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The Imbecillitas of the Emperor Claudius

Ernestine F. Leon
Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association
Vol. 79 (1948), pp. 79-86
DOI: 10.2307/283354
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/283354
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Imbecillitas of the Emperor Claudius
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Abstract

A study of the physical handicaps which the historians ascribe to Claudius indicates, in the light of modern medicine, that he was a victim of cerebral palsy. Since this condition was not understood by the ancients and his defects were resented by the royal family, he was subjected to a despised and neglected childhood and youth. To compensate for this situation, though he undoubtedly possessed a good mind, he chose associates and developed habits which were looked on with disdain and held up to ridicule by his contemporaries and have been recorded in an unfavorable light by historians.

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