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5.0 out of 5 stars Explaining history
Roman Emperor Claudius (41-54) has long been regarded as a so-called 'bad emperor', standing in the line of notorious guys like Caligula, Nero and Domitianus. The main reasons for this image were the books of Latin authors like Seneca, Suetonius and Tacitus. These writers all shared the same image on Claudius: a messy guy 'who was not a master, but rather a servant', as...
Published on Dec 23 2003 by hjonkers

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3.0 out of 5 stars Oh, Claudius, how you have fallen
I still rate this novel 3 stars, but do so apprehensively. First off, do not read this unless you've read the first text, "I, Claudius," an excellent book. If you've read the first Claudius book, this is a must read, since Graves' so abruptly ends the first novel, practically midsentence. The second novel, is actually more interesting historically, than in the personal...
Published on Aug. 1 2001 by C. Sellers


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4.0 out of 5 stars Uncanny Insight into the Roman Empire, Oct. 20 2000
By 
Scott Schiefelbein (Portland, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina (Paperback)
Like many, I came to "I, Claudius" and "Claudius, the God" after watching the truly wonderful PBS miniseries. I was surprised that Graves' Claudius is much less sympathetic than the character in the PBS production. In the novel, Claudius comes across as more than a bit ruthless, and is quite the braggart. Over-eager to shift blame from his shoulders to another's, this Claudius is no less entertaining. Instead, his brilliance shines through even more, and his biting commentary on the world around him is a joy to read.
Another entertaining aspect of this novel is the larger role played by Claudius' childhood friend, Herod. Claudius has so few intimates in his life that it is a treat to learn more about the ambitious, charismatic (and self-appointed) King of the Jews. Herod's ultimate failure is even more saddening than it was in the series.
At times, "Claudius, the God" gets bogged down in the intricacies of imperial administration, but as this is supposed to be a memoir, that's to be expected. While I appreciated learning about the daily life and toils of a Roman Emperor, at times the details of the projects runs a little dry. Maybe I'm just impatient to read about all the murder and mayhem, but that's one of the things that "I, Claudius" prepares you for. This book is a pleasure for both the casual reader and the student of Rome.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Read 'I, Claudius' first...., Sept. 25 2000
By 
J. Michael Showalter (Nashville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina (Paperback)
Rightfully, this book has around 20% of the number of reviews as does the first half of the life of the same man by the same author. This is not nearly as good of a book as 'I, Claudius', I doubt that anyone reading this would be much surprised at this. 'I, Claudius' is considered as a classic of the English language whereas this is just a fairly strong 'good' book.
There are a number of reasons for this. First, the first half (well, chronologically more...) of Claudius's life provides a better ground for Graves to do his job; he also seems to identify more with the character before he became emperor. When Claudius loses his humor and perspective, the whole of the series loses it's brilliance....
Setting this aside, this is still a highly entertaining and worthwhile book. I loved the first work better; I'd read it first. If you have read it, I am assuming, you liked it enough to come back to this page looking for more. And there is more here: it's just that it is slightly.... ever so slightly.... less....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy, Worthy Sequel, Aug. 30 2000
By 
Matt (Seacoast, NH) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina (Paperback)
I was wondering how they were going to handle the final half of the Claudius series, because the narrator dies (historical fact, not spoiling.) How he ends up like his predecessors, most notably Augustus, is very captivating. Tragic, ironic, dramtic and very interesting, I found it to be great, but read the first book first, it will help you understand it better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars engaging!, July 27 2000
By 
Tifanie A. James (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina (Paperback)
Graves' portrait of Claudius may be a little generous, given the records of the actual man by his contemporaries, but he can make his case well, I think, with the sources he chooses to utilize. But who cares anyway! Any lover of ancient Rome or epic stories in general will love this book. The details of the exploits of Claudius are mind-boggling; by the end of it, you'll feel as though you spent time in the ancient Medditerranean. If he had written this story in fifteen volumes, I would read them all. And while it's a great book on it's own, I'd suggest reading 'I, Claudius' first.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Story continues, April 26 2000
This review is from: Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina (Paperback)
This is a great sequel and a must read, though it is a very different book from the one it follows. Where 'I, Claudius' was introverted and historical centered, Claudius the God moves into the wider circles of the Empire. This should by no means perturb the reader who came to hunger for the political machinations of Livia or the tawdry depravity of Tiberius in the first novel, this one presents new hurdles and struggles through which Claudius must muddle in order to survive: a wicked nephew, a military uprising, war against Boadicea and two caniving wives.
