Claudius, (Marcus Aurklius,) surnamed Goth'icus,
an emperor of Rome, was born in Illyricum in 214
a.d. After having a high command under Valerian, he
was proclaimed emperor by the army at the death of
Gallicnus, in 268. The senate confirmed this choice.
The same year he defeated the rebel Aureolus in battle.
In 269 he gained a decisive victory over the Goths or
Scythians near Nissa, in Servia, and assumed the name of
Gothicus. He died of an epidemic disease at Sirmium
in 270, leaving a good reputation for virtue and talents.
His brother, Quintilius, was proposed as his successor ;
but the army preferred Aurelian.
" Claudius." in the" Historia Augusta;"
Tii.i.HMnNT, "'Histoire des Emjjereurs."
Marcus Aurelius Claudius (May 10, 213 – January, 270), commonly known as Claudius II or Claudius Gothicus, was
Roman Emperor from 268 to 270. During his reign he fought successfully against the Alamanni and scored a crushing
victory against the Goths at the Battle of Naissus.
Origin and rise to power -
Claudius' origin is uncertain. He was either from Sirmium (Syrmia; in Pannonia Inferior) or from Naissus Dardania
(in Moesia Superior); both areas are located in Serbia.
Claudius was the commander of the Roman army that decisively defeated the Goths at the Battle of Naissus in
September 268; in the same month, he attained the throne, amid charges, never proven, that he murdered his
predecessor Gallienus. However, he soon proved to be less than bloodthirsty, as he asked the Roman Senate to spare
the lives of Gallienus' family and supporters. He was less magnanimous toward Rome's enemies, however, and it was
to this that he owed his popularity.
Claudius, like Maximinus Thrax before him, was of barbarian birth. After an interlude of failed aristocratic Roman
emperors since Maximinus's death, Claudius was the first in a series of tough soldier-emperors who would eventually
restore the Empire from the Crisis of the third century.
Claudius as emperor
At the time of his accession, the Roman Empire was in serious danger from several incursions, both within and
outside its borders. The most pressing of these was an invasion of Illyricum and Pannonia by the Goths. Not long
after being named emperor (or just prior to Gallienus' death, depending on the source), he won his greatest
victory, and one of the greatest in the history of Roman arms.
At the Battle of Naissus, Claudius and his legions routed a huge Gothic army. Together with his cavalry commander,
the future Emperor Aurelian, the Romans took thousands of prisoners, destroyed the Gothic cavalry as a force and
stormed their laager (a circular alignment of wagons long favored by the Goths). The victory earned Claudius his
surname of "Gothicus" (conqueror of the Goths), and that is how he is known to this day. More importantly, the
Goths were soon driven back across the Danube River, and a century passed before they again posed a serious threat
to the empire.
While this was going on, the Germanic tribe known as the Alamanni had crossed the Alps and attacked the empire.
Claudius responded quickly, routing the Alamanni at the Battle of Lake Benacus in the late fall of 268, a few
months after the battle of Naissus. He then turned on the Gallic Empire, ruled by a pretender for the past fifteen
years and encompassing Britain, Gaul, and the Iberian Peninsula. He won several victories and soon regained control
of Spain and the Rhone river valley of Gaul. This set the stage for the ultimate destruction of the Gallic Empire
However, Claudius did not live long enough to fulfill his goal of reuniting all the lost territories of the empire.
Late in 269 he was preparing to go to war against the Vandals, who were raiding in Pannonia. However, he fell
victim to the Plague of Cyprian (possibly smallpox), and died early in January 270. Before his death, he is thought
to have named Aurelian as his successor, although Claudius' brother Quintillus briefly seized power.
The Senate immediately deified Claudius as "Divus Claudius Gothicus".
Links to Constantinian dynasty -
The Historia Augusta reports Claudius and Quintillus having another brother named Crispus and through him a niece.
Said niece Claudia reportedly married Eutropius and was mother to Constantius Chlorus. Historians however suspect
this account to be a genealogical fabrication intended to link Constantine I's family to that of a well-respected
Saint Valentine -
Claudius Gothicus has been linked to Saint Valentine at least since the Middle Ages. According to the Nuremberg
Chronicle of 1493 AD, the emperor martyred the Roman priest during a general persecution of Christians. The text
states that St. Valentine was beaten with clubs and finally beheaded for giving aid to Christians in Rome.  The
Golden Legend of 1260 AD recounts how St. Valentine refused to deny Christ before the "Emperor Claudius" in 280 AD
and as a result was beheaded. Some 20th century historians have questioned these medieval accounts, claiming that
references to St. Valentine are very scanty in old historical records and many of the accounts of the life of the
saint appear to have originated with Geoffrey Chaucer. There is very little evidence that Claudius II reversed
Gallienus's policy of toleration for Christians, either.