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The Timeline of the |
Life of Claudius,
Fourth Emperor of Rome
The second wife of Octavian (Caesar Augustus), Livia Drusilla, had two children, Tiberius and Drusus.
Drusus married Antonia, the daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia, the sister of Octavian. They had two
sons, Germanicus and Claudius. Drusus was a very successful general campaigning in what became
Germany. However while on campaign he was thrown from his horse and died of his injuries a
few days later.
- 10 BCE: Claudius is born in Gaul at the city of Lugdunum, which later became the city
of Lyon, France. His full birth name was Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus. He was named
after his father's older brother Tiberius.
- As he grew up he was perceived by the royal family
as homely and awkward and not a good candidate to represent them in public office.
Instead he was encouraged to write histories, which he did.
- Legend has it that one day a predatory bird carrying a wolf cub flew over the villa where Claudius was living.
The wolf puppy fell from the bird's grasp and Claudia caught it. This was interpreted as a sign
that someday Rome would fall into Claudius' hands.
- Claudius' first wife was Plautia Urgulanilla, a woman of Etruscan lineage.
- Claudius divorces Plautia Urgulanilla and marries Aelia Paetina.
- 37 CE: Clausius is made a consul of Rome.
- Claudius divorces Aelia Paetina and marries Valeria Messalina.
- 41 CE: The Praetorian Guard decided to kill the reigning Roman Emperor, Caligula. During their
invasion of the palace Claudius was found hiding and trembling in fear. The Guard decided
that Claudius was a member of the royal family that they could control so they declared him
the new emperor.
- 41-42 CE: Claudius sends Roman forces to take control of Mauretania in Northwest Africa.
- 42 CE: The governor of Dalmatia attempted a rebellion to overthrow Claudius and many members
of the Senate supported that attempt.
- 43 CE: Claudius sent an expeditionary force to establish Roman control in southern Britain.
Claudius himself goes to Britain to observe the success of this venture.
- 43 CE: Claudius annexed Lycia in Anatolia.
- 44 CE: Claudius annexed Judea as a Roman province. Previously it had been a client kingdom.
- 46 CE: Claudius annexed Thrace in the Greek Peninsula.
- 47 CE: A revolt in Britain breaks out led by Celtic Queen Boadicea.
- 47 CE: Claudius revived the celebration of the Secular Games, three days and nights of games
and ceremonies, to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the founding of Rome.
- 48 CE: Claudius has his wife Valeria Messalina and her lover killed for conspiring against him.
He then marries his niece Agrippina the Younger. Unbeknownst
to Claudius, Agrippina had poisoned her husband in order to be able to marry him.
- 49 CE: Claudius annexed northeastern Palestine to the Roman province of Syria.
- 51 CE: Claudius established a Roman colony at the site of Cologne in Germany. He named
it Colonia Agrippinensis, after his wife. Another Roman colony was established at
Colchester in Britain.
- 52 CE: The pro-Roman government of Armenia is deposed and Claudius takes no action
for fear of involving Rome in a war with the Parthian Empire of Iran.
- 54 CE: Claudius dies. Roman tradition attributed his death to poisoning by his wife Agrippina and
that probably she used mushrooms. The Senate subsequently declared Claudius to be a god.
The politician Lucius Anneus Seneca satirized Claudius' apotheosis as his pumpkinification
and ridiculed his appearance and speaking ability. However Claudius in his lifetime wrote 28 books
on Etruscan and Carthaginian history, his autobiography and a treatise on the history of the Latin
alphabet. Early in his writing career he wrote a pamphlet defending the Roman patriot Cicero whom
had been executed at Mark Antony's insistance during the reign of the Triumvirate. He found that
it was difficult to write about Roman history without provoking controversy so he concentrated on
Etruscan and Carthaginian history. Unfortunately
no copies of those books survived.