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I, Claudius by Robert Graves

I, Claudius (1934)

by Robert Graves

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Claudius (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,241112649 (4.28)293
  1. 90
    Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar (bertilak)
  2. 40
    Julian by Gore Vidal (CurrerBell)
    CurrerBell: Both classical Roman subjects, and they share the style of an "autobiographical novel."
  3. 20
    Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz (sirparsifal)
  4. 20
    Augustus: First Emperor of Rome by Adrian Goldsworthy (CurrerBell)
    CurrerBell: I, Claudius can be at times be a bit weird (maybe "overly romanticized" would be a better description). Goldsworthy's biography can be a good corrective, at least for the first half of I, Claudius (the portion dealing with the lifetime of Augustus), and definitely presents a different (and probably much more balanced) image of Livia, the long-time wife of Augustus.… (more)
  5. 20
    Homer's Daughter by Robert Graves (longway)
  6. 10
    The Egyptian by Mika Waltari (mcenroeucsb)
  7. 10
    Salammbô by Gustave Flaubert (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Historical fiction set in the Classical Mediterranean
  8. 11
    Pride of Carthage: A Novel of Hannibal by David Anthony Durham (mcenroeucsb)
  9. 11
    Tiberius by Allan Massie (celtic)
  10. 11
    An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire, 54 BC - AD 409 by David Mattingly (John_Vaughan)
  11. 34
    I, Claudius [1976 TV miniseries] by Herbert Wise (longway)
  12. 12
    Empire by Steven Saylor (JGolomb)
    JGolomb: "I, Claudius" is the standard bearer for Imperial Roman fiction. It's more richly detailed and emotional than Saylor, but comparable it's broad historical scope.

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English (97)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (112)
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
“I was thinking, "So, I’m Emperor, am I? What nonsense! But at least I'll be able to make people read my books now.”

Those of us of a certain age will have at least heard of if not watched the wonderful 1976 adaptation of this book which is the first of two chronicling how Claudius, the limping, stuttering grandson of Caesar Augustus outlived all of his contemporaries to become Emperor. He is a sly, even bitchy, observer of the events of the time, of the bloodlusts and hubris of the Roman empire.A member of a ruthless and murderous imperial family, he survives because he seems the least consequential twig of the family tree.

This was a time when a cruel and debauched ruling class, in whom hysteria and madness were never far below the surface.Much of the earlier part of the novel revolves around the evil machinations of Livia, third wife of Augustus, her lust for power at any cost, her aim to have her son Tiberius succeed as emperor and so rule through him.

Tiberius when he comes to the throne rules by fear and revels in debauchery but it is not until he is succeeded by Caligula (who was surely not as insane as the author will have us believe) that the fun really begins. This section of the book with its excesses was for me the most enjoyable, so much so I was almost sorry when he was assassinated.

However, this also show Graves's real sense of irony as the narrative moves rapidly from the brutal killing of the crazed Caligula, who firmly believes he is divine even while his limbs are being hacked off, to the aftermath with the German bodyguards clamouring for vengeance on the killers, to the discovery of the terrified Claudius hiding behind a curtain, and his acclamation as the new emperor. The scrambled killing, the disordered movement as the Guards search out the conspirators, the grotesque comedy of the trembling Claudius borne aloft, represent together a sustained triumph of narrative.

I found this a little slow to get going but once it did I found it a very enjoyable read and as such say that it is well worth sticking with. On to Claudius the God next. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Mar 16, 2016 |
Brilliant! I confess I had moments of despair while reading account after account of disgusting acts of murder, etc. but Robert Graves does an excellent job of giving the reader the feeling this is a true, contemporary account of ancient Rome. The narrator, the disabled, stuttering but intelligent Claudius, is thoroughly likeable and one cheers for him all the way through the book. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
Graves writes a historical novel like no other. The voice he provides his central character is perfect for conveying a uniquely personal take on things. And also provides us with wonderful insight into the psychology of an emperor. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Loved the book and loved the series even more. ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
3.5 stars

