Roman Empire Caligula Denarius 41 - 54 AD

Obv: Laureated head r. "TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG P MP TR P IIII?"
Rev: Battlement wall enclosing Praeto camp, soldier within, spear in right hand, aquila in front, pediment with fortified flanking walls behind "IMPER RECEPT"

. Metal: Silver 3.2 grams, 18 mm diameter. Condition: VF/F+ crystalized - uneven strike

<Roman Forum Ruins>
History of Claudius

Born in 10 BC, he did not become emperor until he was 50. After the murder of Caligula, Rome was plunged into chaos. The senators wanted a return to the republic, but the praetorian guard had no interest in the republic. By chance they came across Caligula's uncle (Claudius) hiding behind a curtain. They carried him to the praetorian camp and proclaimed him emperor on the same day as Caligula's death. The senate accepted and sent an embassy to urge him to submit tothe senate's authority, but Claudius chose the emperial path and bribed the praetorian guard with 15,000 sesterces per man to gain their loyalty.

Claudius was a survivor, as he appeared to be a weakling and no threat. When he walked his weak knees gave way under him, he would foam at the mouth and trickle at the nose. At times his head was very shaky and he had a speech impediment, as such he was kept hidden from the public eye. His mother described him as "a monster of a man", but his metal faculties were not impaired.

To gain favor, Caligula abolished most of the unpopoular rules made by Caligula and returned much of the confiscated property, but at the same time he was fearful of assassination and many persons were executed for preceived threats to his life. He avoided conflict with the senate, but slowly reduced the senate's real powers. He took a real interest in the empire's finances and justice system and spent at least part of every day hearing legal cases, however his judgements were frequently criticized and so these actions actually lost him respect.

Although a feeble old man with no military experience, the empire expanded during his reign to include Thrace, Lycia, Mauretania, Noricum, and Britain with Claudius receiving significant credit for the addition of Britain. Claudius was very generous with granting Roman citizenship to select citizens in the provances.

Claudius was poisoned by his second wife Agrippina to assure the ascention of her son Nero in October 54 AD.