Britannicus was the son of the emperor Claudius and Messalina. He was born in A. D. 42 and was named Brittanicus in honor of Claudius' conquests in Britain. After Claudius had Messalina put to death for openly "marrying" one of her boyfriends and planning to put him on the throne, he married Agrippina the Younger. Nero was the son of Agrippina, and he became emperor upon the death of Claudius, probably because Britannicus was only twelve years old at the time. In 55, Nero had the youth murdered, probably because he wanted to eliminate a possible rival to the throne.
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