Claudius (gens)

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The gens Claudia was one of the oldest families in ancient Rome, and for centuries its members were regularly leaders of the city and empire.

The family was traditionally held to have begun with Attius Clausus, a Sabine who favored peace with Rome, an unpopular position that led to him leaving Regillus with his followers around 504 BC. Rome was welcoming however, making his followers citizens and giving them land, and making Appius Claudius Sabinus (as his name was said in the Roman dialect) a senator.

Gens Claudia branches

There were three of four major branches of the Claudian gens at the end of the Republic. Those with the cognomen Nero were prominent patrician senators during the late Republic; they favoured the praenomen Tiberius. However, the Neros joined the gens Julia when Tiberius Claudius Nero, the son of another Ti. Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla (herself a Claudian Nero through her father Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus) was adpoted by Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus (see Julio-Claudian dynasty).

Those Claudii with the cognomen Marcellus were plebians and had three consuls in three successive years (51-49 BC; two brothers and their first cousin); they favoured the praenomina Gaius and Marcus. Gaius Claudius Marcellus (consul 49 BC) was married to Augustus' sister Octavia and their son was married to Augustus' daughter, Julia.

Those Claudii with the cognomen Pulcher (fem. Pulchra, meaning "beautiful") were patricians and also very prominent in the late republic; they favoured the praenomina Appius (the only family to bear this praenomen) and Publius. A plebian offshoot of this family was created when a Publius Claudius Pulcher had himself adopted by a plebian (for political reasons) and was thereafter known as Publius Clodius; his sister Clodia also adopted this vulgar spelling.

Claudia (and Clodia) were the forms used by women.

Notable members of the gens Claudia

Note: Consuls of 51 and 49 BC were brothers and first cousins to the consul of 50 BC.

Claudius Salmasius is "Claude Saumaise" Latinized, as was formerly common for European scholars.

See also: Julio-Claudian dynastyde:Claudier


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