• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Asses the views of Tacitus and Suetonius on the reign of Claudius

Extracts from this document...


Asses the views of Tacitus and Suetonius on the reign of Claudius. "Wholly under the control of these and of his wives, as I have said, he played the part, not of a prince, but of a servant lavishing honours" (Suetonius Claudius 29) The reign of Claudius is portrayed very badly by the ancient sources, namely Tacitus and Suetonius. Their personal view on Claudius' character clouds their judgement on the effectiveness of Claudius' reign as Emperor. The historian Tacitus objected to great concentration of power in the hands of the early emperors. In his writings he tries to paint every emperor as a corrupt despot even though he hated civil war and anarchy even more. ...read more.


It is clear that he disliked Claudius and believed that he was used and manipulated by his freedmen and wives. In the case of Claudius' reign, both sources are untied in portraying Claudius as a dupe to his imperial freedmen advisors as well as to his wives. It is possible that the hostile stance of the elite towards Claudius extended back into his reign; he was, after all, a usurper who had been foisted on the aristocrats by the solders. If so, Claudius' reliance on his freedmen, may have stemmed form this circumstance, in that the ex-slaves were (as far as he was concerned) more trustworthy that the sullen aristocracy. ...read more.


The sources hatred for Claudius and his reign may have been from his disability. Suetonius writes on how "he limped, he drooled, he stuttered and was constantly ill" (Suetonius Claudius 2. 1-2). It is believed today that Claudius suffered from congenital cerebral palsy involving spasticity. Suetonius and Tacitus thought that Claudius wasn't fit to be emperor and rule to empire because of his disabilities. They may have thought these disabilities as reflective of mental infirmity like Claudius' family did. Suetonius presents Claudius as a timid coward who was paranoid of conspiracies against him. "But these were nothing for which he was so notorious as timidity and suspicion". Suetonius tells of Claudius' 'shameful and cowardly fight to the camp, doing nothing all the way but ask whether his throne was secure. ?? ?? ?? ?? James Parker 12CG Ancient History Essay 3/3/06 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Hamlet essays

  1. Ophelia Essay

    Hamlet uses this chance to talk to Ophelia. He asks her some very intimate questions "Lady, shall I lie in your lap?" "Do you think I meant country matters?" In response to these questions Ophelia acts very innocently. "Ay my Lord" "I think nothing my lord" Ophelia is used to being told what to do and think.

  2. Hamlet’s own personal views on divinity

    In the play performed by the players, the actor who plays the king says, "...our wills and fates do so contrary run that our devices still are overthrown; our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own."(3.2.223-225). I interpreted that statement to mean that a person's will and fate

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work