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I, Claudius by Robert Graves
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I, Claudius (original 1934; edition 1969)

by Robert Graves

Series: Claudius (1)

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5,82399727 (4.27)269
Member:justjim
Title:I, Claudius
Authors:Robert Graves
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1969), Edition: New Impression, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Historical fiction

Work details

I, Claudius by Robert Graves (1934)

  1. 90
    Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar (bertilak)
  2. 20
    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
    Homer's Daughter by Robert Graves (longway)
  5. 10
    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)
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    The Egyptian by Mika Waltari (mcenroeucsb)
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    Pride of Carthage: A Novel of Hannibal by David Anthony Durham (mcenroeucsb)
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    Tiberius by Allan Massie (celtic)
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    An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire, 54 BC - AD 409 by David Mattingly (John_Vaughan)
  10. 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.
  11. 14
    I, Claudius [Videorecording] by Herbert Wise (longway)
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English (86)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All languages (99)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
I loved, loved, loved this book! Claudius, grandnephew of Augustus Caesar, a stutterer, a gimp, thought to be an idiot--tells his story, and that of his grandmother Livia (Augustus Caesar's last wife) and granduncle Augustus Ceasar, as well as his uncle Tiberius Caesar's and his nephew Caligula's lives and reigns. And what an amazing, horrific, exciting, unbelievable story it is. Modern-day politics and scandals are nothing compared to Rome in all its glory. I vaguely remember (I was in high school then) that there was a PBS series based on "I, Claudius" starring Derek Jacobi during the 1970s. I would love to see this series, and see what the makers of the series "Rome" would do with this novel in the present. ( )
  Marse | Aug 24, 2014 |
A good balance of historical fiction and action, with a misunderstood historian-emperor at its center. Claudius, lame and a stutterer, naturally retreats to his books, but this is where some of the best character building shines through (especially the two scenes with Livy). The contrast with Caligula couldn't be more extreme, and it is amazing to think than anything resembling this ever really happened. ( )
  albertgoldfain | Jul 25, 2014 |
I liked this book because the author seemed to understand what it was like to be a reluctant Caesar in Roman times. So this book appealed to me because I understand what it would be like to be an absolute leader.

Robert Graves is a superlative writer and can really turn a phrase when he had to.

As usual, I listened to a reading of this book from Audible.com. The reader did a terrific job of portraying the characters and the lisp Claudius had (but without disturbing the listener). ( )
  Benedict8 | Jul 16, 2014 |
Born with a leg that caused him to limp all of his life as well as a speech impediment whereby he stuttered most everything he spoke, Claudius was considered by most of his family and by the populace in general to be an idiot. This was not the case—he was actually very intelligent, received a fine education, and wrote a number of histories on various topics: the Etruscans, the Carthaginians, etc. Surrounding him were duplicitous and treacherous family members who had one another killed (poisoning was a common means of killing off rival family members). The story is told as if Claudius had left behind an autobiography detailing his life (which he did not). It is rich in details which give some idea of how Claudius might have lived. ( )
1 vote bibliostuff | Mar 20, 2014 |
Was a tough read but well worth it. ( )
  Ginerbia | Feb 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
. . . 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.

TACITUS
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:00 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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Audible.com

Four editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141188596, 0143566393

 

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