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I, Claudius (1934)

by Robert Graves

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Claudius (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,940164850 (4.25)422
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.
  1. 120
    Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar (bertilak)
  2. 50
    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. 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)
  6. 20
    Augustus by John Williams (rahkan)
  7. 10
    The Egyptian by Mika Waltari (mcenroeucsb)
  8. 21
    Salammbô by Gustave Flaubert (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Historical fiction set in the Classical Mediterranean
  9. 10
    The Annals of Tacitus by P. Cornelius Tacitus (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Non-fiction view into the same period, and a probable reference for Mr. Graves.
  10. 10
    History of the Twelve Caesars by Suetonius (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Robert Graves produced a well-regarded translation of Suetonius, and it is a primary source for discerning fact from fiction in his Claudius novels.
  11. 11
    Tiberius by Allan Massie (celtic)
  12. 11
    An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire, 54 BC - AD 409 by David Mattingly (John_Vaughan)
  13. 11
    Pride of Carthage: A Novel of Hannibal by David Anthony Durham (mcenroeucsb)
  14. 44
    I, Claudius [1976 TV miniseries] by Herbert Wise (longway)
  15. 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.
1930s (46)

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» See also 422 mentions

English (144)  Spanish (9)  Italian (2)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (2)  Hungarian (1)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (163)
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
4.25/5 ⭐️'s. After January 6, 2021, I truly feared for our country and its democracy. I naively thought that I had witnessed humankind at its worst ... until I read about ancient Rome and the Julio-Claudian dynasty. No wonder this line only lasted until Nero: death by beheading, poison, debauchery of all kinds ... a fascinating yet violent read. I'll have to read CLAUDIUS THE GOD now to see how he turns out as emperor. ( )
  crabbyabbe | Sep 11, 2023 |
  archivomorero | May 21, 2023 |
This is a fictional biography, although filled with actual events. Robert Graves gave Claudius a voice and personality - and what a personality! Intrigues and depravity were frequent but a speech impediment and physical handicap made Claudius appear innocuous, an unappealing target. He took to writing a history that made this into a gossipy journal that would give modern scandal sheets a run for their money. Reading it reminded me of a tv series I loved of the same name featuring Derek Jacobi and William Hurt that was broadcast a few decades ago. Excellent reading. ( )
  VivienneR | May 7, 2023 |
Well, I think this was a situation where my expectations were sky high, and they were not realized. I've watched the mini series, based on this book, twice, and I really enjoyed. Plus, it is epic historical fiction, which usually I love (James Michener fan here). I just felt this book could have been so much more.

In my mind, Graves is just not a good storyteller. The book is narrated by Claudius, who was born into the leading family of the Roman Empire, and who happens to be considered mentally handicapped because of his physical infirmities and speech impediments. As it turns out, Claudius is quite clever and a student of history, and he manages to survive a time period filled with the absolutely most heinous plots, banishments, poisonings, etc. etc.

For all the MANY exciting things that happen in this book, I didn't feel like Graves brought it to life successfully. It was so much of a narrative. Telling, not showing, the reader what happened. There were so many characters that without a family tree it was easy to get lost. And I've seen the mini series! And I downloaded a family tree - - which still didn't cover about a third of the characters mentioned.

What I did like is that the book did give a strong picture of what life was like in the Roman Empire at that time - - it made me more interested to pick up a true history book on the time period.

The last quarter of the book seemed like someone else wrote it to me. It focused on the rule of Caligula, and suddenly the storytelling became a lot better and more compelling, and it mostly followed one person - - which made it a lot easier to absorb.

I wanted to love this book - - maybe I wanted to love it too much. As a result, it was just okay for me. I recommend watching the mini series instead! ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
  archivomorero | Feb 13, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
Young Claudius is such an unlikely protagonist, and the story covers his childhood as the family embarrassment, with a stammer and a limp. Readers know from the start that he’s going to become emperor, there’s not really any suspense on that account, but what a ridiculously wild route. Claudius survives the reigns of Augustus (and Livia), Tiberius, and then insane Caligula, and is finally appointed to Imperial power, despite his not-so-secret republican leanings and basically his best efforts to stay away from becoming emperor. I’ve read this book 5 or 6 times now, and every time I notice another historical detail.

I, Claudius reimagines historical figures as complicated characters, and retells actual events with Claudius’ commentary and spin. It’s this compelling mix of careful research and details from Suetonius, and scenes that, well, no Roman historian said it DIDN’T happen that way, so why not?
It is not enough for us to form any judgment of his merits as a historian or his qualities as a stylist. It is Graves that gives him a voice, and what a voice it is, garrulous, digressive, spiced with gossip and scandal, at the same time strangely dispassionate and sober. There is a range of tone here that enables Claudius, in his persona as professional historian, to deal with matters widely diverse, to be equally convincing whether talking about the waste and excess of military triumphs, the fate of Varus and his regiments in the forests of Germany, or the endless intriguing for power and influence among the members of the imperial family.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Guardian, Barry Unsworth
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 (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Graves, Robertprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hill, Tom GoodmanNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacobi, DerekNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, Mark J.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martinez, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mazía, FlorealTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, SusanArt directorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Renner, LouisTranslatorsecondary 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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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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Becomes emperor
with death of Caligula.
Where have good times gone?

Legacy Library: Robert Graves

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Average: (4.25)
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1 8
1.5 5
2 36
2.5 17
3 183
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4.5 114
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141188596, 0143566393


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