patrician and plebeian.
The patrician Claudii were of Sabine origin, and came to Rome in B. C. 504, when they were received among the patricians. [CLAUDIUS, No. 1.] The patrician Claudii bear various surnames, as Caecus, Caudex, Centho, Crassus, Pulcher, Regillensis,
the two latter of which, though applicable to all of the gens, were seldom used, when there was also a more definite cognomen.
But as these surnames did not mark distinct families, an account of all the patrician Claudii is given under CLAUDIUS, with the exception of those with the cognomen NERO, since they are better known under the latter name.
The surnames of the plebeian Claudii are ASELLUS, CANINA, CENTUMALUS, CICERO, FLAMEN, and MARCELLUS, of which the last is by far the most celebrated.
The patrician Claudii were noted for their pride and arrogance, and intense hatred of the commonalty. " That house during the course of centuries produced several very eminent, few great men; hardly a single noble-minded one.
In all ages it distinguished itself alike by a spirit of haughty defiance, by disdain for the laws, and iron hardness of heart." (Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 599.)
The praenomen Lucius was avoided after two of that name had dishonoured it, the one by robbery, the other by murder. (Sueton. Tib.
The honours and public offices borne by members of this gens are enumerated by Suetonius. (l.c.
) During the republic no patrician Claudius adopted one of another gens: the emperor Claudius was the first who broke through this custom by adopting L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, afterwards the emperor Nero. (Suet. Cl. 39
; Tac. Ann. 12.25