A scholar and writer largely ignored by his illustrious relatives, Claudius became emperor, almost by accident, upon the death of his nephew Caligula. It had been wrongly assumed up to that point that Claudius was of weak mind and body, but it had taken considerable cleverness to survive the trials of family life among the Julio-Claudians. Once on the throne, Claudius proved to be a capable and thoughtful ruler. His reign, for which this superb Aureus is a fitting token, saw Rome rise to new heights of glory. The portrait it bears is an idealize3d image, but appropriated to the inner character of this most fascinating of Roman Emperors.