Claudius, ancient Roman gens. Appius Claudius Sabinus Inregillenis or Regillensis was a Sabine; he came (c.504 B.C.) with his tribe to Rome. While consul (495), his severe interpretation of the laws of debt caused the temporary emigration of the general citizenry (the plebs, as distinct from the patricians) to the sacred mount, a hill NE of Rome. His Sabine name was Attius Clausus. Appius Claudius Crassus was a decemvir (451–449 B.C.), one of ten men appointed to codify Roman law. Although originally a strong opponent of the plebeians, he later sought to placate them and became known as a lawgiver. His career, however, ended in failure. Legend says that his attempt to rape Virginia caused a revolt in which he was killed and which led to the fall of the decemvirs. Appius Claudius Caecus, while censor (312–308 B.C.), increased the role taken by the lower classes in public affairs. He was consul (307 and 296) and later persuaded the senate to reject the peace proposals of Pyrrhus. He constructed the first Roman aqueduct and began construction of the Appian Way. Publius Claudius Pulcher, while consul (249 B.C.), attacked the Carthaginian fleet at Drepanum and was defeated. It was believed that he was defeated because he threw the sacred chickens, which refused to eat before the battle, into the sea. Appius Claudius Pulcher, d. c.48 B.C., campaigned in Asia (72 B.C.). He became praetor (57 B.C.), propraetor in Sardinia (56 B.C.), consul (54 B.C.), and proconsul of Cilicia (53 B.C.). He sought through Pompey the assistance of his rival Cicero to secure his acquittal from impeachment for bribery. He joined Pompey in the civil war and died in Euboea before the battle at Pharsalus. For Publius Claudius Pulcher, see Clodius.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient History, Rome: Biographies