Claudius was the fifth Emperor of Rome, and the first truly able ruler since Augustus, the first. He succeeded the previous Emperor, his nephew Caligula, upon the assassination of the latter. He was 50 years old, but still full of energy – although widely seen as a weakling, after serious illnesses when he was younger. As a result, Claudius often had to shore up his power with a few senatorial executions.
Claudius achieved much during his reign – Thrace, Noricum, Pamphylia, Lycia and Judea were all conquered during his reign, and the invasion of Britain also took place. In addition, Claudius ordered great amounts of construction, with roads, canals and aqueducts built at his command all over the empire. He also took a keen interest in the law, presiding over trials in Rome, often several of them in the one day.