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I, Claudius/Claudius the God (Claudius #1-2)

4.42  ·  Rating Details ·  2,296 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
Clau-Clau-Claudius the stammerer was known as a buffoon and a pitiful fool.

He made it his business to watch from the sidelines and record the antics, funny, violent and lustful, of the imperial household as its members vied with each other for power. Then he found himself Emperor.

From the great days of Augustus and the cruelties of Tiberius to the deified insanity of Calig
Paperback, 839 pages
Published 1986 by Penguin Books (first published 1934)
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Mar 04, 2010 Szplug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This stuttering, doddering, somewhat foolish Roman monarch, whose reign was nestled between that of the brutally murdered madman Caligula and the suicide-selecting megalomaniac Nero, owes much of the public's actual awareness of his rule to Graves' inspired fictional memoirs. Growing up either ignored or despised in the sprawling court of Augustus Caesar, Claudius is re-imagined as a scholastic boy with a sharp mind who suffered a dearth of confidence and lacked for any opportunity that would al ...more
Jan 14, 2017 Jess rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books
Ah, the story that launched a thousand melodramas about the Roman Empire. At last I know the inspiration for HBO's Rome, Showtime's Spartacus, and yes, even Gladiator. For this is where it all began: every tale of debauched and insane emperors and cruel, manipulative women being the power behind the throne. All can trace their lineage back to the O.G. crazy-Roman-schemers-wracking-up-a-body-count book. And this is it.

The (much abridged) plot: an unlikely uncle of crazy ole' Caligula accidentall
K.M. Weiland
Dec 04, 2013 K.M. Weiland rated it really liked it
I, Claudius was one of my most riveting reads of the year. Reading on to Claudius the God just as fast as I could was a no-brainer - and if it disappoints at all, it's only in comparison to its nigh-on perfect predecessor. Claudius the God provides just as scintillating a look into Claudius's reign as the previous book did into Augustus's, Tiberias's, and Caligula's. But it's also a more ponderous journey, and the exploration of the Empire as a whole does pale in comparison to the lively soap op ...more
Sep 05, 2016 Fred added it
This is a combined review for the audiobook editions of both "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God" by Robert Graves.

Like so many others, I was drawn to these books after watching the 1976 PBS adaption which enthralled and intrigued me. This was my first foray into Roman history and I've never been the same since. That said, for those (like me) comparing Jack Pulman's screenplay to the actual book will be both impressed and disgusted. Mr. Pulman certainly got all the plot points but in the proces
Oct 07, 2014 Asya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book for what Graves has to say, via Claudius, about writing history, historical fictional, and memoir. My favorite passage, which is so hammy really (aka, look at what I'm doing, dear reader!), is Claudius' encounter with Livy and Pollio and the discussion that ensues on the proper way to write history. The historical narrative itself gallops in places and wades through mud in others (I found myself skipping the long chapters of Tiberius' and Caligula's various atrocities, though I ...more
Richard Coady
Feb 12, 2013 Richard Coady rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
For me, this is the historical novel. This edition contains two books, the original I, Claudius and the sequel, Claudius the God. I devoured them one after the other, and I have read them again many times since.

From the very first paragraph you're rooting for poor old Clau-clau-claudius. The author manages to portray an entire character in just a few beautifully chosen words.

