©1934, 1961 Robert Graves; (P)1987 Recorded Books
An academic who listens to novels on runs and commutes to campus.
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.
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!
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.
So far ago, so up to date
Animal Farm by George Orwell, because it talks about the human nature and the longing for power
The final unexpected triumph of Claudius, the permanent outsider
A peculiar but constructive reading
It completely convinced me. Took me right into Ancient Rome.
It is rich in every meaning of the word. Complete. Diverse. Detailed. The world engulfs you totally.
Claudius, of course! Just you read the book!
And Lydia... vile but devoted...
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.
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.
The autobiographical perspective into Roman history, politics, corruption and the constant conflicts, drama and conspiracies.
Well, I will definitely be downloading the second part of this book, "Claudius The God".
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.
I thought the narrator's performance was impeccable.
"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!
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!!
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.
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!
No. I would never listen to a book twice because life is too short - but the first time was great
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
When Claudius interviewed his grandmother, the poisoner
The Original Stammerer
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