See Claudia Gens. (1) Appius Claudius Sabnus Regillensis. A Sabine, a native of Regillum, and n his own country called Attus Clausus. He belonged to the pro-Roman party among his people, and when his advice was disregarded and war broke out between the two nations, he led a large number of seceders to Rome (B.C. 504), where he was enrolled among the patricians and received a large grant of land beyond the Anio. He was the founder of the great gens Claudia, one of the noblest in Roman history. He was a typical aristocrat, and his conduct towards the plebeians was marked by so much intolerance and severity during his consulship (B.C. 495) as to lead to the famous secession to the Mons Sacer in the following year.
(2) Appius Claudius Sabnus Regillensis. A son of the preceding, consul in B.C. 471. He was famed for the severity of his military discipline, which he pushed to such extremes that his soldiers deserted him. Having on this account been impeached by the tribunes, he committed suicide.
(3) Gaius Claudius Sabnus Regillensis. A brother of the preceding, and one of the more moderate of the patricians. He defended his brother(?), the decemvir, when the latter was impeached.
(4) Appius Claudius Crassus Sabnus Regillensis, usually called the son of No. 2, but possibly the same person. He was consul in B.C. 451, and in the same year became one of the decemvirs appointed to revise the laws. (See Decemviri.) In the following year he was reappointed, but his tyrannous conduct towards the plebeians, and especially his relation to the affair of Virginia, led to the downfall of the decemvirate. (See Virginia.) Being impeached by Virginius, he either committed suicide or was killed in prison before his trial.
(5) Appius Claudius Caecus. A famous Roman, censor in B.C. 312. During his term of office he commenced the Via Appia and built the great Appian aqueduct. He retained the censorship for four years beyond the time allowed by law, and was twice consul (B.C. 307 and 296), and in the latter year carried on war against the Samnites and Etruscans. As an old man, Appius induced the Senate to reject the proposals for peace made by Cineas on behalf of Pyrrhus. (See Pyrrhus.) He was the first Roman writer of prose and verse of whom we have any record, being the author of a poem (subject unknown), and of a legal treatise De Usurpationibus. With Cn. Flavius, he published also a calendar of the religious festivals, and legis actiones. According to Quintilian (ii. 16, 7), he was the first to distinguish the two sounds R and S in writing. (See Rhotacism.) Martianus Capella says that he set the fashion of omitting the use of the character Z. (See Alphabet.) See Mommsen, Hist. of Rome, i. p. 432; id. Rmische Forschungen, vol. i. (Berlin, 1864); and the treatise of Siebert (Cassel, 1863). In his old age he became blind, as the name Caecus implies. In Roman constitutional history, Appius is famous as having abolished the limitation of the full right of citizenship to land-owners.
(6) Appius Claudius Caudex. A brother of the preceding, who was consul in B.C. 264, and took part in the First Punic War, conducting a campaign against the Carthaginians in Sicily.
(7) Pulcher, a Roman consul in the First Punic War. When, previous to a naval engagement with the Carthaginians, the person who had charge of the sacred fowls told him that they would not eat, which was esteemed a bad omen, he ordered them to be thrown into the sea, exclaiming, Then let them drink. After this, joining battle with the foe, he was defeated with the loss of his fleet. Having been recalled by the Senate, he gave another specimen of the haughty temper of the Claudian race, for, on being directed to nominate a dictator, he purposely named his own viator, an individual of the lowest rank ( Cic. N. D.ii. 3).
(8) Nero, a Roman consul in the Second Punic War, who, in conjunction with his colleague Livius Salinator, defeated Hasdrubal in Umbria, on the banks of the Metaurus (q.v.).
(9) Appius Claudius Pulcher. A consul in B.C. 143, when he defeated the Salassi, an Alpine tribe. On his return, the Senate refused to give him a triumph, and when one of the tribunes tried to drag him from his chariot, he and his daughter Claudia, a Vestal, walked together to the Capitol. He was fatherin-law to Tib. Gracchus, and acted as triumvir for the division of the public lands. He died soon after the death of Gracchus.
(10) Tiberius Nero, father of the emperor Tiberius. He was distinguished for his naval skill in the Alexandrine War, under Iulius Caesar. At a subsequent period he incited a sedition in Campania by promising to restore the property of those who had suffered in the Civil Wars. This tumult, however, was soon quelled by the arrival of Octavianus; and Tiberius, together with his wife Livia, took refuge in Sicily and Achaia until the establishment of the Second Triumvirate made it safe for him to return to Rome. Livia having after this engaged the affections of Octavianus, Tiberius transferred to him the name and privileges of a husband ( Tac. Ann.v. 1).
