In the early days of the New Testament church, there was a prophet named Agabus in Antioch of Syria. He “stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius” (Acts 11:28). Claudius reigned AD 41-54. Claudius was Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus.
He is again mentioned in Acts 18:2-3. The context is that of Paul’s labor of preaching the Gospel in Corinth:
And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers.
This edict which expelled the Jews from Rome was issued in AD 49.
In his book, The Roman Emperors, Michael Grant writes:
Claudius, we are told by the biographer Suetonius, was completely heterosexual–a rare phenomenon among Roman rulers. He was tall and well build and had an impressive face and handsome white hair. However, he also stammered, slobbered, ran at the nose, suffered from a persistent nervous tic, and frequently ate and drank himself into a stupor. He slept badly at night, but during the daytime would often nod off while presiding over a lawsuit. Pliny the elder added that the corners of his eyes were covered by hoods of flesh, streaked with small veins and sometimes suffused with blood (p.33).
Not the most complimentary of descriptions. We have an earlier article w/photos re: Roman Emperors during the Gospels and Acts here. Click image for larger view.