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Roman Emperor Claudius II Gothicus

Updated on December 20, 2012
Claudius II Gothicus Bust
Claudius II Gothicus Bust | Source

Claudius II also known as Claudius II Gothicus was born in 213 A.D. in an unknown region outside the Roman empire. This barbarian born man would grow up to become a Roman emperor and reign from the year 268 to 270 A.D. Aside from childhood he spent his entire life as part of the Roman army eventually being promoted to commander of the elite cavalry. When Gallienus, the previous emperor was assassinated in 268 A.D. the army proclaimed Claudius II as his successor. At the time he was also thought to be behind the assassination attempt on Gallienus but as the aristocracy began to persecute the family of Gallienus it was Claudius II that ordered an end to the persecution and called for peace.

Shortly before Claudius' short reign the Roman empire had been partitioned into the main Roman empire that was made up of Italy, the Balkans, part of northern Africa and part of what is now modern day Turkey. The Gallic Empire, which was made up of France, Spain and what is now modern day England. As well as the Palmyrene Empire, which was primarily the middle east and Egypt. This partitioned empire was plagued with serious leadership problems. All three parts of the empire began separate paths with the other two partitions charting their own direction in defiance of the core Roman empire. All three empires dealt heavily with assassination attempts, different parties and armies claiming themselves the new emperor only to be killed in battle and replaced by another claimant. All three partitions also faced invasion from armies in Asia and the Germanic goths.

Claudius II Gothicus Coins
Claudius II Gothicus Coins | Source

Upon Claudius II Gothicus' ascension to emperor he began solidifying his hold on power and eliminating threats to the core of the empire. At the battle of Naissus he slaughtered a massive army of goths and took thousands of prisoners eventually causing the Goths to retreat across the Danube river. This stands as the greatest defeat ever of the Goths by the Romans. The goths would not again be a formidable opponent against the Roman empire until almost a century later. After all of his success against the Goths he earned the name, "Gothicus."

After defeating the Goths Claudius II Gothicus defended the empire from several other battles and regained Spain and part of Gaul from the Gallic empire. This would eventually lead to the core Roman empire retaking the Gallic Empire during the reign of emperor Aurelian.

It is generally believed that Claudius' beliefs were rooted in religion taken from the ancient Roman Sibylline books and that he differed from his predecessor, at least partially, in toleration of other religions such as Christianity.

Although it is difficult to identify the credibility of the source the Nuremberg Chronicle from the year 1493 speaks of Claudius II Gothicus encounter with Saint Valentine. As the story goes Saint Valentine was a Roman priest that was marrying Christians, he was brought before Claudius and condemned to death by the emperor. After being beaten Saint Valentine was beheaded. Again this could be more rooted in myth as little supporting evidence exists beyond this one chronicle written long after the actual history. Still, this did lead to the creation of Valentines Day which is actually celebrated in the priests memory.

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    • terrektwo profile image
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      Candle Hour 5 years ago from North America

      Lipnancy - no problem have been writing some articles on my interests lately :)

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I have a roman coin that I carry with me. Thanks for the information.

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