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I, Claudius (1934)

by Robert Graves

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Claudius (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,636140804 (4.25)367
Based on the life of Claudius, Emperor of Rome.
  1. 110
    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. 10
    Augustus by John Edward Williams (rahkan)
  7. 10
    The Annals by P. Cornelius Tacitus (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Non-fiction view into the same period, and a probable reference for Mr. Graves.
  8. 21
    Salammbô by Gustave Flaubert (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Historical fiction set in the Classical Mediterranean
  9. 10
    The Egyptian: A Novel by Mika Waltari (mcenroeucsb)
  10. 11
    Tiberius by Allan Massie (celtic)
  11. 11
    An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire, 54 BC - AD 409 by David Mattingly (John_Vaughan)
  12. 11
    Pride of Carthage: A Novel of Hannibal by David Anthony Durham (mcenroeucsb)
  13. 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.
  14. 34
    I, Claudius [1976 TV miniseries] by Herbert Wise (longway)
1930s (29)
Europe (264)

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» See also 367 mentions

English (123)  Spanish (7)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hebrew (1)  Hungarian (1)  French (1)  All languages (140)
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
Written in first person with Claudius, the stutterer, as the narrator. This book portrayed the increasingly brutal and mad reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula. The least "impressive" of the caesars was Claudius. With several important people named Tiberias and Nero, it was a bit difficult to keep people straight. I actually had to pull a family tree off the net to follow along intelligently. Most of the time I don't really like to work that hard to follow along. 472 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Aug 9, 2020 |
At a certain point it became unreadable for me. I made it 1/5th of the book, and I thought the book should have been renamed, 'Livia is the Devil'. I just got tired of it. There wasn't a moment when Livia wasn't doing something evil. "These demonstrations expressed not so much pity for Julia as hostility to Livia, who everyone justly blamed for the severity of Julia's exile and for so playing on Augustus' pride that he could not allow himself to relent." I get it! She's bad! Move on! ( )
  billycongo | Jul 22, 2020 |
This book has been languishing on my to-read pile for nearly two years, and when I saw it mentioned in [Among Others](https://books.rixx.de/reviews/2020/among-others), I was reminded of it and plunged into it. I'm a bit of a history nerd, but I never got too much into Roman history beyond the basics: Maybe nine years of learning Latin left me scarred, or maybe it just felt a bit icky because I mostly see military history fans being into it. Pre-imperial Rome is fun though, and then later East Rome, too, because who can resist a good collapse?

Whatever the case, I approached this book with a healthy dose of ignorance about Roman emperors. "I, Claudius" is the fictional diary of Emperor Claudius, one of the early Roman emperors, the last one to have known the great Augustus himself, and not exactly the designated heir. We follow his life only up to his ascension, which is interesting, well-written, with a healthy dose of unreliability and a lot of apparent research.

As far as I could figure out afterwards, Robert Graves did a ton of research and followed it, and just chose the most scandalous or fun interpretation when he could chose – and who could fault him, even with the amount of scandal? The book wasn't something that pulled me in, but it wasn't unpleasant either, and I definitely have a sense for the order and character of the early emperors, and their extremely tangled relationships to one another. ( )
  _rixx_ | May 24, 2020 |
Very difficult to read ( )
  kakadoo202 | Dec 23, 2019 |
Funny, outrageous, and scattered with brilliant eruptions of prose, Graves' I, Claudius is a masterful work of historical reimagining and a perfect follow up to Fire and Fury. I could hear Claudius in dialogue with Michael Wolff throughout: "Th- th- th- that's not a scandal. This is a sca- sca- sca- scandal." ( )
  Adrian_Astur_Alvarez | Dec 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 123 (next | show all)
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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Haiku summary
Becomes emperor
with death of Caligula.
Where have good times gone?

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141188596, 0143566393


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