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I, Claudius Hardcover – Nov 18 1976


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Hardcover, Nov 18 1976
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Publishing Ltd; New edition edition (Nov. 18 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0413370704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0413370709
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.2 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,657,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles), who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as 'Claudius the Idiot', or 'That Claudius', or 'Claudius the Stammerer', a.d. 41 or 'Clau-Clau-Claudius', or at best as 'Poor Uncle Claudius', am now about to write this strange history of my life ; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the 'golden predicament' from which I have never since become disentangled. Read the first page
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tom MacMillan on April 23 2005
Format: Paperback
All fans af historical fiction need look no further for an intersesting read. The book chronicles the reigns of the Roman Emperors Augustus, Tiberius and Caligula as seen through the eyes of Tiberius Claudius. The book reads in true roman fashion, with characters droping like flies from the very start. The odd thing is how the book makes you not cry but chuckle. The combination of ridiculusly evil characters and humerously unfourtunate events make for a story so tragic you just have to laugh. This is only added to by the way that Claudius records things like murder,war,assasination,divorce and mass executions in a trivial way. Claudius, who is considerd as an idiot due to his stutter and limp, plays up his stupidity in order to stay out of the constant political intrigues, while in fact he is one of the smartest romans of the lot and in the end, I couldn't help but feeling somewhat attached to Claudius.
This book is truley marvelous and succeeds perfectly in retelling an ancient tale. And as a plus, I am now extremly knowledgeable on this time of history after reading this book.
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By Faded Blue on July 4 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A revealing work and very captivating. I found it hard at first to keep track of the names but Robert Graves constructed the story so cleverly that I soon felt like a family friend.

This was a very informative and entertaining read that I will likely re-read someday.
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By Pierre Gauthier TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 21 2012
Format: Paperback
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 Livia 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.
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Format: Paperback
I was introduced to Robert Graves through the work of Gene Wolfe, whom I noticed was a fan of I, Claudius. So I gathered my wits and a mug of coffee, and proceeded to read the book. Frankly, most of the events of Claudius' life are astonishing, from a scheming Livia to a decadent Caligula, depicted almost surrealistically. Yet Roman history attests for all that happened and more. The writing is vivid and insightful, neither too urbane nor witty for its own sake. Exellent prose, and an exellent story which could only be played out by real human actors and their machinations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By brewster22 on Dec 2 2003
Format: Paperback
I was very excited to read "I, Claudius" because of the almost unanimous praise it has received by Amazon readers. I'm sorry to say that I was disappointed in it.
It's by no means a bad book, but I found that Robert Graves' cold historical voice kept me at a distance emotionally from the story and characters. Graves relates the story in a "first this happened, then that happened" kind of way, which has the benefit of explaining the history surrounding Claudius's rise to Roman Emperor in a clear and non-convoluted way. However, Graves' approach to the story also succeeds in keeping the reader uninvolved in the proceedings, because characters never become alive, but instead remain as about as engaging as the people you read about in high school history books.
In short, I would recommend this book if you're in the mood for a plot-driven novel---and believe me, there's plenty of plot to sink your teeth into.
But if you're in the mood to wrap your mind around fully developed characters and psychological complexity, I would read something besides this.
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Format: Paperback
I, Claudius has just made its way onto my Netlfix queue, and I can only hope that the mini-series based on the Robert Graves novels are played as a black comedy! Robert Graves has managed to write a wickedly funny portrayal of the "royal family" from the reign of Augustus Ceaser through the wanton debauchery of Caligula. All three reigns are told through the eyes of the seemingly idiotic Claudius, whom ends the book on the shoulders of his countrymen as their new Ceaser.
Graves, who is a true literary giant in his own right, colorfully fills in the blanks of the historical Roman record. Whether his interpretations of events are factual or not is left up for debate, but the genius of his narrative through Claudius is not. You'll need to draw a map of how all the various characters are related since marriage, divorce and adoption within the same family is rampant. Claudius' grandmother Livia is a real force whose product ends up being the sordid reign of Caligula. Augustus and Tiberius are "interesting" in their own way, and the stories attached to each Ceaser's reign or one part tragic and 10 parts black comedy. That Claudius is able to survive by playing the embicile shows his true genius. Can't want to see what the DVDs have in store!
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Format: Paperback
Usually I hate historical fiction preferring my history to be history and fiction to be fiction, but this book confounded me because I loved it. It was a good overview of the first five Caesars but I kept wondering what was fiction and what was truth {don't say I didn't warn you}. But soon into it, the ambivalence quieted and it was just a good gripping tale. Your family does wonder when you go around muttering about Livia and Caligula and the stupidity of Augustus but that is the effect it has, almost like a soap opera. It so inspired me that I have ordered the sequel along with a few other books of the same era but somehow, I know this one will be hard to top. It is a winner if one can get over the insistance on separating history from fiction. But what the hey, you only live once, so try it.
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