The first-century emperor Claudius did not leave the fledgling Roman Empire as he had found it: his contribution was to turn its developing institutions into an imperial tradition. But the ancient sources represent him as an odd personality - active but manipulated by his inferiors, at once distracted and awkward and cruel. Suetonius' biography is a rich offering of both solid fact and the prejudicial anecdotes that his contemporaries and the generation that followed thought worth repeating, raw material for exploring the man and his reign. This commentary provides context for the text's abundant information, but form is not neglected, and attention is given to Suetonius' intelligent and conscious marshalling of his material, and guidance offered to students reading the biographer's often densely compressed style. This is the first English commentary on the Claudius Life to deal with both historical and stylistic issues.