Fifth of the Caesars.
Period of principate.
41 to 54.
Related and attributed text(s).
Tacitus, Annals 11-12 (related),
available in Latin (Latin Library) and
English (Internet Classics Library).
Suetonius, Divine Claudius (related),
available in Latin and
Cassius Dio, Roman History (related),
available in English (LacusCurtius).
Claudius at Wikipedia.
Claudius at Roman Emperors.
Suetonius on Chrestus and
the expulsion of the Jews under Claudius.
Claudius Caesar was the fifth of the twelve Caesars for whom
Suetonius wrote a biography.
Tacitus, Annals 12.69:
Tunc medio diei tertium ante Idus
Octobris, foribus palatii repente diductis, comitante Burro Nero
egreditur ad cohortem, quae more militiae excubiis adest.
ibi monente praefecto faustis vocibus exceptus inditur lecticae.
dubitavisse quosdam ferunt, respectantis rogitantisque ubi
Britannicus esset: mox nullo in diversum auctore quae offerebantur
secuti sunt. inlatusque castris Nero et congruentia tempori
praefatus, promisso donativo ad exemplum paternae largitionis,
imperator consalutatur. sententiam militum secuta patrum consulta,
nec dubitatum est apud provincias. caelestesque honores Claudio
decernuntur et funeris sollemne perinde ac divo Augusto celebratur,
aemulante Agrippina proaviae Liviae magnificentiam. testamentum
tamen haud recitatum, ne antepositus filio privignus iniuria et
invidia animos vulgi turbaret.
At last at noon on the thirteenth of
October the gates of the palace were suddenly thrown open, and Nero,
accompanied by Burrus, went forth to the cohort which was on guard
after military custom. There, at the suggestion of the commanding
officer, he was hailed with joyful shouts, and set on a litter.
Some, it is said, hesitated and looked round and asked where
Britannicus was; then, when there was no one to lead a resistance,
they yielded to what was offered them. Nero was conveyed into the
camp, and, having first spoken suitably to the occasion and promised
a donative after the example of the bounty if his father, he was
unanimously greeted as emperor. The decrees of the senate followed
the voice of the soldiers, and there was no hesitation in the
provinces. Divine honors were decreed to Claudius, and his funeral
rites were solemnized on the same scale as those of Augustus;
for Agrippina strove to emulate the magnificence of her
great-grandmother, Livia. But his will was not publicly read,
as the preference of the stepson to the son might provoke a sense
of wrong and angry feeling in the popular mind.
Tertullian, Apology 10.10b:
Taceo quod ita rudes adhuc homines
agebant ut cuiuslibet novi viri adspectu quasi divino commoverentur,
cum hodie iam politi quos ante paucos dies luctu publico mortuos
sint confessi in deos consecrent.
I remain silent on the fact that till then
men were so rude that they were moved by the appearance of any new
man as if he were divine, since today men who are already cultivated
consecrate as gods those who a few days before they confessed by a
public funeral were dead.