And, despite the debauchery and the Machiavellian intrigues, of which there are plenty, this book is an unrivalled charac
Christina Stenstrom
Apr 03, 2011 Christina Stenstrom rated it it was amazing
Haven't yet read Claudius The God pending a reread of I, Claudius this summer to refresh my memory on the particulars. I, Claudius is one of my all-time favorites. Rich, detailed, historic and accurately melodramatic. To this day I revere and aspire to emulate Livia, vile though she may be. Such a driven and successful woman undergirding the power of the empire and fiercely pursuing the interests of herself and her family... I've rarely seen so strong a female lead, which is to say such an hones ...more
David Renderos
Oct 10, 2016 David Renderos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Yo Claudio" de Robert Graves , una de las mejores novelas históricas escritas sobre la vida del Emperador Claudio , en esta novela relata principalmente su vida como adolescente , y también como proviene de una familia de emperadores , el papel protagonista de "Livia" y como ella permite que "Tiberio" y "Calígula" lleguen al poder como emperadores y el descenso de ellos.
Robert Graves posee un estilo único en la pluma , el es capaz de que cada descripción del libro se torne en una escena de pelí
Feb 07, 2009 Penny rated it it was amazing
Just finished I, Claudius yesterday 2-5-09 for Classix. Have always wanted to read this but never got to it. Now I'm inspired to rewatch the old PBS series too. Plus I haven't read Claudius the God yet, but will put it on my list. I really enjoyed reading and learning again about ancient Rome. It must have been horrible to live with those wicked men ruling though.
Vessela Desheva
Sep 16, 2016 Vessela Desheva rated it it was amazing
I greatly enjoyed this book - it was very interesting and really well written...:) I learned a lot about the history and culture of Rome and at the same time I greatly admired the subtle sense of humour of the author! :) Two thumbs up! :)
Carlos Freire
Jun 09, 2012 Carlos Freire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Wonderful work of literature. Couldn't put it down until I finished it, many years ago... And I'm thinking of reading it again just to relive the experience.
Apr 08, 2008 Kevin rated it really liked it
Murder, backstabbing politics, infanticide - Good summer reading. LOL
Jan 22, 2011 Dena rated it really liked it
Total soap operas. Awesome.
Erwin Blonde
Feb 04, 2017 Erwin Blonde rated it it was amazing
I read Graves' masterpiece in the eighties and used it as my last school assignment in high school. I watched the BBC's series of I Claudius based on the novels of Robert Graves, but the book has something more, I felt very close to the main character. The book and the Dvd's are still on my top shelf and probably will stay there for a very long time.
Javier Casado
Jan 12, 2017 Javier Casado rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Extracto de la reseña completa publicada en mi blog:

Aunque casi sea empezar por el final, explicaré el encabezamiento de esta crítica: considero que “Yo, Claudio” es una magnífica novela histórica, bien escrita, bien documentada, y de gran calidad en general; pero también creo que es un libro que podrá resultar a ratos aburrido para el lector no excesivamente afín al género. Luego daré más detalles.


En resumen, un buen libro, sin ninguna duda, una g
Jan 10, 2017 Maria rated it it was amazing
Great! Loved the continuation of 'I, Claudius'. More historical detail, less fictional action. Felt like reading a diary, a fascinating one. So well research, evidently, and still not too heavy on Roman politics. I wish there was more!
Jan 03, 2017 ClaudySummer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No sé hasta qué punto será Yo Claudio históricamente exacto, pero sí sé que este es un libro fundamental si te gusta la Antigua Roma, o incluso si solo te gusta leer.
La narrativa de Graves es perfecta para el personaje de Claudio, con el que es sencillo empatizar. Se lee sin ser ni demasiado densa ni muy pobre. El resto del elenco es variado y están todos bien definidos, trabajados y llevados.
La trama no tiene mucho más misterio que una crónica de la dinastía Julia-Claudia, así qie cualquier v
Aug 14, 2014 Realini rated it really liked it
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
Valor, resilience, EQ and perspective

I, Claudius has been included among the best twenty books of literature written in English, on the Modern Library top 100 list, which refers to the 20th century.
However, it is not one of my favorite books.
Even if I have tried for a second time to see if I get more “good vibrations” out of it, I still consider it a good book, but not more than that.
This is not a shortcoming of the book, but of this reader.
The lack of enthusiasm may
Toni Daugherty
Sep 27, 2016 Toni Daugherty rated it really liked it
Fantastic story. Really enjoyed this one. Didn't want it to end. Starts off slow so give it a chance.
May 30, 2012 Sue CCCP rated it it was amazing
My full review:

