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Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina Paperback – Oct 23 1989
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Picking up where the extraordinarily interesting I, Claudius ends, Claudius the God tells the tale of Claudius' 13-year reign as Emperor of Rome. Naturally, it ends when Claudius is murdered--believe me, it's not giving anything away to say this; the surprise is when someone doesn't get poisoned. While Claudius spends most of his time before becoming emperor tending to his books and his writings and trying to stay out of the general line of corruption and killings, his life on the throne puts him into the center of the political maelstrom.
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Two years have gone by since I finished writing the long story of how I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, the cripple, the stammerer, the fool of the family, whom none of his ambitious and bloody-minded relatives considered worth the trouble of executing, poisoning, forcing to suicide, banishing to a desert island or starving to death-which was how they one by one got rid of each other-how I survived them all, even my insane nephew Gaius Caligula, and was one day unexpectedly acclaimed Emperor by the corporals and sergeants of the Palace Guard. Read the first page
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Top Customer Reviews
Seneca was a relative of Claudius, and had many personal conflicts with the emperor. Additionally, he was the one responsible for the education of cruel Nero, who would become emperor after Claudius. So I don't think you could trust Seneca. The other two authors, Suetonius and Tacitus, were both senators. They were men of the highest rank, and these people had the tradition to look down at emperors who listened more to their freedmen than to the Senate. Claudius was such an emperor: he gave many important bureaucratic jobs to his freedmen, because he could trust them better than those wolves from the Senate. Not a very bad idea, is it? But being senators themselves, Suetonius and Tacitus didn't like this attitude and so they disliked Claudius as well. What I mean to say with this is that the image we get of Claudius in this book is not less important than the one we see in the old sources: if Suetonius is called 'objective', so should Graves be.
It's also quite interesting to compare the Roman writers with Graves.Read more ›
Of course he's doomed from the start-there's hardly an Emperor who *wasn't* murdered, and poison probably qualifies as death by natural causes when you're Roman aristocracy-and his wife Messalina is quite a piece of work, but that doesn't stop the book from being a good read, especially in the earlier parts of the story where Claudius shows an unexpected capacity for efficient administration. The same wry humor and political intrigue that characterized "I, Claudius" are present here as well, and the cast-of-thousands are all distinguished quite well from each other. While "Claudius the God" is not as captivating as its predecessor, and is in fact quite a bit more depressing, it's a book worth reading. There is only one drawback to reading these two tales of intrigue and Imperial families: you'll find yourself wanting to go out and get a food taster afterwards...Read more ›
Graves masterfully develops the character of Claudius as he ponders his life and impresses his thoughts on to his "autobiography." The reader is then taken through the ambitions and palatial intrigues of his reign. Claudius reflects on the persons and events under his rule. He finds himself with a dwindling circle of friends and in the company of a devious young wife, Messalina. Claudius ponders his life with wit and humor. With this insight, Claudius is soon appreciated by the reader as having a keen intellect as opposed to being dull and slow of wit. His desire for truth and his loathing of the imperial struggle gives his story clarity and impartiality. All of the characters are well developed; their actions and motivations all come to light in the course of the story.
Along with Gore Vidal's "Julian" this is one of the greatest works in historical fiction in this genre or any genre. A must read for anyone who enjoys history or just a good story full of intrigue and suspense.
The book points out the many pitfalls of ruling a state; Claudius, sadly, is as much at the mercy of his wife as the Emperor Augustus was his -- a blind spot that nearly costs Claudius his throne. The advice Claudius receives from his friend Herod Agrippa in the beginning of the book -- to "trust no one", is indeed good advice.
As a character, Herod Agrippa steals the book -- the book's first seventy or so pages deal with his story, which form a very amusing and interesting digression -- and shows how Herod Agrippa's influence in Rome is instrumental in bringing the Senate around to recognizing Claudius.
Claudius introduces legal reforms; converts the harbor at Ostia into an all-season port to help secure Rome's food supply, conquers Britain, and revives the Roman religion. The book is a wealth of historical detail and interesting anecdotes.
The book is also engaging and entertaining; although one soon sees that the job of Emperor is no fun indeed -- Claudius has as much cause for paranoia as any of his predecessors.
The book is a must read for anyone who reads "I, Claudius", and is a very good work of literature that brings the Roman age to life.
Most recent customer reviews
'Claudius the God' is actually part two of a two-part set, the second volume after the much-better-known 'I, Claudius'. Read morePublished on July 23 2003 by FrKurt Messick
You must read "I, Claudius" first, but then you won't be able to stop, and you'll be so glad there's this second volume. A work of towering genius. Read morePublished on July 6 2003 by Douglas Keith McEwan
More diffuse and less focused than I, Claudius, despite covering a shorter time period and a smaller cast of characters, Claudius the God nevertheless succeeds brilliantly and in... Read morePublished on March 13 2003 by Gäddan
This sequel to "I, Claudius" goes into depth about the actual reign of Claudius, as opposed to the reigns of his familial predecessors and his eventual "rise"... Read morePublished on March 4 2003 by Eric C. Erickson
"Claudius the God" is the second of Graves' two-part story of the Roman Emperor Claudius, told in the form of an autobiography. Read morePublished on Sept. 30 2002 by Ritesh Laud
A lot of the reviews of this book fail to recognise the exercise in which Graves was engaged when writing this book. Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2002 by Cordless Iron Man
Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina is the second of Robert Graves' two part (fictional) account of the life of Tiberius Claudius. Read morePublished on May 19 2002
When I was half way through reading "I, Claudius," I decided that I had to pick up this book in order to finish the series. Read morePublished on Oct. 12 2001 by arye orona
Having read I, Claudius I was given the advice...to read the following title: Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina (Vintage International) by Robert Graves. Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2001