Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus

Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus (died 42 BC) was a senator of the Roman Republic. He was born with the name Appius Claudius Pulcher, into the patrician family of the Claudii. According to Suetonius, Drusus was a direct descendant of the consul and censor Appius Claudius Caecus. He was descended from Caecus via the first Appius Claudius Pulcher, who was consul in 212 BC and Caecus's great-grandson. His daughter Livia became the wife of the first Roman Emperor Augustus, and he was a direct ancestor of the Julio-Claudian emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero not through this marriage, which produced no children, but through Livia's first marriage.

Early life

Little is known about the circumstances leading to Drusus's adoption as an infant by the tribune Marcus Livius Drusus. In accordance with convention, his name was changed from Appius Claudius Pulcher to Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus, in honour of his adoptive father.

Drusus married a woman of plebeian status called Aufidia; the daughter of a Roman magistrate called Marcus Aufidius Lurco. They had at least one child: a daughter Livia Drusilla (58 BC–29). He also adopted as his son Marcus Livius Drusus Libo. Livia was the first Roman Empress and third wife of the first Roman emperor Augustus and Livius Drusus would serve as a consul.


Drusus was praetor of Rome in 50 BC and presided over a court case brought under the Lex Scantinia. Caelius, writing to Cicero, seems to find the situation ironic.[1]

In 45 BC, Cicero had purchased gardens owned by Drusus in Rome. Drusus was a supporter of the Roman Republic and was among those who opposed the rule and dictatorship of Julius Caesar, assassinated in 44 BC by Brutus and Cassius.

In 42 BC, Drusus arranged for his daughter Livia to marry his kinsman Tiberius Claudius Nero, who became the parents of future Roman Emperor Tiberius and the general Nero Claudius Drusus. Through this second grandson, Drusus was a direct ancestor to the Roman Emperors Caligula, Claudius, and Nero.

Death and legacy

Drusus became a supporter of Brutus and Cassius and joined them in the war against Octavian and Mark Antony. The decision would have serious consequences for Drusus and for Livia’s family. He fought alongside Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC. When Brutus and Cassius were defeated, they committed suicide. Drusus killed himself in his tent to avoid being captured alive by the victors.

The poet Sextus Propertius [11.1.27], described the Battle of Philippi as "civilia busta" or "sepulchre of citizens". The 1st-century senator and historian Aulus Cremutius Cordus, glorified Brutus and Cassius in his history and described those who fought alongside Caesar’s assassins as the "last of the Romans".

Claudius dedicated an inscription to honor his ancestor on the Greek island of Samos. This surviving inscription in Greek, hails Drusus as the "origin of many great and good works for the world" or "megiston agathon aition…en toi kosmoi". Claudius also honoured Drusus with statues in Rome.


  1. T. Corey Brennan, The Praetorship in the Roman Republic (Oxford University Press, 2000), vol. 2, p. 459.


  • Fraschetti, Augusto (2001). Roman Women. University of Chicago Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-226-26094-5.
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