This weakness was compounded by the fact that he did not yet have an obvious adult heir, Britannicus being just a boy.

Agrippina was one of the few remaining descendants of Augustus, and her son Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus the future Emperor Nero was one of the last males of the Imperial family.

Coup attempts could rally around the pair and Agrippina was already showing such ambition. It has been suggested that the Senate may have pushed for the marriage, to end the feud between the Julian and Claudian branches.

In any case, Claudius accepted Agrippina and later adopted the newly mature Nero as his son. Nero was married to Claudius' daughter Octavia, made joint heir with the underage Britannicus , and promoted; Augustus had similarly named his grandson Postumus Agrippa and his stepson Tiberius as joint heirs, [50] and Tiberius had named Caligula joint heir with his grandson Tiberius Gemellus.

Adoption of adults or near adults was an old tradition in Rome, when a suitable natural adult heir was unavailable as was the case during Britannicus' minority.

Claudius may have previously looked to adopt one of his sons-in-law to protect his own reign. Besides which, he was the half-brother of Valeria Messalina and at this time those wounds were still fresh.

Nero was more popular with the general public as the grandson of Germanicus and the direct descendant of Augustus. The historian Suetonius describes the physical manifestations of Claudius' affliction in relatively good detail.

He stammered and his speech was confused. He slobbered and his nose ran when he was excited. The Stoic Seneca states in his Apocolocyntosis that Claudius' voice belonged to no land animal, and that his hands were weak as well.

However, he showed no physical deformity, as Suetonius notes that when calm and seated he was a tall, well-built figure of dignitas. Historians agree that this condition improved upon his accession to the throne.

Modern assessments of his health have changed several times in the past century. Prior to World War II , infantile paralysis or polio was widely accepted as the cause.

This is the diagnosis used in Robert Graves ' Claudius novels , first published in the s. Polio does not explain many of the described symptoms, however, and a more recent theory implicates cerebral palsy as the cause, as outlined by Ernestine Leon.

As a person, ancient historians described Claudius as generous and lowbrow, a man who sometimes lunched with the plebeians. Claudius' extant works present a different view, painting a picture of an intelligent, scholarly, well-read, and conscientious administrator with an eye to detail and justice.

Thus, Claudius becomes an enigma. Since the discovery of his " Letter to the Alexandrians " in the last century, much work has been done to rehabilitate Claudius and determine where the truth lies.

Claudius wrote copiously throughout his life. The trend among the young historians was to either write about the new empire or obscure antiquarian subjects.

Claudius was the rare scholar who covered both. Besides the history of Augustus' reign that caused him so much grief, his major works included Tyrrhenica , a twenty-book Etruscan history, and Carchedonica , an eight-volume history of Carthage , [64] as well as an Etruscan dictionary.

He also wrote a book on dice-playing. Despite the general avoidance of the Republican era, he penned a defense of Cicero against the charges of Asinius Gallus.

Modern historians have used this to determine the nature of his politics and of the aborted chapters of his civil war history.

He proposed a reform of the Latin alphabet by the addition of three new letters , two of which served the function of the modern letters W and Y.

He officially instituted the change during his censorship but they did not survive his reign. Claudius also tried to revive the old custom of putting dots between successive words Classical Latin was written with no spacing.

Finally, he wrote an eight-volume autobiography that Suetonius describes as lacking in taste. None of the works survive but live on as sources for the surviving histories of the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Suetonius quotes Claudius' autobiography once and must have used it as a source numerous times. Tacitus uses Claudius' arguments for the orthographical innovations mentioned above and may have used him for some of the more antiquarian passages in his annals.

Claudius is the source for numerous passages of Pliny's Natural History. The influence of historical study on Claudius is obvious.

In his speech on Gallic senators, he uses a version of the founding of Rome identical to that of Livy, his tutor in adolescence. The speech is meticulous in details, a common mark of all his extant works, and he goes into long digressions on related matters.

This indicates a deep knowledge of a variety of historical subjects that he could not help but share. Many of the public works instituted in his reign were based on plans first suggested by Julius Caesar.

