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His paternal grandparents were Livia, Augustus' third wife, and Tiberius Claudius Nero.

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.

When he returned to the narrative later in life, Claudius skipped over the wars of the second triumvirate altogether.

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Claudius was constantly forced to shore up his position; this resulted in the deaths of many senators.

These events damaged his reputation among the ancient writers, though more recent historians have revised this opinion.

In 9 BC, his father Drusus unexpectedly died on campaign in Germania, possibly from illness.

Claudius was then left to be raised by his mother, who never remarried.

However, by the time he reached his teenage years his symptoms apparently waned and his family took some notice of his scholarly interests.

In 7 AD, Livy was hired to tutor him in history, with the assistance of Sulpicius Flavus.

His 13-year reign (slightly longer than Nero's) would not be surpassed by any successors until that of Domitian.

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.

When Claudius' disability became evident, the relationship with his family turned sour.

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