(11) Tiberius Nero Caesar Germancus, the successor of Augustus, and son of the preceding. (See Tiberius.)
(12) Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Caesar Germancus, more commonly known by his historical name of Claudius, succeeded to the Roman Empire on the death of Caligula. He was the second son of Drusus and Antonia, and consequently grand-nephew to Augustus. When the assassination of Caligula was made known, the first impulse of the court party and of the foreign guards was to massacre all who had participated in the murder. Several persons of distinction, who imprudently exposed themselves, became, in consequence, the victims of their fury. This violence subsided, however, upon their discovering Claudius, who had concealed himself in an obscure corner of the palace, and who, being dragged from his hiding-place, threw himself at their feet in the utmost terror and besought them to spare his life. The soldiers in the palace immediately saluted him emperor, and Claudius, in return, set the first example of paying the army for the imperial dignity by a largess from the public treasury. It is difficult to assign any other motive for the choice which the army made of Claudius than that which they themselves professed, his relationship to the whole family of the Caesars. Claudius, who was now [p. 361]
fifty years old, had never done anything to gain popularity, or to display those qualities which secure the attachment of the soldiery. He had been a rickety child, and the development of his faculties was retarded by his bodily infirmities; and although he outgrew his complaints, and became distinguished as a polite scholar and an eloquent writer, his spirits never recovered from the effects of disease and of severe treatment, and he retained much of the timidity and indolence of his childhood. During the reign of Tiberius he gave himself up to gross sensuality, and consoled himself under this degradation by the security which it brought with it. Under Caligula also he found [figure in text: The Emperor Claudius. (Bust in the Vatican.)] his safety consist in maintaining his reputation for incapacity, and he suffered himself to become the butt of court parasites and the subject of their practical jokes. The excitement of novelty, on his first accession to the throne, produced efforts of sagacity and prudence of which none who had previously known him believed him capable; and during the whole of his reign, too, we find judicious and useful enactments occasionally made, which would seem to show that he was not in reality so foolish and incompetent as historians have generally represented him. It is most probable, therefore, that the fatuity which characterizes some parts of his conduct was the result, not of natural imbecility, but of the early and unlimited indulgence of sensuality. [figure in text: Coin of Claudius.]
Claudius embellished Rome with many magnificent works; he made Mauritania a Roman province; his armies fought successfully against the Germans; and he himself triumphed magnificently in victories over the Britons, and obtained, together with his infant son, the surname of Britannicus. But in other respects he was wholly governed by worthless favourites, and especially by his empress, the profligate and abandoned Messalina (q.v.), whose cruelty and rapacity were as unbounded as her licentiousness. At her instigation it was but too common for the emperor to put to death, on false charges of conspiracy, some of the wealthiest of the nobles, and to confiscate their estates, with the money arising from which she openly pampered her numerous paramours. When the career of this guilty woman was terminated, Claudius was governed for a time by his freedman, Narcissus, and Pallas, another manumitted slave, until he took to wife his own niece, Agrippina, daughter of Germanicus, a woman of strong natural abilities, but of insatiable avarice, extreme ambition, and remorseless cruelty. Her influence over the feeble emperor was boundless. She prevailed on him at last to set aside his own son Britannicus, and to adopt her son, Domitius Ahenobarbus, by her former husband, giving him the name by which he is best known, Nero, and constituting him heir to the imperial throne. Claudius having afterwards shown a disposition to change the succession and restore it to Britannicus, fell a victim to the ambition of Agrippina, who caused him to be poisoned. A dish of mushrooms was prepared for the purpose, a kind of food of which the emperor was known to be especially fond, and the effects of the poison were hastened by the pretended remedies administered by Xenophon, the physician of the palace. It was given out that Claudius had suffered from indigestion, which his habitual gluttony rendered so frequent that it excited no surprise; and his death was concealed till Domitius Nero had secured the guards, and had quietly taken possession of the imperial authority. Claudius died in the sixty-fourth year of his age and the fourteenth of his reign, A.D. 54. His biography is to be found in the Lives of Suetonius. See BaringGould, The Tragedy of the Caesars, vol. i. (London, 1892).
(13) Marcus Aurelius Claudius Gothcus. A Roman emperor, who reigned from A.D. 268 to 270. He was of an obscure Illyrian family, but won distinction by his brilliant military service under Decius, Valerian, and Gallienus, so that on the death of the last he succeeded to the imperial office. As emperor he won two great victories, defeating the Alemanni in the north of Italy, and in the next year (A.D. 269) the Goths in Dardania at Nasus. He died at Sirmium in the year 270.