Levick believes this emulation of Caesar may have spread to all aspects of his policies. His censorship seems to have been based on those of his ancestors, particularly Appius Claudius Caecus , and he used the office to put into place many policies based on those of Republican times.

This is when many of his religious reforms took effect, and his building efforts greatly increased during his tenure.

In fact, his assumption of the office of Censor may have been motivated by a desire to see his academic labors bear fruit. For example, he believed as most Romans did that his ancestor Appius Claudius Caecus had used the censorship to introduce the letter "R" [69] and so used his own term to introduce his new letters.

Nearly all implicate his final wife, Agrippina , as the instigator. Agrippina and Claudius had become more combative in the months leading up to his death.

This carried on to the point where Claudius openly lamented his bad wives, and began to comment on Britannicus' approaching manhood with an eye towards restoring his status within the imperial family.

Some implicate either his taster Halotus , his doctor Xenophon , or the infamous poisoner Locusta as the administrator of the fatal substance.

In modern times, some authors have cast doubt on whether Claudius was murdered or merely succumbed to illness or old age.

Already, while alive, he received the widespread private worship of a living Princeps [77] and was worshipped in Britannia in his own temple in Camulodunum.

Claudius was deified by Nero and the Senate almost immediately. Many of Claudius' less solid supporters quickly became Nero's men.

Claudius' will had been changed shortly before his death to either recommend Nero and Britannicus jointly or perhaps just Britannicus, who would have been considered an adult man according to Roman law only a few months later.

Agrippina had sent away Narcissus shortly before Claudius' death, and now murdered the freedman. The last act of this secretary of letters was to burn all of Claudius' correspondence—most likely so it could not be used against him and others in an already hostile new regime.

Thus Claudius' private words about his own policies and motives were lost to history. Just as Claudius had criticized his predecessors in official edicts see below , Nero often criticized the deceased Emperor and many of Claudius' laws and edicts were disregarded under the reasoning that he was too stupid and senile to have meant them.

Seneca 's Apocolocyntosis mocks the deification of Claudius and reinforces the view of Claudius as an unpleasant fool; this remained the official view for the duration of Nero's reign.

Eventually Nero stopped referring to his deified adoptive father at all, and realigned with his birth family. Claudius' temple was left unfinished after only some of the foundation had been laid down.

Eventually the site was overtaken by Nero's Golden House. The Flavians , who had risen to prominence under Claudius, took a different tack.

They were in a position where they needed to shore up their legitimacy, but also justify the fall of the Julio-Claudians. They reached back to Claudius in contrast with Nero, to show that they were good associated with good.

Commemorative coins were issued of Claudius and his son Britannicus , who had been a friend of the Emperor Titus Titus was born in 39, Britannicus was born in However, as the Flavians became established, they needed to emphasize their own credentials more, and their references to Claudius ceased.

Instead, he was lumped with the other emperors of the fallen dynasty. His state cult in Rome probably continued until the abolition of all such cults of dead Emperors by Maximinus Thrax in — The main ancient historians Tacitus , Suetonius , and Cassius Dio all wrote after the last of the Flavians had gone.

All three were senators or equites. They took the side of the Senate in most conflicts with the Princeps, invariably viewing him as being in the wrong.

There was, however, little cordiality between the two. The Praetorian Guards, the imperial household troops, made him emperor on January By family tradition and antiquarian inclinations, Claudius was in sympathy with the senatorial aristocracy; but soldiers and courtiers were his real supporters, while freedmen and foreigners had been his friends in the days of neglect.

Initially, the attitude of the Senate was at best ambiguous. In 42 many senators supported the ill-fated rebellion of the Governor of Dalmatia.

Though paying homage to the dignity of the Senate to whose administration he returned the provinces of Macedonia and Achaea and giving new opportunities to the knights, Claudius was ruthless and occasionally cruel in his dealings with individual members of both orders.

