Augustus, according to a letter, was surprised at the clarity of Claudius' oratory. His work as a budding historian damaged his prospects for advancement in public life.
According to Vincent Scramuzza and others, Claudius began work on a history of the Civil Wars that was either too truthful or too critical of Octavian—then reigning as Augustus Caesar.
He was seen as vulnerable throughout his reign, particularly by elements of the nobility.
During his reign, Claudius revived the rumor that his father Drusus was actually the illegitimate son of Augustus, to give the appearance that Augustus was Claudius' paternal grandfather.
In 9 BC, his father Drusus unexpectedly died on campaign in Germania, possibly from illness.
He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul, the first (and until Trajan, the only) Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy.
Because he was afflicted with a limp and slight deafness due to sickness at a young age, his family ostracized him and excluded him from public office until his consulship, shared with his nephew Caligula in 37.
Despite his lack of experience, Claudius proved to be an able and efficient administrator.
He was also an ambitious builder, constructing many new roads, aqueducts, and canals across the Empire.
After his death in 54 AD (at age of 63), his grand-nephew and adopted son Nero succeeded him as Emperor.
His 13-year reign (slightly longer than Nero's) would not be surpassed by any successors until that of Domitian.
These events damaged his reputation among the ancient writers, though more recent historians have revised this opinion.
Many authors contend that he was murdered by his own wife.
He was a descendant of the Octavii Rufi (through Gaius Octavius), Julii Caesares (through Julia Minor and Julia Antonia), and the Claudii Nerones (through Nero Claudius Drusus); he was a great-nephew of Augustus through his full sister Octavia Minor, a nephew of Tiberius through his father Drusus, Tiberius' brother, an uncle of Caligula and finally a great-uncle of Nero through Caligula's father and Nero's grandfather Germanicus, his brother.