Roman Emperor. He was born into a high ranking family in 10 BC, but was kept from public life because of his speech impediment and physical disabilities, which may have been due to cerebral palsy. He spent his early life in obscurity, spending his time drinking and gambling, and also writing books on Etruscan and Carthaginian History, which have not survived. He was declared Emperor by the Praetorian Guard in 41AD, following the assassination of Caligula. His first action as Emperor was to execute Caligula's assassins, he then tried to gain popularity by halting treason trials and destroying criminal records. In 48AD his wife Messalina married her lover Gaius Silius, with the intention of seizing power, but she was discovered and executed without his knowledge. As well as being dominated by his wife, he was often criticised for his reliance on the advice of his powerful freedmen Narcissus, Pallas and Callistus. He took a personal interest in legal matters, often attending law courts and hearing cases, he was also a patron of the games. He is remembered for two great engineering projects, the draining of the Fucine Lake to make farmland, and the construction of a new harbour at Ostia, but neither were long term successes. In 43AD he ordered the invasion of Britain, for which he celebrated a triumph in Rome a year later. He also added Thrace, Lycia, Mauretania and Noricum to the Empire. He married his niece Agrippina in 49 AD, and she soon persuaded him to adopt her son Lucius Domitius as his heir in place of his own son Brittanicus. Soon afterwards Agrippina murdered Claudius by feeding him a poisoned mushroom. He was succeeded by Lucius Domitius, who ruled under the name of Nero, and had Claudius deified when he came to power.
Bio by: js