From the very beginning he emphasized his friendship with the army and paid cash for his proclamation as emperor. But concern with the anti-Roman influence of the Druid priesthood, which he tried to suppress in Gaul , and a general inclination toward expanding the frontiers were other reasons.

Claudius planted a colony of veterans at Camulodunum and established client-kingdoms to protect the frontiers of the province; these were afterward a source of trouble, such as the revolt in 47 of Prasutagus , client-king of the Iceni, and later the general revolt instigated by his wife Boudicca also called Boadicea.

He also annexed Mauretania 41—42 in North Africa, of which he made two provinces Caesariensis in the east and Tingitana in the west , Lycia in Asia Minor 43 , and Thrace In 49 he annexed Iturea northeastern Palestine to the province of Syria.

He was careful not to involve the empire in major wars with the Germans and the Parthians. Claudius supported Roman control of Armenia, but in 52 he preferred the collapse of the pro-Roman government to a war with Parthia, leaving a difficult situation to his successor.

He improved in detail the judicial system , and, in his dealings with the provinces, he favoured a moderate extension of Roman citizenship by individual and collective grants: He encouraged urbanization and planted several colonies, for example, at Camulodunum and at Colonia Agrippinensis modern Cologne in Germany in In his religious policy Claudius respected tradition; he revived old religious ceremonies, celebrated the festival of the Secular Games in 47 three days and nights of games and sacrifice commemorating the th birthday of Rome , made himself a censor in 47, and extended in 49 the pomerium of Rome i.

He protected the haruspices diviners and probably Romanized the cult of the Phrygian deity Attis. According to the biographer Suetonius in Claudius, during a period of troubles Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome for a short time; Christians may have been involved.

Elsewhere he confirmed existing Jewish rights and privileges, and in Alexandria he tried to protect the Jews without provoking Egyptian nationalism.

His public works include the reorganization of the grain supply of Rome and construction of a new harbour at Ostia , which was later improved by the emperor Trajan.

He created a kind of cabinet of freedmen, on whom he bestowed honours, to superintend various branches of the administration. An impressive series of documents, such as a speech for the admission of Gauls to the Senate recorded on a partly defective inscription at Lugdunum Lyon , the edict for the Anauni an Alpine population who had usurped the rights of Roman citizenship and whom Claudius confirmed in these rights , and the aforementioned letter to the city of Alexandria 41 ce , survive as evidence of his personal style of government: The inscription from Lugdunum is an interesting comparison with the version of the historian Tacitus in his Annals , which gives an account of the same speech.

The speech as recorded in the inscription, in spite of irrelevance, inconsequence, and fondness for digression much of which is absent in the version of Tacitus , shows that Claudius knew what he wanted and that he appreciated the latent forces of Roman tradition.

His marriage with Messalina ended in 48, when she apparently conspired against him and, according to Tacitus, conducted a public marriage ceremony with her lover, Gaius Silius.

Messalina and Silius were killed, and Claudius married his niece Agrippina , an act contrary to Roman law , which he therefore changed.

Roman Empire, the ancient empire, centred on the city of Rome, that was established in 27 bce following the demise of the Roman Republic and continuing to the final eclipse of the Empire of the West in the 5th century ce.

A brief treatment of the Roman Empire follows. For full treatment, see…. Moesia, province of the Roman Empire, in the southeastern Balkans in what is now Serbia, part of Macedonia, and part of Bulgaria.

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He deified his paternal grandmother Livia to highlight her position as wife of the divine Augustus. Claudius frequently used the term "filius Drusi" son of Drusus in his titles, in order to remind the people of his legendary father and lay claim to his reputation.

Since Claudius was the first Emperor proclaimed on the initiative of the Praetorian Guard instead of the Senate, his repute suffered at the hands of commentators such as Seneca.

Moreover, he was the first Emperor who resorted to bribery as a means to secure army loyalty and rewarded the soldiers of the Praetorian Guard that had elevated him with 15, sesterces.

Claudius remained grateful to the guard, however, issuing coins with tributes to the Praetorians in the early part of his reign.

Claudius restored the status of the peaceful Imperial Roman provinces of Macedonia and Achaea as senatorial provinces.

