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I, Claudius | [Robert Graves]

I, Claudius

Here is one of the best historical novels ever written. Lame, stammering Claudius, once a major embarrassment to the imperial family and now emperor of Rome, writes an eyewitness account of the reign of the first four Caesars: the noble Augustus and his cunning wife, Livia; the reptilian Tiberius; the monstrous Caligula; and finally old Claudius himself. Filled with poisonings, betrayal, and shocking excesses, I Claudius is history that rivals the most exciting contemporary fiction.
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Publisher's Summary

Here is one of the best historical novels ever written. Lame, stammering Claudius, once a major embarrassment to the imperial family and now emperor of Rome, writes an eyewitness account of the reign of the first four Caesars: the noble Augustus and his cunning wife, Livia; the reptilian Tiberius; the monstrous Caligula; and finally old Claudius himself and his wife, Messalina. Filled with poisonings, betrayal, and shocking excesses, I Claudius is history that rivals the most exciting contemporary fiction.

©1934, 1961 Robert Graves; (P)1987 Recorded Books

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  •  
    William M Storm MILWAUKEE, WI, United States 10-07-12
    William M Storm MILWAUKEE, WI, United States 10-07-12 Member Since 2012

    An academic who listens to novels on runs and commutes to campus.

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    "A Roman Comedy"

    This is an amusing tale, which seeks to outline how Claudius became the unlikely emperor of Rome. Filled with multiple marriages, murders, and general mayhem, Graves engages the reader with the auto-biography of Claudius, who serves as both narrator and commentator of the events in the empire. The story drags initially as Claudius outlines his family history, especially how his grandmother became the wife of Augustus; however, once Claudius comes of an age where he and his brother, Germanicus, are actors in the realm, the story picks up dramatically. Of particular note is a wonderful scene between Claudius, a budding historian, and Livy and Polius (?) about what makes an engaging history. As one of the classics of 20th century literature, this text should be atop the list of most persons, especially those who enjoy witty and lively discussion about the interaction of politics, history, fate, and ambition.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Warnie Plano, TX, United States 07-25-12
    Warnie Plano, TX, United States 07-25-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Shenanigans in Ancient Rome"

    Much more entertaining than I thought it would be going in--I mean, I should have known, right? Political intrigue, murder, forced suicide, voluntary suicide, torture, poison, banishment, war...those ancient Roman emperors kept themselves busy! I liked hearing the story from Claudius' point of view--I found him very likable, and the narration for the audiobook was great (other than a couple brief moments when he slipped into what sounded suspiciously like a Southern drawl). I assumed going in that, though I was interested enough to read this first book in the series, I wouldn't want to continue with it. But...I'm definitely considering it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Salinas, Ca, United States 07-03-12
    Jennifer Salinas, Ca, United States 07-03-12
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    "scandalous"

    A real Roman soap opera! It was a good time to listen to all that scandalous drama, but it did get difficult to follow the characters names. Some parts were boring but most was exciting. Great performance reading, fit the story nicely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christos Greece 05-07-12
    Christos Greece 05-07-12
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    "Educational historical fiction"
    Would you listen to I, Claudius again? Why?

    So far ago, so up to date


    What other book might you compare I, Claudius to and why?

    Animal Farm by George Orwell, because it talks about the human nature and the longing for power


    Which character – as performed by Nelson Runger – was your favorite?

    Claudius himself


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The final unexpected triumph of Claudius, the permanent outsider


    Any additional comments?

    A peculiar but constructive reading

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tomasz Zaremba Andrychow, Poland 04-20-12
    Tomasz Zaremba Andrychow, Poland 04-20-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Rich!"
    What did you love best about I, Claudius?

    It completely convinced me. Took me right into Ancient Rome.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is rich in every meaning of the word. Complete. Diverse. Detailed. The world engulfs you totally.


    Who was the most memorable character of I, Claudius and why?

    Claudius, of course! Just you read the book!
    And Lydia... vile but devoted...


    Any additional comments?

    The abundance of facts, names and lineages can overwhelm at times but it is well worth it!
    The book smells of wine, sweat and steel, parchment and venom.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pnar 04-18-12
    Pnar 04-18-12 Member Since 2015
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    "just perfect!"

    i wish all audiobooks had only a bit of this one's brilliance. very good narrator, makes the story come alive..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phyllis 04-12-12
    Phyllis 04-12-12 Listener Since 2007

    5 stars - books that I will listen to again and again. 4 stars - books that I might listen to again someday. 3 stars - books that I probably won't listen to again. 2 stars - books that I know I will never listen to again. 1 star - books that I should have never listened to in the first place.

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    "A Masterpiece of Historical Fiction!"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    The autobiographical perspective into Roman history, politics, corruption and the constant conflicts, drama and conspiracies.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    Well, I will definitely be downloading the second part of this book, "Claudius The God".


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    Robert Graves uses Claudius to tell his story! Claudius' family kept him out of public life until his sudden coronation at the age of forty nine (r. 41-54 A.D). This was due to his disabilities, which included a stammer, a limp, and various nervous tics which made him appear mentally deficient to his relatives. So, Robert Graves uses these peculiarities to develop a sympathetic character whose survival in a murderous dynasty depends upon his family's incorrect assumption that he is a harmless idiot.

    Also, the female characters are quite powerful in this book. And these women drive quite a bit of the manipulation, conflict and drama of this novel. Livia Drusilla, Valeria Messalina, and Agrippina the Younger clearly function as the powers behind their husbands, lovers, fathers, brothers, sons and/or daughters.

    Robert Graves does an outstanding job keeping you wanting to know what is going to happen next and who it is going to affect and how it is going to affect them. He has made what could have been truly dry history into a captivating and fascinating historic drama.


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    I thought the narrator's performance was impeccable.


    Do you have any additional comments?

    "I, Claudius" is recommended as a "Great First Listen" and aptly so. It was the first Audible book I bought and it is worth every single minute of listening. I often go back to this book when I have nothing new to read or listen to. An absolutely wonderful book to listen to!

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shelley Prince Rupert, BC, Canada 03-27-12
    Shelley Prince Rupert, BC, Canada 03-27-12
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    "I just couldn't get through this one!"

    I tried hard and I hardly ever give up on a book but there were just too many names and too many connections in this book without enough story. Perhaps if I had read a paper version I could have kept all the characters straight but in the audible version this was a bust for me!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann 03-16-12
    Ann 03-16-12

    Ann

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    "Power and greed in ancient times"

    Mostly overlooked by his powerful and corrupt family, the deformed and stuttering Claudius manages to avoid the pitfalls and poisonings to be come emperor of Rome. A very interesting tale, although the names can get a bit confusing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 03-02-12
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 03-02-12 Member Since 2011

    I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!

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    "When in Rome....watch out!"
    Would you listen to I, Claudius again? Why?

    No. I would never listen to a book twice because life is too short - but the first time was great


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I suppose that would be Claudius - just because he survived massively against the odds and used his wits to escape several incredibly close shaves. He became emperor even though he did not want it at all


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Claudius interviewed his grandmother, the poisoner


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The Original Stammerer


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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