Emperor Claudius, cont’d.

March 29, 2012

Our photo today features a statue of the Emperor Claudius, taken last week at the Vatican Museum in Rome.

Statue of Emperor Claudius. Vatican Museum. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Museum info placard: “Found at Lanuvio in 1865, this piece originally decorated the theatre in this Roman settlement. Claudius, emperor from  37 (sic) to 54 AD, is shown as Jupiter, wearing the civil crown of oak leaves and with the eagle at his feet.”


(1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54), was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy. Because he was afflicted with a limp and slight deafness due to sickness at a young age, his family ostracized him and excluded him from public office until his consulship, shared with his nephew Caligula in 37. Claudius’ infirmity probably saved him from the fate of many other nobles during the purges of Tiberius and Caligula’s reigns; potential enemies did not see him as a serious threat. His survival led to his being declared Emperor by the Praetorian Guard after Caligula’s assassination, at which point he was the last adult male of his family.

Despite his lack of experience, Claudius proved to be an able and efficient administrator. He was also an ambitious builder, constructing many new roads, aqueducts, and canals across the Empire. During his reign the Empire conquered Thrace, Noricum, Pamphylia, Lycia and Judaea, and began the conquest of Britain. He took a personal interest in law, presided at public trials, and issued up to twenty edicts a day. However, he was seen as vulnerable throughout his reign, particularly by the nobility. Claudius was constantly forced to shore up his position; this resulted in the deaths of many senators. These events damaged his reputation among the ancient writers, though more recent historians have revised this opinion. After his death in 54, his grand-nephew and adopted son Nero succeeded him as Emperor (Wikipedia).

Scroll down and read our previous post to see some scriptural reverences to Claudius in the NT book of Acts.

Click on image for larger view.

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