Under Claudius, the Empire underwent its first major expansion since the reign of Augustus. The provinces of Thrace , Noricum , Pamphylia , Lycia , and Judea were annexed or put under direct rule under various circumstances during his term.

The annexation of Mauretania , begun under Caligula, was completed after the defeat of rebel forces, and the official division of the former client kingdom into two Imperial provinces.

It was also a haven for Gallic rebels and the like, and so could not be left alone much longer. Claudius himself traveled to the island after the completion of initial offensives, bringing with him reinforcements and elephants.

The latter must have made an impression on the Britons when they were displayed in the large tribal centre of Camulodunum , modern day Colchester.

The Roman colonia of Colonia Claudia Victricensis was established as the provincial capital of the newly established province of Britannia at Camulodunum, [21] where a large Temple was dedicated in his honour.

He left after 16 days, but remained in the provinces for some time. The Senate granted him a triumph for his efforts. Only members of the Imperial family were allowed such honours, but Claudius subsequently lifted this restriction for some of his conquering generals.

He was granted the honorific "Britannicus" but only accepted it on behalf of his son, never using the title himself.

Caractacus lived out his days on land provided by the Roman state, an unusual end for an enemy commander.

Claudius conducted a census in 48 that found 5,, Roman citizens [22] adult males with Roman citizenship ; women, children, slaves, and free adult males without Roman citizenship were not counted , an increase of around a million since the census conducted at Augustus' death.

He had helped increase this number through the foundation of Roman colonies that were granted blanket citizenship.

These colonies were often made out of existing communities, especially those with elites who could rally the populace to the Roman cause.

Several colonies were placed in new provinces or on the border of the Empire to secure Roman holdings as quickly as possible. Claudius personally judged many of the legal cases tried during his reign.

Ancient historians have many complaints about this, stating that his judgments were variable and sometimes did not follow the law.

Nevertheless, Claudius paid detailed attention to the operation of the judicial system. He extended the summer court session, as well as the winter term, by shortening the traditional breaks.

Claudius also made a law requiring plaintiffs to remain in the city while their cases were pending, as defendants had previously been required to do.

These measures had the effect of clearing out the docket. The minimum age for jurors was also raised to 25 in order to ensure a more experienced jury pool.

Claudius also settled disputes in the provinces. He freed the island of Rhodes from Roman rule for their good faith and exempted Ilium Troy from taxes.

Early in his reign, the Greeks and Jews of Alexandria sent him two embassies at once after riots broke out between the two communities.

This resulted in the famous "Letter to the Alexandrians", which reaffirmed Jewish rights in the city but also forbade them to move in more families en masse.

According to Josephus , he then reaffirmed the rights and freedoms of all the Jews in the Empire. One of Claudius's investigators discovered that many old Roman citizens based in the city of Tridentum the modern Trento were not in fact citizens.

However, in individual cases, Claudius punished false assumption of citizenship harshly, making it a capital offense. Similarly, any freedmen found to be laying false claim to membership of the Roman equestrian order were sold back into slavery.

Numerous edicts were issued throughout Claudius' reign. These were on a number of topics, everything from medical advice to moral judgments. A famous medical example is one promoting yew juice as a cure for snakebite.

Masters had been abandoning ailing slaves at the temple of Aesculapius on Tiber Island to die instead of providing them with medical assistance and care, and then reclaiming them if they lived.

Claudius ruled that slaves who were thus abandoned and recovered after such treatment would be free. Furthermore, masters who chose to kill slaves rather than take care of them were liable to be charged with murder.

Claudius embarked on many public works throughout his reign, both in the capital and in the provinces.

These entered the city in 52 AD and met at the Porta Maggiore. He also restored a third, the Aqua Virgo. He paid special attention to transportation.

Throughout Italy and the provinces he built roads and canals. Closer to Rome, he built a navigable canal on the Tiber , leading to Portus , his new port just north of Ostia.

This port was constructed in a semicircle with two moles and a lighthouse at its mouth. The construction also had the effect of reducing flooding in Rome.

