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the grandson of Augustus and Livia; the son of Antonia and Drusus. Also referred to as "Claudius the Idiot," "Claudius the Stammerer," and "Clau-Clau-Claudius," Claudius is the clear protagonist of the text. He is also presented as the historical author of the text, which he claims to have written nineteen hundred years ago in an effort to benefit posterity. Plagued with illness as a young child, Claudius has a heavy stammer, a limp, several nervous tics, and other physical defects. As such, he has a reputation in his family as a harmless idiot and is able to secretly discover the truth behind the political plots and intrigues of the time. By playing up his stammer and limp, Claudius is able to survive the reigns of three emperors and unwillingly becomes emperor himself after Caligula's assassination.