Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend us your ears: don't miss the first book, I, Claudius.
©1962 Robert Graves; (P)1987 Recorded Books
"This book, with or without its predecessor, is amusing and illuminating to a high degree." (The New York Times)
On part with the first though the subject matter and supporting cast of characters are of a little lesser note. However, if you are interested in Claudius as a character then you will enjoy seeing him handle the empororship.
This ties up some loose ends from I, Claudius and adds new anecdotes from the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius and Caligula. (Graves seems to have had more material than he knew what to do with.) It is also a sad story, as the reader realizes that Claudius, now emperor, has some of the same character flaws as his predecessors did -- trusting the wrong people, for one. The last few chapters are heartbreaking; Claudius comes to see that despite all his efforts, his lifelong dream of restoring the Republic is not going to come true, partly because he has ruled so well but mainly because he has outlived all of the real republicans. The original accounts of the death of Claudius at the end are an appropriate conclusion.
I read the books because of my interest in the subject and they are the ones that I keep coming back to. Claudius the God goes into much more detail of the political, diplomatic and administrative culture of the Roman Empire. It isn't as character-driven as the previous volume. I probably would not have read I Claudius if I had read Claudius the God first but I am glad that I have read them both.
The reading is perfect, very smooth and paced in a way that is easy to follow without having to concentrate. He is also good at rendering conversations, by inflection alone it was clear which character was speaking, even when several of them were talking.
Nothing. I wondered about the pronunciation of some names, but that isn't a big deal.
The tone of this volume is different from that of I Claudius. It covers only 14 years, not the century or so that the earlier book did, but it is just as long -- maybe longer. The amount of detail and the sheer number of characters in Claudius the God could be overwhelming for readers who just want a good, fast-moving story. I liked this book, but most of the characters just are not as compelling as the ones in I Claudius. Claudius certainly had much more affection and admiration for the people from his early life than he did for those who surrounded him when he was emperor.
Claudius The God is good, but not quite up there with it's predecessor. It's written in the same style, but the subject matter is somewhat duller, and more depressing. Poor Claudius, like so many before and after him, learns that being absolute ruler isn't as fun as you'd think. Nelson Runger turns in the same excellent performance that he gave for the first book.
Graves is sometimes accused of over-sympathizing with Claudius, but I think this exaggerated. His Claudius is toned-down from Suetonius, to be sure, but if you read between the lines you get a similar picture: a very poor judge, a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease, mostly ruled by his wives and freedmen, and so forth. Seneca's Pumpkinification was rather mean-spirited, but not wholly wrong.
I read a review that said listening to this narrator made one believe that you were listening to Claudius himself , to me that is the best description I could make , and is high praise I couldn't recommend this book more
Also I loved the little digs in these books that basically say Homer wasn't the end all be all
A consistent continuation of the story. Great detail and excellent characterization. A fitting second volume.
Where did they get this narrator? He could not have been more ill-suited for the role. Voicing a Roman emperor, even one who was an awkward, half-crippled misfit, calls for a modicum of gravitas. This narrator sounds like some guy named Bill from Cleveland or Indianapolis.
I listened to the audiobook of "I, Claudius" and loved the story and the narrator, so I was looking forward to "Claudius the God." Foolishly, I assumed that the narrator of the latter, if not the same person, would be of similar quality, so I didn't listen to the audio sample before purchasing the audiobook. Learn from my mistake.
I had to work a bit to get into this one but I don't know much about Roman history. This was a great intro. Runger did a stand up job, very solid. On to the sequel.
this story was incredibly slow. After 4 hours, i said
shorten it by 8-10 hours
disappointment that I wasted my monthly credit on this snoozer
I will never buy another book from this author. the stories are too long and tedious. only buy this if you can't sleep and need 'white noise' as background
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