The port at Ostia was part of Claudius' solution to the constant grain shortages that occurred in winter, after the Roman shipping season. The other part of his solution was to insure the ships of grain merchants who were willing to risk travelling to Egypt in the off-season.

He also granted their sailors special privileges, including citizenship and exemption from the Lex Papia-Poppaea , a law that regulated marriage.

In addition, he repealed the taxes that Caligula had instituted on food, and further reduced taxes on communities suffering drought or famine.

The last part of Claudius' plan was to increase the amount of arable land in Italy. This was to be achieved by draining the Fucine lake , which would have the added benefit of making the nearby river navigable year-round.

The tunnel was crooked and not large enough to carry the water, which caused it to back up when opened. The resultant flood washed out a large gladiatorial exhibition held to commemorate the opening, causing Claudius to run for his life along with the other spectators.

The draining of the lake continued to present a problem well into the Middle Ages. Because of the circumstances of his accession, Claudius took great pains to please the Senate.

During regular sessions, the Emperor sat among the Senate body, speaking in turn. When introducing a law, he sat on a bench between the consuls in his position as holder of the power of Tribune the Emperor could not officially serve as a Tribune of the Plebes as he was a Patrician , but it was a power taken by previous rulers.

He refused to accept all his predecessors' titles including Imperator at the beginning of his reign, preferring to earn them in due course. He allowed the Senate to issue its own bronze coinage for the first time since Augustus.

He also put the Imperial provinces of Macedonia and Achaea back under Senate control. Claudius set about remodeling the Senate into a more efficient, representative body.

He chided the senators about their reluctance to debate bills introduced by himself, as noted in the fragments of a surviving speech:.

If you accept these proposals, Conscript Fathers, say so at once and simply, in accordance with your convictions.

If you do not accept them, find alternatives, but do so here and now; or if you wish to take time for consideration, take it, provided you do not forget that you must be ready to pronounce your opinion whenever you may be summoned to meet.

It ill befits the dignity of the Senate that the consul designate should repeat the phrases of the consuls word for word as his opinion, and that every one else should merely say 'I approve', and that then, after leaving, the assembly should announce 'We debated'.

In 47 he assumed the office of censor with Lucius Vitellius , which had been allowed to lapse for some time. He struck the names of many senators and equites who no longer met qualifications, but showed respect by allowing them to resign in advance.

At the same time, he sought to admit eligible men from the provinces. The Lyon Tablet preserves his speech on the admittance of Gallic senators, in which he addresses the Senate with reverence but also with criticism for their disdain of these men.

He even jokes about how the Senate had admitted members from beyond Gallia Narbonensis Lyons, France , i. He also increased the number of Patricians by adding new families to the dwindling number of noble lines.

Nevertheless, many in the Senate remained hostile to Claudius, and many plots were made on his life. This hostility carried over into the historical accounts.

As a result, Claudius reduced the Senate's power for the sake of efficiency. The administration of Ostia was turned over to an Imperial Procurator after construction of the port.

Administration of many of the empire's financial concerns was turned over to Imperial appointees and freedmen. This led to further resentment and suggestions that these same freedmen were ruling the Emperor.

Several coup attempts were made during Claudius' reign, resulting in the deaths of many senators. Appius Silanus was executed early in Claudius' reign under questionable circumstances.

It ultimately failed because of the reluctance of Scribonianus' troops, which led to the suicide of the main conspirators.

Many other senators tried different conspiracies and were condemned. Claudius' son-in-law Pompeius Magnus was executed for his part in a conspiracy with his father Crassus Frugi.

Valerius Asiaticus was executed without public trial for unknown reasons. The ancient sources say the charge was adultery , and that Claudius was tricked into issuing the punishment.

However, Claudius singles out Asiaticus for special damnation in his speech on the Gauls, which dates over a year later, suggesting that the charge must have been much more serious.

Asiaticus had been a claimant to the throne in the chaos following Caligula's death and a co-consul with the Titus Statilius Taurus Corvinus mentioned above.

