Emperor Claudius: 3 Reasons Why He Was A Good Emperor

Born1st of August, 10 BC
Died13th of October, 54 AD
Famous Quote“Say not always what you know, but always know what you say.”
Known ForRapid expansion of the Empire, restructured Roman legal system, completed several large scale building projects
Region of WorldRome, Italy, 1st century AD
Further ReadingCaligula: 3 Reasons He Is Known As The Mad Emperor

After the crazy reign of Caligula a new Roman Emperor would have to be chosen by the praetorian guard. This new Roman Emperor would ideally be able to be easily controlled by the guard and the senate. Here are the 3 reasons why the Roman Emperor Claudius was a good emperor.

The Roman Emperor Claudius is considered a good emperor for reasons. First, Claudius rapidly expanded the size and economy of Rome. Second, Claudius was well versed in Roman Law and began to restructure the Roman legal system. Third, Claudius undertook a series of large scale building projects around the Roman Empire.

The Roman Emperor Claudius represents a fascinating story of a man who initially was a social outcast. Preferring to stick to his books and academic studies he would eventually survive his family to become one of the best Roman Emperors of all time.

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Without further ado, here are the 3 reasons why Claudius is considered a good Roman Emperor.

Claudius Rapidly Expanded The Size and Economy Of Rome

One of the main reasons that Claudius is considered a good emperor of Rome was because over the course of his reign he rapidly expanded the size of the Empire and the strength of its economy.

After the insanity of Emperor Caligula’s reign it was a breath of fresh air to have an Emperor that actually could effectively administer the Roman state. Almost immediately upon becoming emperor of Rome Caligula embarked upon a series of corrections to fix the issues that arose from Caligula.

First, he started paying his personal bodyguard and the army. This secured their influence and helped to bolster his power. Second, he gave back the senatorial provinces of Macedonia and Achaea back to the Roman Senate that were taken under Caligula.

After securing his power basis Claudius directed the Roman legions to march to capture Britain in 43 AD. This military campaign was successful and Claudius traveled to Britain to build a temple in his honor and reinforce the new garrison at Camulodunum.

After his conquest of Britain the people of Rome began to see Claudius as an effective leader. The subduction of the British tribes brought massive amounts of resources back to the city of Rome and Claudius was given a Roman Triumph. Claudius would then allow his generals to hold triumphs which had not been seen since the days of the Republic.

From 45-48 BC the Roman Empire began the process of annexing the provinces of Thrace, Noricum, Judea, and Noricum into the empire. This was the first real expansion in Roman territory since the days of Augustus and resulted in millions of acres of land being added into the Roman Empire.

In 48 BC Claudius would start to encourage colonization of these Roman provinces. Several new colonies were established across the Roman East in modern day Greece, Turkey, and the middle east.

From this Claudius not only drastically expanded the size of the Empire he also massively expanded the Roman economy. One of the main reasons for the Roman Empire’s success was because of Claudius setting it up for the next couple centuries.

As such, because Claudius dramatically expanded the size of the Empire along with its overall economic strength he is seen today as a good emperor of Rome.

Claudius Was Well Versed In Roman Law And Restructured The Roman Legal System

One of the reasons that Claudius is considered a good emperor of Rome was because he was well versed in Roman law and restructured the Roman legal system.

Claudius spent much of his life studying rhetoric, history, and law. He was taught by the highly influential Roman historian Livy who pushed Claudius from a young age to study and write history.

From this understanding of Roman history Claudius would become well acquainted with the Roman legal system which revolved around a moral legal system that today we call the sprit of the law after Montesquieu’s famous works.

Further, the reign of Claudius coincided with a massive increase in population within the city of Rome. There was a growing need to structure the Roman legal system so that it worked for everyone.

To accomplish this Claudius would implement several new policies which helped to establish him as a good Emperor.

First, Claudius formalized the Roman courts to be more egalitarian. This was done by extending the hours of the summer court session, requiring both parties to remain in Rome during the trial, and increasing the minimum age for jurors to 25. This resulted in a more efficient legal system in Rome.

Second, Claudius implemented an early version of religious freedom in the eastern provinces due to conflicts between the early Roman and Judaism religions. This had the benefit of reducing the legal court systems total cases in these provinces significantly. Further, it allowed for rapid colonial expansion.

Third, Claudius expanded the role of freedmen within Roman society. Previously freedmen who did not hold Roman citizenship were barred from several major opportunities. Claudius would allow freedmen to serve within the imperial bureaucracy which helped to efficiently govern the new Roman territories.

It was this streamlining of the Roman legal system that cemented Claudius’s legacy. It set the Roman Empire up for the next couple centuries as one of the most efficiently bureaucratic states.

As such, because of Claudius’s restructuring of the Roman legal bureaucracy and legal system he is remembered as a good Roman emperor today.

Claudius Undertook A Series Of Large Scale Building Projects Around The Empire

One of the main reasons that we remember Claudius as a good emperor today was because he set about building a series of large scale building projects to benefit the people of Rome.

In the first couple years of his reign Claudius finished the massive Aqua Claudia and the Aqua Anio Novus. Each of these aqueducts brought millions of gallons of water into Rome each year and helped provide the population with running water.

Across Rome and the provinces Claudius started to upgrade and build new roads. These roads helped to drive the Roman economy while also spreading Roman ideals across the provinces. This is one of the main reasons that historians see the spread of Imperial iconography across the provinces during the 1st century Ad.

After the aqueducts and roads Claudius turned his attention towards supplying Rome with more grain. This was done by digging a canal between the Tiber River and the port of Ostia. This made transporting the massive amount of grain to Rome easier.

Because of these improvements to the Roman infrastructure the people of Rome started to receive regular grain shipments as well as more water from the aqueducts. On top of this Rome experienced a growth in trade due to the new roads and stability across the provinces.

It was these massive building projects that remain one of the main reasons we know of Claudius today as a good emperor of Rome.


There you have it; an entire article on the 3 reasons why Claudius was considered a good emperor of Rome.

The history surrounding Claudius is fascinating. For most of history people considered Claudius to be a worthless emperor who did very little for the people of Rome. This comes from primary sources depicting his reign as a time of wasteful spending and fighting between the Roman Senate and the Emperor. However, modern historians now know that Claudius was a good emperor who did several things to benefit the Roman people.

Here at The History Ace I strive to publish the best history articles on the internet. If you enjoyed this article then consider subscribing to the free newsletter and sharing around the web.

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