It Is Generally Accepted That Agrippina Was Responsible For Claudius' Death. Discuss This Statement With Reference To Sources

788 words - 4 pages

Claudius died on the 13th October 54AD. This is the one fact about his death which can be proved by corroborating evidence, however when it comes to the manner in which he died or who was responsible for it the sources become less reliable.Two ancient historians, Tacitus and Suetonius, both concur that Claudius was murdered by poison which was administered through an elaborate orchestration of Agrippina's. Tacitus and Suetonius also agree on Agrippina's motive for murdering Claudius and the prefect timing of it all too. It is their belief that Agrippina was a conniving and overly-ambitious woman who was determined that her son Nero be the next Emperor. They state that she had taken many ...view middle of the document...

He writes that it was administered by a eunuch named Halotus who tasted the emperor's food, and that he sprinkled it on a mushroom. This did not work however, and Tacitus then goes on to say that Agrippina had secured the complicity of the emperor's doctor, Xenophon, who, while pretending to help Claudius vomit, put a feather dipped in a quick poison down his throat which finally caused his death. Tacitus avoids making this account out as an absolute truth, by saying that it is what 'contemporary writers stated.'Suetonius admits that the question of how the poison was dispensed is a matter off conjecture and puts forward uncertain ideas with the prefix of 'most people think.'One of these ideas is that the poison was administered by the Eunuch Halotus while Claudius was dining with the priests at the Citadel, another is that Agrippina did so herself at a family banquet. Suetonius also goes on to relate the discrepancies in the accounts of what happened next.Some modern historians however have considered the ancient writers, and view the death of...

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