Divus Claudius Analysis

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Of the many rulers of the Roman Empire, some were considered to be gods and some were considered to be monsters. Most of the latter earned this type of status by following the “Neronian paradigm”. This included elaborate shows and games, little in expansion or military conquest, and an overall dislike toward the emperor. The Neronian paradigm also refers to the behavior of the emperor, which includes anger, paranoia, cruelty toward and mistreatment of people, and bad decision-making. One emperor that followed this paradigm was the emperor Claudius. Although preceding Nero, he followed many of the behaviors of the paradigm, and despite earning the title Divus Claudius, had behavior more consistent with that of his malicious nephew, than that…show more content…
One such example was entering into an incestuous marriage with his niece Agrippina. There was no precedent for an uncle marrying his niece, and it was worried that it could cause national uproar in Rome, but Claudius went ahead with the marriage anyway (Tacitus 12.5). Even though it elevated the power of Agrippina, who had political aspirations for her and her son, this incestuous marriage showcased the poor treatment of others by Claudius, since he had only his intentions in mind, and did not care how others would feel about the union. The marriage also involved others beside Agrippina who were unfairly treated. Agrippina’s plan included having her son betrothed to Claudius’ daughter Octavia, who had already been betrothed to Lucius Silanus, who had already received an honorary triumph by the emperor (Tacitus 12.3). By his marriage to Agrippina, the betrothal between Octavia and Silanus was broken off, Silanus committed suicide, and his sister Junia Calvina was banished from Italy (Tacitus 12.8). Through the actions of Claudius, many people suffered, with some executed, some forced to commit suicide, and through one incestuous marriage, the reign of Nero was set

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