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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book on an interesting topic.
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...
Published on April 23 2005 by Tom MacMillan

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!
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'...
Published 20 months ago by Pierre Gauthier


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book on an interesting topic., April 23 2005
By 
Tom MacMillan (Kingston,Nova Scotia,Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I, Claudius (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, July 4 2013
By 
Faded Blue (British Columbia, Canada) - See all my reviews
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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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!, Oct. 21 2012
By 
Pierre Gauthier (Montréal) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: I, Claudius (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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5.0 out of 5 stars What they really should've taught in history 101..., April 4 2001
By 
M. D. Smith "Scientist and Bibliophile Extrao... (Provo, UT United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Claudius (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction, with an Emphasis on Historical, Dec 2 2003
By 
brewster22 "brewster22" (Evanston, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I, Claudius (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Black Comedy At Its Best, July 7 2004
By 
William Plowden (Centreville, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Claudius (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Quite unexpectedly Good, June 9 2004
By 
Patricia Graham "bookworm1942" (Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Claudius (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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5.0 out of 5 stars From historian to emperor, June 1 2004
By 
Matthew M. Yau "Voracious reader" (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I, Claudius (Paperback)
I, Claudius: From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius is an account of the life of Tiberius Claudius and, as the title has stated in a self-explanatory manner, is written in the form of Claudius's autobiography. Claudius narrates events relevant to the Roman Empire and his family from about 4 BC all the way to his crowning in 41 AD. While the book stands as one of the modern classics of historical fiction, references to characters, events, places, and architectural structure are factual.
Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus (10 BC-54 AD) was a member of the royal Julian House: son of Drusus and Antonia, grandson of Augustus (Octavian) and Lavia, down the line of Julius Caesar. Fate had destined Claudius to be a loner in the Julian House, alienated and was deprived of all opportunities for advancement. His family, even his mother Atonia, who only took care of his practical needs but did not love him, despised him as a weakling and dismissed him as an idiot. Not only was the family ashamed of his stammering, it consistently feared of Claudius's committing a solecism upon which the public would comment. Claudius's closest companions included his tutor Athenodorus who encouraged him to become a historian and his own brother Germanius, who never stopped defending his brother .
Though eventually Claudius became the family priest, Claudius still felt most keenly the family's disappointment in him and the slights he met everywhere. Under the tutelage of Pollio and encouragement of Athenodorus, Claudius gathered materials for a life of his father and grandfather, the poisoning of whom had greatly perplexed and haunted Claudius.
Pollio's advice to Claudius had been proved sound and perspicacious throughout the tempestuous years as Claudius survived the intrigues, manipulation, bitter contention for power, lampoons, caprices and poisonings that marked the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius (uncle of Claudius whom Livia contrived to enthrone at the expense of ridding her great-grandsons), and the mad, capricious Caligula. Always a great disappointment to his mother, ironically, it was Claudius's half-wit, feebleness, temerity, and outward incompetence that saved him from the conspiracy, murder, the wickedness, the sufferings, and the wrath that had so ineluctably befallen his brother Germanicus, his nephews Nero, Drusus, and Gemellas.
I, Claudius tells the amazing tale of one man's exaltation from a historian to the emperor, a tale that magnifies Claudius's loyalty to his friends, his loyalty to his cruel family, his loyalty to Rome, and his loyalty to the truth (and defending of the truth) and how the virtue had rewarded him with the greatest honor and done him justice for the slights he had met all his life. The account celebrates Claudius's untroubled spirit and power of discernment in all his duties, both human and sacred. The characters are delineated to the full etch and nuance which lend verisimilitude of the historical period. The book is one of the most fun, interesting, behuiling book I have read that I almost reads like history.
2004 (37) © MY
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1.0 out of 5 stars painful. couldn't get past page 50. What book was I reading?, May 26 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: I, Claudius (Paperback)
Not the same book as everyone else, I guess. My entire book club had the same experience- we had to skip this month's meeting because none of us could get through this book. Very disappointing- and it wasn't just me, although we all seem outvoted by those who consider this one of the classics of all time. Maybe it's a guy's book? A history buff's book? I'm a summa cum laude Ivy League English major and I just hated it. To each his own.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!, May 15 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: I, Claudius (Paperback)
Never dull (amazingly) -- brilliant, fast-paced and deliciously scandalous. Exactly the sort of book to get a reluctant/apprehensive reader interested in the classics(...)
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I, Claudius
I, Claudius by Robert Graves (Paperback - Oct. 23 1989)
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