The Illyrian Emperors
Restitutor Rei Publicae - Claudius Gothicus
The time of suffering was at an end for now. Even though its situation was dire and perplexing, Rome would once again arise out of the ashes that was fuelled by the tyranny of fools and murderers.
" Under the deplorable reigns of Valerian and Gallienus, the empire was oppressed and almost destroyed by the soldiers, the tyrants, and the Barbarians. It was saved by a series of great princes who derived their obscure origin from the martial provinces of Illyricum. Within a period of about thirty years, Claudius, Aurelian, Probus, Diocletian and his colleagues triumphed over the foreign and domestic enemies of the state, reestablished, with the military discipline, the strength of the frontiers, and deserved the glorious title of Restorers of the Roman world" Gibbon- Reign of Claudius, Defeat of the Goths
The age of conquerors was upon Rome, and also the beginning of the Late Roman epoch.
" The removal of an effeminate tyrant made way for a succession of heroes. The indignation of the people imputed all their calamities to Gallienus, and the far greater part were indeed the consequence of his dissolute manners and careless administration." Gibbon- Reign of Claudius, Defeat of the Goths
Gallienus's last action was his only selfless action in his life.
" Emcompassed by his declared or concealed enemies, he soon, amidst the nocturnal tumult, received a mortal dart from an uncertain hand. Before he expired, a patriotic sentiment rising in the mind of Gallienus induced him to name a deserving successor; and it was his last request that the Imperial ornaments should be delivered to Claudius, who then commanded a detached army in the neighborhood of Pavia. The report at least was diligently propagated and the order cheerfully obeyed by the conspirators, who had already agreed to place Claudius on the throne." Gibbon- Reign of Claudius, Defeat of the Goths
As for the history of Claudius, he was an Illyrian native who caught the eye of Decius. Claudius was recognized by the Senate for his merit and by the order of Valerian, made leader of the Illyrian bands, who engaged the barbarians so often with their superior discipline. Last but not least, he was given a statue before Gallienus death for the defeat of the Goths, which made Gallienus jealous because he could not do what his subject could with vigor or vigilance. As for Claudius's character, it can be observed in what he endeavored to accomplish, and in such a small amount of time, his accomplishments had such a reaching effect that for decades, the fall of the empire was delayed.
" In the arduous task which Claudius had undertaken of restoring the empire to its ancient splendor, it was first necessary to revive among his troops a sense of order and obedience. With the authority of a veteran commander, he represented to them that the relaxation of discipline had introduced a long train of disorders, the effects of which were at length experienced by the soldiers themselves; that a people ruined by oppression and indolent from despair could no longer supply a numerous army with the means of luxury, or even of subsistence; that the danger of each individual had increased with the despotism of the military order, since princes who tremble on the throne will guard their safety by the instant sacrifice of every obnoxious subject. The emperor expatiated on the mischiefs of a lawless caprice which the soldiers could only gratify at the expense of their own blood, as their seditious elections had so frequently been followed by civil wars which consumed the flower of the legions either in the field of battle or in the cruel abuse of victory. He painted in the most lively colors the exhausted state of the treasury, the desolation of the provinces, the disgrace of the Roman name, and the insolent triumph of rapacious Barbarians. It was against those Barbarians, he declared, that he intended to point the first efforts of their arms." Gibbon- Reign of Claudius, Defeat of the Goths
As for the results of the campaign, it was successor. All that remained of the Goths were a band of deprived men, who avoided the calculated wrath of disease and of the Romans. However.
" The pestilence which swept away such numbers of the Barbarians at length proved fatal to their conqueror. After a short but glorious reign of two years, Claudius expired at Sirmium, amidst the tears and acclamations of his subects. In his last illness, he convened the principal officers of the state and the army, and in their presence recommended Aurelian, one of his generals, as the most deserving of the throne, and the best qualified to execute the great design which he himself had been permitted only to undertake." Gibbon- Reign of Claudius, Defeat of the Goths
As for Claudius's character, he inherited all the virtues of Alexander and Marcus Aurelius and none of their faults. There is no blemish that I have read of except the catching of an illness that proved to be his greatest adversary. It is also worth noting, that the house of noble Constantius Chlorus, whose progeny produced the tyrants and the hero Julianus, was related to Claudius. Claudius had completed his main task, which was putting forth a program of reformation that would once again gave Rome supremacy in war.