The gens Claudia was one of the oldest families in ancient Rome, and for centuries its members were regularly leaders of the city and empire.
The family was traditionally held to have begun with Attius Clausus, a Sabine who favored peace with Rome . This was an unpopular position that led to him leaving Regillus with his followers around 504 BC. Rome was welcoming however, making his followers citizens and giving them land, and making Appius Claudius Sabinus Inregillensis, as he was called in Latin, a senator. It is assumed that the name came from the Latin claudeo (to limp), as many of the family members were lame, probably from some congenital disorder.
Branches of the gens Claudia in the Early Republic
The following branches were descended from the first ancestor or founder Appius Claudius Sabinus
Branches of the gens Claudia in the Middle Republic
The following branches were descended from the censor Appius Claudius Caecus.
- Those with the cognomen Nero were prominent patrician senators during the late Republic; they favoured the praenomen Tiberius. The earliest notable Nero was Gaius Claudius Nero, consul in 207 BC and censor in 204 BC, notable for defeating Hasdrubal and his ongoing battle with his former commander and co-consul and co-censor Marcus Livius Salinator.
- Those Claudii with the cognomen Pulcher (fem. Pulchra, meaning "beautiful") were patricians and also very prominent in the Middle and Late Republic; they favoured the praenomina Appius (the only family to bear this praenomen) and Publius. The founder of this branch Publius Claudius Pulcher (consul 149 BC) offended Roman sensibilities by throwing the sacred chickens overboard (after they refused to feed), and later committed suicide ((249 BC/246 BC) after being forced from office as a result of the outcry. He appointed his own freedman Marcus Claudius Glicia as Dictator but the Senate refused to ratify the appointment. Pulcher was the son of Appius Claudius Caudex (consul 264 BC), himself son of Gaius Claudius, himself a son of Appius Claudius Caecus. His son was the first Appius Claudius Pulcher (d. 211 BC), who was consul in 212 BC).
- Those Claudii with the cognomen Marcellus (fem.Marcella, meaning martial) were plebeians. The first consul from this branch was a Marcus Claudius Marcellus in the fourth century BC. Their most famous member was Marcus Claudius Marcellus (killed 208 BC in an ambush), five times consul, including four times during the Second Punic War and the only historical Roman consul to win the spolia opima.
Branches of the gens Claudia in the Late Republic
There were several major branches of the Claudian gens at the end of the Republic.
- One obscure patrician branch of the family appears to have had no cognomen. A Lucius Claudius served as Rex Sacrorum in the mid-1st Century BC. He is doubly unusual, since "Lucius" is rare in any of the branches of the Claudii and unusual among patricians in general.
- Those with the cognomen Nero were prominent patrician senators during the late Republic; they favoured the praenomen Tiberius. However, the Neros joined the gens Julia when Tiberius Claudius Nero, the son of another Ti. Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla, daughter of Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus (himself born a member of the other main branch of the gens Claudia - the Claudii Pulchri) was adopted by Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus thus forming the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
- Those Claudii with the cognomen Marcellus (fem.Marcella, meaning martial) were plebeians. In the first century BC, this branch had three consuls in three successive years (51-49 BC; two brothers and their first cousin); they favoured the praenomina Gaius and Marcus. Gaius Claudius Marcellus (consul 49 BC) was married to Augustus' sister Octavia Minor and their son, Marcus, was married to Augustus' daughter, Julia the Elder. A sub-branch or off-shoot, whose antecedents are unclear, was additionally cognominated Aeserninus as in Marcus Claudius Marcellus Aeserninus.
- Those Claudii with the cognomen Pulcher (fem. Pulchra, meaning "beautiful") were patricians and also very prominent in the Middle and Late Republic; they favoured the praenomina Appius (the only family to bear this praenomen) and Publius. A plebeian offshoot of this family was created when a Publius Claudius Pulcher, youngest son of an Appius, had himself adopted by a plebeian (for political reasons) and was thereafter known as Publius Clodius. One of his sisters, Clodia, wife of her cousin Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer, also adopted this vulgar spelling. This branch however fell into obscurity with Clodius's death; his daughter Clodia was briefly married to Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, the future Augustus.
- As noted, some plebian Claudians used the gentilicium "Clodius."
- Claudia (and Clodia) were the forms used by women.
Notable members of the gens Claudia
- Appius Claudius Sabinus Inregillensis, founder, consul in 495 BC
- Appius Claudius Crassus, decemvir ca 450 BC, consul 445 BC
- Gaius Claudius, consul 454 BC (?)
