When Caligula was assassinated in 41, Claudius hid in a room of the palace called the Hermaeum, and then behind a curtain on a balcony. According to Suetonius, he was discovered by a soldier named Gratus - Gratitude -
who said to his colleagues: "This is a Germanicus; come on, let us choose him for our emperor." But many in the Senate wanted to see him dead and a return to the republic.
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For most of his life, Claudius was the Rosemary Kennedy of the Caesars. Without the ice pick lobotomy. Hidden from the public. If he wasn’t allowed to participate in Roman affairs, he would look elsewhere. He became a historian, writing a ton of books about his family, the Carthaginians, and about Etruscan history. But he wasn't boring. He was a bit of a womaniser, and loved to watch games in the arena, gambling, eating, drinking. Things only started to turn around for him when became Caligula’s co-consul in 37 - but whether or not this was Caligula's little joke is hard to say.
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The first 50 years of Tiberius Claudius Nero's life was a mixture of wealth, power and cruelty. With symptoms similar to cerebral palsy, the young Claudius was called “a monstrosity of a human being, one that Nature began and never finished" - by his own mother. He was kept out of public life and power by his adoptive grandfather, Augustus, and his successor, Tiberius. He was treated as a fool and a joke by his nephew, Caligula. But after Caligula's assassination, he took power by force, becoming Rome's first true IMPERATOR.
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In this special post-series wrap up episode of Caligula, I'm joined by my fellow Aussie history podcasters, Dr G and Dr R from The Partial Historians.
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