Claudius: The Unexpected Roman Emperor.
Unlike most Roman Emperors, who were groomed throughout their youth to become political forces, Claudius did not expect to assume the role of Emperor after Caligula. However, when Caligula was assassinated, Claudius rose to the occasion and ruled the empire quite successfully. Claudius was the emperor of Rome from forty-one A.D. to fifty-four A.D. During his reign, Claudius expanded the Roman Empire, extended the rights of Roman citizens, and opened up the Senate to men from Roman provinces (Levick). However, the Roman citizenry was sharply divided over Claudius" position of power. Many believed that Claudius was unfit to run the Empire, and numerous others opposed him because they aspired to hold the same position. Historically, Claudius has been seen as a capable ruler who helped to extend the power of the Roman Empire.
"Claudius was born on 1 August 10 B.C. at Lugdunum in Gaul, into the heart of the Julio-Claudian dynasty: he was the son of Drusus Claudius Nero, the son of Augustus" wife Livia, and Antonia, the daughter of Mark Antony (Fagan)." Claudius was born with some sort of mental defect. No one knows for sure what the illness truly was, but many scholars believe it may have been some sort of cerebral palsy. Throughout his life he suffered from a strong stutter and other noticeable flaws. As a result, Claudius was kept out of the public as a child. Even his own family believed it would be impossible for him to have any type of political career. However, Claudius would eventually overcome his illness and prove all his critics wrong. Claudius survived the excessive troubles of his childhood, and eventually his luck began to improve. When Caligula (Claudius" volatile nephew) took over the empire in thirty-seven A.D., he granted Claudius a consulship. Thus, at the age of forty-six, Claudius began his political career with his first public office.