Most of these conspiracies took place before Claudius' term as Censor , and may have induced him to review the Senatorial rolls. The conspiracy of Gaius Silius in the year after his Censorship, 48, is detailed in the section discussing Claudius' third wife, Messalina.

Suetonius states that a total of 35 senators and knights were executed for offenses during Claudius' reign. Claudius was hardly the first emperor to use freedmen to help with the day-to-day running of the Empire.

He was, however, forced to increase their role as the powers of the princeps became more centralized and the burden larger.

This was partly due to the ongoing hostility of the Senate, as mentioned above, but also due to his respect for the senators.

Claudius did not want free-born magistrates to have to serve under him, as if they were not peers. The secretariat was divided into bureaus, with each being placed under the leadership of one freedman.

Narcissus was the secretary of correspondence. Pallas became the secretary of the treasury. Callistus became secretary of justice. There was a fourth bureau for miscellaneous issues, which was put under Polybius until his execution for treason.

The freedmen could also officially speak for the Emperor, as when Narcissus addressed the troops in Claudius' stead before the conquest of Britain.

Since these were important positions, the senators were aghast at their being placed in the hands of former slaves. If freedmen had total control of money, letters, and law, it seemed it would not be hard for them to manipulate the Emperor.

This is exactly the accusation put forth by the ancient sources. However, these same sources admit that the freedmen were loyal to Claudius. He was similarly appreciative of them and gave them due credit for policies where he had used their advice.

However, if they showed treasonous inclinations, the Emperor did punish them with just force, as in the case of Polybius and Pallas' brother, Felix.

There is no evidence that the character of Claudius' policies and edicts changed with the rise and fall of the various freedmen, suggesting that he was firmly in control throughout.

Regardless of the extent of their political power, the freedmen did manage to amass wealth through their positions. Pliny the Elder notes that several of them were richer than Crassus , the richest man of the Republican era.

Claudius, as the author of a treatise on Augustus' religious reforms, felt himself in a good position to institute some of his own.

He had strong opinions about the proper form for state religion. He refused the request of Alexandrian Greeks to dedicate a temple to his divinity, saying that only gods may choose new gods.

He restored lost days to festivals and got rid of many extraneous celebrations added by Caligula. He re-instituted old observances and archaic language.

Claudius was concerned with the spread of eastern mysteries within the city and searched for more Roman replacements. He emphasized the Eleusinian mysteries which had been practiced by so many during the Republic.

He expelled foreign astrologers, and at the same time rehabilitated the old Roman soothsayers known as haruspices as a replacement.

He was especially hard on Druidism , because of its incompatibility with the Roman state religion and its proselytizing activities.

Claudius forbade proselytizing in any religion, even in those regions where he allowed natives to worship freely.

It is also reported that at one time he expelled the Jews from Rome, probably because the Jews within the city caused continuous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus.

According to Suetonius, Claudius was extraordinarily fond of games. He is said to have risen with the crowd after gladiatorial matches and given unrestrained praise to the fighters.

Soon after coming into power, Claudius instituted games to be held in honor of his father on the latter's birthday.

Claudius organised a performance of the Secular Games , marking the th anniversary of the founding of Rome.

Augustus had performed the same games less than a century prior. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions.

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Oct 9, See Article History. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: The decision of the emperor Claudius to conquer the island was the result partly of his personal ambition, partly of British aggression.

Verica had been driven from his kingdom and appealed for help, and it may have been calculated that a hostile Catuvellaunian supremacy would endanger stability across the Channel.

Claudius began a great port near Ostia, at the mouth of the Tiber, to facilitate grain shipments directly to Rome. Commerce remained largely in private hands, with public officials acting to ensure a regular supply and to prevent speculation.

The Great Mother was characterized by her universal motherhood, especially over wild nature. More About Claudius 17 references found in Britannica articles Assorted References encouragement of mystery cults In mystery religion: Upbringing Seneca In Seneca: Early life and family Vespasian In Vespasian: Early life View More.

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