Roman Empire, Claudius, AE 18

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Roman Empire, Claudius, 41-54, AE 18

Provincial coinage from Mysia, Pergamum

Head r.




Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus
(*10 BC in Lugdunum, today Lyon; † 13 October 54 AD).

He reigned from 41-54 AD and was the fourth Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. In addition, he was a great-nephew of Augustus.

As a child, Claudius probably suffered from the consequences of an unknown illness (paralysis), which limited him physically.
For this reason, he was not allowed to act as a representative of the imperial family for the time being. In addition, he later had disputes with Tiberius because he was too politically involved with Agrippina Maior (mother of the Roman emperor Caligula).
It was only through Caligula that a career in the Senate as consul was opened up for him.

After Caligula's assassination, Claudius was elevated to the office of Praetorium, where he was proclaimed Emperor by the soldiers. He was the first Roman emperor in whose elevation the military played a significant role. Despite his lack of political experience, Claudius proved to be an able administrator and developed a lively building activity. His reign saw the conquest of Britain, the first territorial expansion of the Roman Empire since the time of Augustus.

He was an able ruler who, however, suffered greatly from his physical handicap as he grew older. In addition, his relationship with his second wife deteriorated enormously. One suspects that these were the triggers that caused Claudius to be ostracised. Thus, the ancient historians and biographers (especially Suetonius and Seneca) report about Claudius that even before he became emperor, he was a neglected, sickly and ridiculous man. As emperor, he was characterised as ignorant, feeble and malicious. (Seneca, Apocolocyntosis 5,3).

His reign saw numerous famines in the empire caused by a shortage of wheat. Claudius tried to increase agricultural production and improve the institutions responsible for the food supply. He developed a lively public building activity, both in the capital and in the provinces. Thus he saw to the completion of two aqueducts: the Aqua Claudia begun by Caligula and the Anio Novus. Both were completed in Rome in 52 AD; they met at the Porta Maggiore. Claudius also restored a third aqueduct, the Aqua Virgo.
The emperor paid special attention to the traffic routes. He had roads and canals built throughout Italy and the provinces.

Modern research arrives at a more differentiated judgement and also appreciates Claudius as a prudent and capable ruler.



Additional product information

Origin Roman Empire
Mint Pergamum
Grading VF
Material Bronze
Full weight


Literature BMC 15.141.257

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