I, Claudius

I, Claudius

From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B. C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54

Book - 1989
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Considered an idiot because of his physical infirmities, Claudius survived the intrigues and poisonings of the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and the Mad Caligula to become emperor in 41 A.D. A masterpiece.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1989, c1961
Edition: Vintage international ed
ISBN: 9780679724773
067972477X
Branch Call Number: GRAVES R
PR6013.R35 I2 1989
Characteristics: x, 468 p. ; 21 cm

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t
TheeAvebury
Oct 07, 2017

This was an engaging novel from the start--humorous, dramatic and skillfully written. Despite the long list of historical characters living out their lives in these pages, the story is easy to follow. From the witty narrator who hides his intelligence behind a stutter, to an assortment of unscrupulous schemers, power-mad emperors and doomed heros--Graves' cast of vibrant characters are certainly memorable. For anyone interested in the period after fall of the Roman Republic, or just in an engrossing read full of rich and interesting characters, I would highly recommend this book.

t
tjdickey
Jul 16, 2017

Still a classic of historical fiction after decades of the genre. Graves offers a skillful and engaging portrait of the young (and old) Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, existing in a world of political intrigue, murder (four poisonings in his family during Claudius' first decade of life??), madness (Caligula, say no more), and the high life of the Imperial Roman first family. The author even manages to mimic the cadences of Claudius' scholarly Latin, and works in more than enough historical detail and quotations from the literature of the time, without losing any of his own dry British wit and humor.

i
isaachar
Jun 28, 2017

Political intrigue, scandal, murder, betrayal and dry british humor told from the perspective of the Roman Emperor and self-described historian Claudius as he awaits his inevitable death. I really enjoyed this book. Particularly the audiobook version (told in the form of an audio drama). The book is like a Roman Game of Thrones, with less overt violence and a lot more humor. As is mentioned in the book, the story should be called "Poor, Poor Claudius". Before he was Emperor, Claudius spent most of his life being considered the family fool. He was extremely intelligent, but his being born with a physical disability, his tendency to stutter, and his bookishness lead his family to consider him useless. And that's when they considered him at all. As a result of being far flung from any potential inheritance of power, Claudius witnessed the rise and fall of his family from a mostly (but not entirely) safe distance. He watches his family slowly destroy itself with infighting, until a coup gone wrong unexpectedly results in his becoming Emperor. And that was just the beginning of his problems.

I, Claudius is a fun read that I would recommend to fans of history and political drama. I'm no historian, but I would assume it probably is not very accurate. Even still, it was an fun read.

a
ANTHONYZEDAN
Sep 29, 2016

A glimpse into the drama of Roman intrigues and conspiracies within the Imperial family, full of jealousy, murder, slander, plots and unbridled paranoia and even madness told from the sickly and stuttering grandson of the Emperor Augustus and his wife, Livia. The young Claudius aspires to chronicle his grandmother's intrigues in intricate detail.

bibliotechnocrat Jun 03, 2015

Graves conversational style for this "autobiography" of Claudius is perfect, and perfectly intimate - it's as if he's chatting away over all these centuries, telling the story of how he became emperor. His stammer and lameness result in his being underestimated by all, allowing him to make his sharp observations from just off-stage. And what a stage it is: Augustus and his power-mad wife Livia, the cruel Tiberius, and then insane Caligula, not to mention a host of other interesting personalities. It's the story of Rome's descent into a kind of Stalinism, and it is a great read.

e
Eosos
Aug 17, 2014

I am a fan of anything to do with the Roman Empire. I find it endlessly fascinating how much of their systems of law and politics we continue to use and the amount of their language that is still a part of our lives.

As the intention must obviously have been, seeing as the point of view is from Claudius writing a history, this book is heavy on the facts and chronicles of events. Though it is written with a personal opinion on the characters, as Claudius is their contemporary.

I found the style of story very successful. It was engrossing and captivating, however I did find myself getting a little confused about the family tree after a bit. Definitely a great way to soak up a little information about the Romans and while away a few afternoons of summer.

l
lukasevansherman
Jun 22, 2014

One of the first and best examples of historical fiction from the English poet, translator, and novelist Robert Graves. Written as the autobiography of Claudius, who later became emperor, it is set during the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and the notorious Caligula. Graves presumes some knowledge of Roman history and it can be difficult to follow at times, but its intrigues, plots, and larger than life characters are gripping and actually have a little something in common with "Game of Thrones." The basis for the acclaimed miniseries. Followed by "Claudius the God."

j
jkrejci
Aug 26, 2012

Tough sledding at times, but well worth it. It can be a bit dense, but is informative and mostly quite engaging. The descriptions of Caligula's depravity were especially riveting.

aaa5756 Jun 14, 2011

A++ for I, Claudius a must read!!

mistermink Jun 13, 2011

Don't miss the sequel "Claudius the God". Both books were the inspiration for the 11-part Masterpiece Theatre adaptation on public television.

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FavouriteFiction Sep 30, 2009

Augustus Caesar's wife Livia carefully manipulates events to ensure her son Tiberius will become emperor. The fictional autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, emperor of the Romans, born B.C. 10, murdered and deified A.D. 54.

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