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Claudius, Chapter 3: Claudius as a young man.
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|He applied himself, however, from an early age, with great assiduity to the study of the liberal sciences, and frequently published specimens of his skill in each of them. But never, with all his endeavours, could he attain to any public post in the government, or afford any hope of arriving at distinction thereafter. His mother, Antonia, frequently called him: " an abortion of a man, that had only been begun, but never finished, by nature.". And when she would upbraid any one with dullness, she said, "He was a greater fool than her son Claudius." His grandmother, Augusta, always treated him with the utmost contempt, very rarely spoke to him, and when she did admonish him upon any occasion, it was in writing, very briefly and severely, or by messengers. His sister, Livilla, upon hearing that he was about to be created emperor, openly and loudly expressed her indignation that the Roman people should experience a fate so severe and so much below their grandeur. To exhibit the opinion, both favourable and otherwise, entertained concerning him by Augustus, his great-uncle, I have here subjoined some extracts from the letters of that emperor.||Disciplinis tamen liberalibus ab aetate prima non mediocrem operam dedit ac saepe experimenta cuiusque etiam publicavit. Verum ne sic quidem quicquam dignitatis assequi aut spem de se commodiorem in posterum facere potuit. Mater Antonia portentum eum hominis dictitabat, nec absolutum a natura, sed tantum incohatum; ac si quem socordiae argueret, stultiorem aiebat filio suo Claudio. Avia Augusta pro despectissimo semper habuit, non affari nisi rarissime, non monere nisi acerbo et brevi scripto aut per internuntios solita. Soror Livilla cum audisset quandoque imperaturum, tam iniquam et tam indignam sortem p. R. palam et clare detestata est. Nam avunculus maior Augustus quid de eo in utramque partem opinatus sit, quo certius cognoscatur, capita ex ipsius epistulis posui.|