|Parents||Silvia Steiner (mother)|
When Archon Marcus Steiner slipped into a coma from a particularly virulent strain of meningitis in 2843, Marcus had not sired an heir or appointed a successor, triggering an immediate power struggle in the Commonwealth between Marcus's wife Melissa Nin, who believed she should become Archon-Designate, and Marcus's younger brother Leutnant-General Claudius Steiner, commander of the elite Second Lyran Guards, who immediately sent a message to Tharkad making it clear that the Archonship should pass to him:
|“||I am neither humble nor courteous and so will not couch my intent with flowery or eloquent phrases. Instead, hear me plain: I will kill anyone who challenges my claim to the Archonship, and I will torture anyone who supports any of my rivals for the throne.
The decision was left to the Estates General, which ultimately selected Melissa Nin despite her lack of political experience and Claudius's open threat, confirming her as Archon-Designate in December 2844, taking the throne immediately after Marcus finally died in early 2845. Her reign, the shortest of any Archon in Commonwealth history, lasted a mere five months before Claudius staged a coup, dropping units loyal to him onto Tharkad City and defeating elements of the defending 3rd Lyran Guards. After taking control of the capital, Claudius publicly executed Melissa Nin and Speaker of the Assembly for the Estates General's support of her, disbanding the body indefinitely.
Even after removing these immediate threats, Claudius continued to focus on consolidating his position and torturing those who dared oppose him rather than external threats, which worked in favor of the Draconis Combine and Free Worlds League's military plans and crippled the defense of many border worlds. One of the most notable was the prestigious 4th Royal Guards' failed defense of Caledonia. Thanks to a spy in their command staff, the Fourth's efforts to push back the Combine invasion were constantly stymied and pleas to Claudius for reinforcements from the unit's commanding officer Tiber Hinders and the LCAF high command were ignored as the Archon focused instead on torture and blood sports. The elite Fourth finally fell in 2848, having held on for seven long years.
Claudius finally became interested in the Fourth due to the efforts of the man who defeated them, Hugai Kurita, son of then Coordinator Yoguchi Kurita. Hugai tricked Colonel Tiber Hinders into dueling and killing his younger brother Michael before "humanely" executing him, ensuring to record and send the video to Claudius. Enraged by the insult, Claudius set in motion Operation PRAYING MANTIS, sending orders to a LIC deep cover agent known only as Snow Fire to assassinate Coordinator Yoguchi Kurita, sacrificing a priceless source of intelligence on Luthien to send an unmistakable message.
Death and Legacy
Claudius never saw Praying Mantis successfully completed, dying in 2849. While the official cause of death was a heart attack, many rumors indicate that members of the Steiner family forced him to drink poison. No matter the cause, his death set off another succession crisis, and one with parallels to the fall of the Star League.
Rebecca Morgan, convinced her husband's madness was caused by the position, refused to rule until their nine-year-old daughter Elizabeth was of legal age. Reconvening the Estates General, the body suggested the creation of a Triumvirate - three equal partners to rule until Elizabeth was old enough. While plagued by destructive infighting in the final four years, the Triumvirate actually served the nation well, helping to erase the horrors Claudius had inflicted while setting the stage for Elizabeth's rule.
Philosophical and/or political views
Bloodthirsty, sadistic and cruel, Claudius accepted no opposition to his will or rule. While some peg the cause of his lust for torture on the Steiners' genetic tendency towards Dobrowski Depression-A Syndrome, historical pathologists believe he actually lacked this trait.
- Second Succession War, p. 60
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 97: "Lyran Leadership Profile"
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 42: "History of the Lyran Alliance - Second Succession War (2830-2864) - Dark Succession"
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 59: "Claudius the Cruel"
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 61
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 43: "History of the Lyran Alliance - Second Succession War (2830-2864) - The Mantis Strikes"
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 62: "The Triumvirate"