AE Quadrans. 3.0g, 16.4mm
MINTED: Rome mint, AD 41
REF: RIC 84
OBVERSE: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG, three-legged modius.
REVERSE: PON M TR P IMP COS DES IT around large S C
Very Fine. Reverse off-center.
The quadrans (meaning "a quarter") was a small bronze coin worth 1/4 of an as, or 1/16 of a denarius.
Claudius was the most unlikely of emperors - brother of the dashing and beloved hero Germanicus, but himself a lame, apparently slow-witted stutterer. Shunned from youth by most members of his illustrious family, for most of his life he was thought incapable of being allowed any public office or responsibility. His grandmother, Livia, the wife of Augustus, held him in contempt, and his own mother Antonia called him "a monster of a man, not finished but merely begun by Nature".
It was, however, these perceived defects of body and mind that allowed Claudius to appear unthreatening and thereby survive the bloody reigns of Tiberius and Caligula, when many of his relatives fell victim to execution, poisoning and purges. In the chaos that ensued when Caligula was assassinated in 41, a Praetorian guard found the murdered emperor's uncle, Claudius, cowering behind a curtain in the palace. The terrified man was brought to the Praetorian camp and there declared emperor.
Despite what some of his family members thought of him, Claudius was in fact a scholar of considerable knowledge and an author of some ability. He possessed a keen mind and as emperor issued numerous edicts and personally served as judge in many legal cases. On the military front, his reign also saw the expansion of the borders of the empire in Thrace, Lycia, Judea, and Britannia. In 54, at the age of 63, and after a reign of 13 years, Claudius was poisoned by his fourth wife, Agrippina, to ensure the succession of her son, Nero, to the throne.
CLAUDIUS . AD 41-54 . Quadrans . "Modius"
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