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Title: Claudius at the river : aspects of biography
Author: Gibson, A. G. G.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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Tiberius Claudius Germanicus was acclaimed emperor in AD41 after the murder of Gaius by members of the Praetorian Guard. Despite manifest handicaps that worried the imperial family enough to result in a career of education, scholarship and minor offices, Ti. Claudius Caesar emerged as princeps, a position which he held until his untimely death in AD54. Scholars have assessed the impact of Claudius’ disabilities in a negative light, or, in a spirit of revisionism without producing evidence that would authentically refute the original allegations. This is a contradictory result; one is asked to accept as fact the severity of a negative and satirical portrait of Claudius, but then be coerced to assume that he was in fact still capable - this is not a tenable position. Past scholarship has given a cursory assessment of Claudius’ illness, and promoted infantile paralysis (polio) or cerebral palsy as being consistent with his apparent eccentricities in the sources. This study carries out a risk assessment of Claudius’ birth and early childhood, a pathological examination based on the evidence; the result of the study shows that any long-term illness is stable and then progresses to a degenerative state. After a survey of neurological diseases, the conclusion drawn is that Claudius’ ill health was Post Polio Syndrome (PPS). An important conclusion is that PPS is not connected to the reported stutter, although the voice quality may have been affected by progressive muscle wasting. A detailed and critical examination of the source’s descriptions of the events of AD41 demonstrates that selecting Claudius was a realistic choice, one borne out by the medical pathology of PPS.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available