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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

What Members Say

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4.2 (978 )
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  •  
    Pierre Gauthier Montréal 10-21-12
    Pierre Gauthier Montréal 10-21-12 Listener Since 2010
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    "Disappointing!"
    Any additional comments?

    This novel written in 1935 is set as the autobiography of Claudius, before he becomes Roman emperor and as he sees the various members of his family die off, mainly through mischief.

    It is not particularly well written. How for example can Claudius report word for word conversations that were held hundreds of kilometers away?

    Also, the characters’ psychology is poorly developed and inconsistent. Why for instance would Lydia suddenly decide to confide her wrongdoings to Claudius whom she has always despised?

    Though not graphic by today’s standards, violence is so pervasive throughout the work that it becomes tedious.

    To potential readers interested in an analogous approach to Roman Antiquity, Marguerite Yourcenar’s ‘Memoirs of Hadrian’ constitutes a far superior option.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Soledad, CA, United States 10-11-12
    Amazon Customer Soledad, CA, United States 10-11-12

    I listen to a lot of everything. I really enjoy fiction, but also business books, self-improvement and lectures.

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    "Gossip @ it's Best"
    What made the experience of listening to I, Claudius the most enjoyable?

    The narrator is superb! It feels like you are listening to a good friend's gossip. Informative, easy to listen to and comical.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The narrator.


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

    Claudius.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Laughland Arlington, MA, US 10-08-12
    Andrew Laughland Arlington, MA, US 10-08-12
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    "First person account lacks drama of PBS series"

    I was a big fan of the I Claudius mini-series and so wanted to hear the original book. The book is Claudius' first person account of his life so it loses much of the characterisation of the series. All of the scenes are here, they just have more life in the drama.

    The reader is excellent and gets the tone spot on.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristoffer Stockholm, Sweden 10-08-12
    Kristoffer Stockholm, Sweden 10-08-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Intrigue and tyranny, skillfully narrated"
    Where does I, Claudius rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I, Claudius is probably the best work of historical fiction I have read yet.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of I, Claudius?

    Watching the various threads of conspiracy and coincidence leading up to inevitable tragedy is both exciting and poignant.


    What about Nelson Runger’s performance did you like?

    Nelson Runger does a great job of reflecting the sometimes bitter, sometimes wryly humourous style of "Claudius", with an engaging tone that is easy to listen to.


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

    Three emperors' worth of intrigue and infamy!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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

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