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Claudius the God: And His Wife, Messalina [Audio CD]

Robert Graves , Frederick Davidson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2010 1441715134 978-1441715135 Retail CD
In this sequel to his classic historical novel I, Claudius, Robert Graves continues the tumultuous life of the Roman who became emperor in spite of himself and his handicaps. Claudius describes the splendor, vitality and decadence of the Roman Empire during his thirteen-year reign.

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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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cynical and sad tale, beautifully written Oct. 27 2000
Format:Hardcover
This novel, like its antecedent I, Claudius, will mesmerize those who love classical history, although casual readers may find it tedious. The two works together form a fictional autobiography of the Roman emperor Claudius, who - at least in this literary incarnation - is both an astute observer of first century Roman political society and an extraordinary character in his own right. Born into the Roman imperial family but repelled by the violence and treachery surrounding it, Claudius retreats from power for much of his adult life. He buries himself in obscure academic pursuits and hides, for what he believes to be his own safety, behind array of weird physical disabilities. When his nephew, the mad emperor Caligula, meets his just reward, the middle-aged Claudius is literally dragged against his will onto the Imperial throne. I, Claudius ends with this bizarre scene and Claudius the God takes up from there with the improbable emperor's own account of his reign up to point of his death. Much to everyone's surprise, Claudius emerges into the public eye as an energetic, able and just ruler. And while the great pride he takes in his enterprise is evident, both the style of his rule and the tone of his narrative is characterized by a wry and self-deprecating humor. Much of the book consists of a detailed recounting of the administrative, judicial and military minutia in which Claudius immersed himself. However, there is a deeper theme at work too, which is the inevitability that innocence in a corrupt world will be betrayed. Claudius's closest friend for much of his life is Herod Agrippa, the grandson of the biblical Herod the Great. Read more ›
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cynical and sad tale, beautifully written Oct. 27 2000
By Mark Edward Bachmann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This novel, like its antecedent I, Claudius, will mesmerize those who love classical history, although casual readers may find it tedious. The two works together form a fictional autobiography of the Roman emperor Claudius, who - at least in this literary incarnation - is both an astute observer of first century Roman political society and an extraordinary character in his own right. Born into the Roman imperial family but repelled by the violence and treachery surrounding it, Claudius retreats from power for much of his adult life. He buries himself in obscure academic pursuits and hides, for what he believes to be his own safety, behind array of weird physical disabilities. When his nephew, the mad emperor Caligula, meets his just reward, the middle-aged Claudius is literally dragged against his will onto the Imperial throne. I, Claudius ends with this bizarre scene and Claudius the God takes up from there with the improbable emperor's own account of his reign up to point of his death. Much to everyone's surprise, Claudius emerges into the public eye as an energetic, able and just ruler. And while the great pride he takes in his enterprise is evident, both the style of his rule and the tone of his narrative is characterized by a wry and self-deprecating humor. Much of the book consists of a detailed recounting of the administrative, judicial and military minutia in which Claudius immersed himself. However, there is a deeper theme at work too, which is the inevitability that innocence in a corrupt world will be betrayed. Claudius's closest friend for much of his life is Herod Agrippa, the grandson of the biblical Herod the Great. Herod Agrippa is a charming rogue and schemer who, while genuinely fond of Claudius, teases him mercilessly for being a fool and warns him, as it turns out in all seriousness, to "trust no one". The irony in the admonition is apparent when Herod himself betrays Claudius, plotting militarily against him and almost succeeding. This is only a side story, however. The thematic climax of the book occurs when it comes to light that Claudius's beautiful wife Messalina, whom he adores with the intense innocence of a teenager in love, has been using him all along for the fool, taking lovers and mocking Claudius behind his back. He finally discovers the truth when she is found to be conspiring with one of these paramours to seize the throne. She is executed for her treachery, but Claudius's spirit dies with her. He re-marries, but to a woman he cares nothing about and who, with his knowledge and acquiescence - for his death has been foretold by augury - begins amassing power on her own and conspiring to make way for her own son by a previous marriage. This son is later to enter history as the decadent fiddler Nero. The book closes with actual historical accounts by Tacitus and Dio Cassius of the real-life emperor's death at the hands of his ambitious wife, who poisons him. The last pages give us the final degradation, a bitterly satirical account Seneca, depicting Claudius - in death, once again the fool - trying to enter Olympus as the deified emperor but being banished mockingly to Hades by the other gods. The book is cynical and deeply sad. It's beautifully written and I recommend it, although it won't be to everyone's taste.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long time favorite FINALLY in e-book July 7 2012
By GeekyGal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Robert Graves' I, ClaudiusI, Claudius (Penguin Classics), and Claudius the GodClaudius the God (Penguin Classics) are really one longer completely brilliant work rather than stand alone novels. Do read them in order. I've loved them since the first time I read them, loved the Masterpeice Theater production with Sir Derek Jacobi as ClaudiusI, Claudius. Although the title of that was I, Claudius as well, it covered both books.

These works inspired me, and others, to study Roman History in fact through their fiction. Some of the more interesting and scandalous bits are questioned by historians. That's fine as this does not pretend to be anything by fiction.

The fun, though, is how much is fact based and how entertaining those facts are. For a very largely factual story, this is a thrill ride of a novel. Heros, murderers, lunatics, royalty, poor relations, valor, politics, theater, battles, scandals, elephants, gods, and all in one family who are pretty much ruling what they think of as the known world in whatever spare time they have left.

Claudius the God is the last phase of Claudius' life, where he goes from outliving most of his family, and how it affects him (and many other people). People have objected to some of the work as "padding", the long look at Herod Agrippa's story, for example. I enjoyed it all. Graves is a brilliant writer. One can appreciate that these books came from a Poet Laureate.

Penguin chose a terrible cover for this, in my view. Don't be put off by it. One of the many advantages of ebooks is that you don't have to look at a terrible cover.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The story continues... May 10 2012
By Alison - Published on Amazon.com
A consistent continuation of the story. Great detail and excellent characterization. A fitting second volume. Seamless continuation of the story.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Claudius rthe God Feb. 7 2009
By H. S. Vishniac - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I ordered this book as a replacement for one I wore out and I still read

Graves, a great author, the best of historical fiction.
4.0 out of 5 stars There's a reason there's a classic May 19 2014
By David - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The fall of the Roman Republic gets all the press, but it's fascinating to look at what happened after the fall.
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