- Appius Claudius P.f. Crassus Inregillensis, consul 349 BC
- Marcus Claudius C.f. Marcellus, consul 329 BC
- Appius Claudius Caecus, censor 312 BC consul 307 BC, 297 BC (or 296 BC)
- Marcus Claudius M.f. Marcellus, consul 288 BC
- Gaius Claudius M.f. Canina, consul 286 BC, 274 BC
- Appius Claudius Ap.f. Russus, consul 269 BC
- Appius Claudius Caudex, consul 264 BC
- Publius Claudius Pulcher, consul 249 BC, lost the battle of Drepana
- Gaius Claudius Ap.f. (Caecus f.?) Centho, consul 240 BC
- Marcus Claudius Marcellus, consul 222 BC, suffect 215 BC, 214 BC, 210 BC, 208 BC
- Quintus Claudius, tribune 218 BC
- Appius Claudius P.f. Pulcher, consul 212 BC
- Gaius Claudius Ti.f. Nero, consul 207 BC, won the battle of the Metaurus.
- Tiberius Claudius P.f. Nero, consul 202 BC
- Marcus Claudius M.f. Marcellus, consul 196 BC
- Appius Claudius Ap.f. Pulcher, consul 185 BC
- Publius Claudius Ap.f. Pulcher, consul 184 BC
- Marcus Claudius M.f. Marcellus, consul 183 BC
- Gaius Claudius Pulcher, consul 177 BC
- Marcus Claudius Marcellus, consul 166 BC, 155 BC, 152 BC
- Appius Claudius Pulcher, consul 144 BC (or 143 BC)
- Gaius Claudius Pulcher, consul 92 BC
- Appius Claudius Pulcher, consul 77 BC (or 79 BC?)
- Quintus Claudius Quadrigarius, historian
- Publius Clodius, tribune of the plebs 58 BC
- Appius Claudius Pulcher, consul 54 BC
- Marcus Claudius Marcellus, consul 51 BC
- Gaius Claudius Marcellus Major, consul 50 BC
- Gaius Claudius Marcellus Minor, consul 49 BC
Note: Consuls of 51 and 49 BC were brothers and first cousins to the consul of 50 BC.
- Appius Claudius Pulcher, consul 38 BC
- Marcus Claudius Marcellus, namesake of the Theatre of Marcellus, married to Augustus' daughter.
- Marcus Claudius Marcellus Aeserninus, consul 22 BC
- Tiberius Claudius Nero, father of the emperor Tiberius, praetor in 42 BC.
- Nero Claudius Drusus, consul 9 BC, father of the emperor Claudius I.
- Tiberius Claudius Nero (Tiberius), emperor
- Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus (Claudius I), emperor
- Tiberius Claudius Britannicus (Britannicus), son of the last
- Nero Claudius Drusus Caesar (Nero), emperor, first Claudian by adoption.
Note: Claudians after the death of Nero were most likely descended from freedmen of the Claudians, or men granted citizenship by Claudians.
- Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy), Greek astronomer
- Claudius Civilis, led a revolt in 69
- Lucius Catilius Severus Iulianus Claudius Reginus, consul 120
- Marcus Gavius Claudius Squilla Gallicanus, consul 127
- Lucius Uibullius Hipparchus Ti. Claudius Atticus Herodes, consul 143
- Gnaeus Claudius Severus Arabianus, consul 146
- Gnaeus Claudius Severus, consul 173
- Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus, consul 173
- Maternus Ti. Claudius, consul 185
- Tiberius Claudius Seuerus Proculus, consul 200
- Appius Claudius Iulianus, consul 224
- Claudius Pompeianust, consul 231
- Gnaeus Claudius Seuerus, consul 235
- Lucius Ti. Claudius Aurelius Quintianus, consul 235
- Claudius Aelianus (Aelian)
- Claudius Galenus (Galen), Greek physician
- Marcus Claudius Tacitus, emperor
- Titus Claudius M. Aurelius Aristobulus, consul 285
- Flavius Claudius Constantinus Caesar (Constantine II), emperor
- Flavius Claudius Julianus (Julian), emperor
- Claudius Mamertinus, consul 362
- Sextus Claudius Petronius Probus, consul 371
- Flauius Claudius Antonius, consul 382
- Claudius Claudianus (Claudian), poet
- Imp. Caesar Flavius Claudius Constantinus Augustus (Constantine III), usurper
- Claudius Iulius Eclesius Dynamius, consul 488