This is the better of the two books, no matter what your interest in them is, and it builds to a truly profound ending.
Like other reviewers before me, I urge that anyone who read and enjoyed the characters as represented in these two books: see the miniseries. It may be 12+ hours in length but it is worth it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy sequel to a great novel, Feb. 23 2000
This review is from: Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina (Paperback)
"Claudius the God" is a great book, but it is noticeably worse than its predecessor. For one, it is more somber than "I, Claudius". This would have been fine if the account was more truthful to history, but it is still quite preposterous, so the lack of humor takes something away from the narrative.
I liked the characters, such as Herod Agrippa and Messalina, but felt that their complexities were not all revealed. Herod Agrippa is interesting as a rascal with the heart of gold, but his plotting to take over the East is told through the dispatches of a personal enemy to Claudius. Although this is how Claudius found out about his actions, I feel that his story should have been told in a story-like fashion, and then Claudius could have pointed out how he came by such information.
Messalina was an intriguing character but Graves made her evil without any further explaination. Nobody becomes evil overnight. He also failed in excusing Claudius for not seeing Messalina's faults. Although he is supposed to have loved her beyond distraction, you can't really feel it throughout the book. This is a great mystery of why Claudius was so inept when dealing with his wives. Graves makes his conduct smart in "I, Claudius", while in "Claudius the God" he is completely blind to Messalina's ways. If he truly was that blind, then Graves should have concentrated in making Claudius' love for her seem more real and all encompassing. Otherwise, he should have come up with another reason for Claudius' folly.
Overlooking this weakness in his storytelling, the book takes a wonderfully tragic turn when Claudius discovers Messalina's betrayal. His pain is so poignantly written that the readers cannot help but feel for him. Afterwards, when he made the decision to retain a passive role in the government, which stemmed from the pain of Messalina's duplicity, the readers feel acutely the loss of his will to live.
This book could have become comparable to "I, Claudius" if the relationship between Claudius and Messalina was better examined.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You go, Graves, Jan. 24 2000
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This review is from: Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina (Paperback)
The historical conceptions of the rule of Claudius have changed since olden times, and I think Graves might have had a hand in this. Previously, Claudius was considered a deceitful and inept ruler but is now thought of as shrewd and honest.
Regardless of which school is correct, this two book series is incredible. I found the sequel more entertaining than the first, because we finally get to see Claudius at the head of the Roman state-something that I, Claudius led up to for its entirety.
These are great books with both powerful, endearing and repulsive characters. I look forward to my next Graves book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars love it, July 28 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina (Paperback)
if you are considering reading this book, make sure you read I, CLaudius first, that is a must. Then read Claudius the God. You will be so amazed at the lives of these people, real living people. I love to read historical fiction written in the first person. You really get involved in that person. You will be glad you read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Full of intrigue!, June 1 1999
This review is from: Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina (Paperback)
An excellent narrative of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius, _I, Claudius_ captured my senses from its very first sentence. Murder, treachery, poisonings, loves-gone-wrong . . . all written in smart prose. How does a stammering and seemingly-idiotic fool become Emperor of Rome? Easily - by chance. Or not so easily, as you'll read! This book will entertain AND teach the reader at the same time. What a bargain!
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4.0 out of 5 stars This book helps the Roman History scholar, May 8 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina (Paperback)
When I finished "I, Claudius" I HAD to go out and get "Claudius the God", because I had to find out what was going to happen to Claudius. Mr. Graves draws the reader in from the start, and both "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God" helped me in my Roman tests!
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Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina
Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina by Robert Graves (Paperback - Oct. 23 1989)
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