This book is a celebrated work about one of my favourite subjects, Ancient Rome. It is almost universally lauded and praised, and has been consistently very popular since it's publication in the early 1940s. I was therefore very disappointed that, unfortunately, for the most part it didn't work for me. The 3.5 stars are entirely in recognition of the vast amount of historical material that went into this book, clearly the author knew his stuff. However, I did have problems with the way it was presented. The narrative was excellent, but in contrast the dialog was somethimes quite flat and unnatural. Also, a story set in Ancient Rome should (for my liking) contain some latin words, salutations and expressions to set the tone. Even if you're not familiar with the language it's usually easy to understand and if not, one could include a glossary. In the same vein, the author has chosen to use contemporary names for countries and cities, "for the sake of clarity". A historical map would have provided that clarity; e.g. France is not Gaul, it simply sounds wrong in that context and conjures up a completely different picture.

I liked the idea of an autobiography written by Claudius (or anybody), but Claudius often becomes an all-knowing observer, not so much someone writing his memoirs.

Like I said, this is a hugely popular book and my opinion is bound to be the exeption - I guess it just wasn't for me. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
Supuesta "autobiografía" de Claudio, singular emperador romano predestinado a serlo a pesar de que sus deseos fueran por otros caminos. Graves dibuja sin concesiones un espeluznante retrato sobre la depravación, las sangrientas purgas y las intrigas cainitas llevadas hasta el crimen durante los reinados de Augusto y Tiberio. Pero Yo, Claudio es también Calígula y su etapa sádica, Mesalina, Livia y, cómo no, Roma, un decorado único para esta trama argumental apasionante que se llevó a la pequeña pantalla con rotundo éxito.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia

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Graves, Robertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mazía, FlorealTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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. . . A story that was the subject of every variety of misrepresentation, not only by those who then lived but likewise in succeeding times: so true is it that all transactions of pre-eminent importance are wrapt in doubt and obscurity; while some hold for certain facts the most precarious hearsays, others turn facts into falsehood; and both are exaggerated by posterity.

First words
I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as "Claudius the Idiot", or "That Claudius", or "Claudius the Stammerer", or "Clau-Clau-Claudius" or at best as "Poor Uncle Claudius", am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the "golden predicament" from which I have never since become disentangled.
You refuse to see that one can no more reintroduce republican government at this stage than one can reimpose primitive feelings of chastity on modern wives and husbands. It's like trying to turn the shadow back on a sundial: it can't be done.
Tiberius will make him his successor. No question of it. Why? Because Tiberius is like that. He has the same vanity as poor Augustus had: he can't bear the idea of a successor who will be more popular than himself. But at the same time he does all he can to make himself hated and feared. So, when he feels that his time's nearly up, he'll search for someone just a little worse than himself to succeed him. And he'll find Caligula.
Germanicus has told me about you. He says that you are loyal to three things—to your friends, to Rome, and to the truth. I would be very proud if Germanicus thought the same of me.
To recommend a monarchy on account of the prosperity it gives the provinces seems to me like recommending that a man should have liberty to treat his children as slaves, if at the same time he treats his slaves with reasonable consideration.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067972477X, Paperback)

Having never seen the famous 1970s television series based on Graves' historical novel of ancient Rome and being generally uneducated about matters both ancient and Roman, I wasn't prepared for such an engaging book. But it's a ripping good read, this fictional autobiography set in the Roman Empire's days of glory and decadence. As a history lesson, it's fabulous; as a novel it's also wonderful. Best is Claudius himself, the stutterer who let everyone think he was an idiot (to avoid getting poisoned) but who reveals himself in the narrative to be a wry and likable observer. His story continues in Claudius the God.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:29 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The emperor Claudius tells of his life during the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula and the events that led to his rise to power in a classic novel reconstructing ancient Rome.

» see all 13 descriptions

Legacy Library: Robert Graves

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Average: (4.28)
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1.5 4
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3 132
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4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141188596, 0143566393


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