first encountered Mr Graves’ work in the early 1980s and I have read this work many times since then. In fact it is one of the books that I would want to have in my luggage if I were ever to be shipwrecked on a desert island with no hope of rescue. It is also one of my most favorite television series and Derek Jacobi will always BE Claudius for me. It is a book that cemented my interest in Ancient Rome while encouraging me to seek out the
Dec 29, 2016 Nick rated it it was amazing
One of the very best works of historical fiction, this is just great.
Alex Lee
Jan 22, 2016 Alex Lee rated it liked it
I rather enjoyed the first, I, Claudius. This book seemed more a reactionary work. Perhaps as Claudius was always a reactionary character. His observations in the first go around presented much of the humor and charm. Here, he is the Emperor, the God, so he does what is mostly expected of him, and doesn't have much time or agency on his own. I feel like Graves really just finished this sequel to round off the series. I could have done without it, I suppose. The last part of the book really was a ...more
John Schwabacher
Feb 18, 2009 John Schwabacher rated it really liked it
I've really gotten into reading historical fiction set in classical times. These two books are great examples of why: they're entertaining and informative. Claudius lived in exciting times: grandson of Marcus Antonius, adopted grandson of the Emperor Augustus, nephew of Tiberius, uncle of Caligula. He's devoted to the idea of restoring the Republic, but finds himself Emperor of Rome.
Graves is able to make the story entertaining throughout, not depressing, even though he describes the reigns of l
Dec 03, 2008 R rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
As one with no grounding whatsoever in classical knowledge, and who tittered at the BBC series (although that was largely because of the reputation that some members of the cast have latterly gained), I was expecting to find the Claudius novels an arduous slog.

I was wrong. This is genuinely gripping. For a book that deals with so much subject matter in such detail, the plot moves along briskly and engagingly. So caught up was I in the story that after a few chapters my mild bewilderment at the m
James Lark
Jun 18, 2013 James Lark rated it really liked it
Meticulously researched, beautifully written and witty, this is a fine book and a wonderful thing to be immersed in for much of its length. Though if I'm brutally honest, the historical detail sometimes gets in the way of the story, and the narrator's eagerness to provide a complete history (I'm talking about Claudius as much as Graves) results in shifts of focus away from the domestic story that is really at the heart of this novel: we're far more interested in Claudius' marital problems than h ...more
May 19, 2015 Daniel rated it really liked it
A fun read, but obviously taken with a grain of salt and concern for historical 'accuracy'. It helps to be aware that the sources Graves used were very biased against the entire Julio-Claudian dynasty, so while many of the events mentioned in the novels probably did happen, the details and motivations may have been far different from how they are presented. In particular, I've always felt that Tiberius gets a pretty raw deal for someone who provided stability, peace and prosperity, and the reign ...more
Nov 23, 2009 David rated it it was amazing
I read these two books from cover to cover in 1974 and remember thinking they'd make a great TV series, which the following year they did. But the books crammed an awful lot more in, and I especially liked the chapters on the monstrous Caligula, a vicious man with a vicious sense of humour. He made his Praetorian personal bodyguards have passwords like 'Knickers' and 'Who's a big boy, then?' (in Latin, of course) just to humiliate them. Not surprisingly, it was they who assassinated him by trapp ...more
B. Wilson
May 23, 2014 B. Wilson rated it liked it
"Claudius The God" by: Robert Graves is an amazing, first person account of the Roman conquest of Britannia in AD 43, seen through the eyes of the Emperor Claudius. The depth of detail covered by this novel indicates the many years of research Mr. Graves must have done in order to complete this masterpiece. Although the book is quite didactic, I found the story compelling and Mr. Graves' style more than adequate to keep my attention. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves history, or ...more
Czarny Pies
May 25, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Classical history buffs
Recommended to Czarny by: My Roman History Professor at Victoria College, U of T
Shelves: english-lit
These two excellent historical novels recount the life the fourth emperor in the Julio-Claudian dynasty written by one the twentieth century's leading authorities on the Roman empire. Robert Graves has the talent to brilliantly transform what historians of the period know about palace intrigues and coup d'états into a wonderful work of fiction.

Because the primary sources (i.e. Suetonius and Tacitus) recorded the sexual peccadillos of the royal households in minute detail, the reader of Graves' t
Dec 15, 2016 Donovan rated it really liked it
I can never think of this book without remembering of Derek Jacobi's brilliant performance in the BBC miniseries.
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Robert Ranke Graves, born in Wimbledon, received his early education at King's College School and Copthorne Prep School, Wimbledon & Charterhouse School and won a scholarship to St John's College, Oxford. While at Charterhouse in 1912, he fell in love with G. H. Johnstone, a boy of fourteen ("Dick" in Goodbye to All That) When challenged by the headmaster he defended himself by citing Plato, G ...more
More about Robert Graves...

Other Books in the Series

Claudius (2 books)
  • I, Claudius (Claudius, #1)
  • Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina (Claudius, #2)

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