Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, British Fiction Series)
When the Emperor Claudius was considered the neglected scholar of the Claudian family before his accession to the throne, one of his friends and well-wishers was Herod Agrippa. The Emperor Tiberius had imprisoned Herod for treasonous sentiments, but when Caligula came to the throne, he made Herod Tetrarch of Bashan. When Caligula was murdered and Claudius proclaimed Emperor by the palace guards, Herod was back in Rome on official business.
As the result of popular opinion that he was a cripple, a stammerer, and an idiot, Claudius’ position was a difficult one at first. The Roman Senate did not expect much of such a man and certainly not a capable handling of public affairs after Caligula’s four years of misrule. Claudius, however, immediately began a program of reforms, among them a reorganization of the Senate, a stabilization of the state’s finances, and the abolition of many of Caligula’s cruel decrees. To carry out his widespread program, Claudius appointed many new ministers of state. He entrusted the office of the Director of Public Morals to his wife Messalina, as she had been most helpful in reorganizing the Senate list. To his loyal friend, Herod, Claudius gave the lands of Judea, Samaria, and Edom. Then in the open marketplace before an immense crowd, Claudius and Herod made a solemn pact of friendship and loyalty.
Soon after Claudius’ ascent to the throne, his son Brittanicus was born, followed approximately eleven months...
(The entire section is 956 words.)
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