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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)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,330114622 (4.28)294
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. 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. 11
    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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» See also 294 mentions

English (99)  Spanish (6)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (114)
Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
I read this for a group read of a Historical Fiction group on Leafmarks, and I gotta say, it's got me beat. I figured it would take 2 months instead of the scheduled one month to read it, but it just. kept. going. on. And I kept trying to keep up with the characters, who was married to whom, who was killed by Augustus' wife Livia, how they were all related, but really, after a while, I just stopped caring. I bought it in the early 90's and made it most of the way through it, but this time, I'm sending it off through BookCrossing to find another home. ( )
  threadnsong | Jul 4, 2016 |
Superb fictional history of the first four Roman Emperors, as told by the fourth, Claudius, who was long thought to be a half-wit. The basis for the first part of the Masterpiece Theater series starring Derek Jacobi. Followed by the sequel, Claudius The God. ( )
  unclebob53703 | May 28, 2016 |
“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 |
Showing 1-5 of 99 (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
 

» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Graves, Robertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mazía, FlorealTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Becomes emperor
with death of Caligula.
Where have good times gone?
(leboeuf)

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 7 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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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141188596, 0143566393

 

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