I, Claudius is a fictitious autobiographical account of the life of Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (Pretty cool name, huh?). The novel begins with the fateful stabbing of Julius Caesar and culminates with Claudius’s rise to power as Emperor of Rome. Everything inbetween is an eye opening account of first century politics and the consequences of unchallenged imperial power.
In our opinion, Robert Graves created a wonderfully unique voice in Claudius. The main character is the poster child for flying under the radar, which in this case, has a very positive effect on his life expectancy. It was surprising to read just how barbaric the Roman Empire was, yet the main character remained a refreshing voice amidst a line of arrogant and selfish rulers. The beginning of the novel was a bit difficult to digest as countless names and relationships were established right out of the gate. Still, once we had a chance to become acclimated with the plot, we actually learned a lot and had a jolly good time along the way.
Never again will we romanticize about a time travel vacation back to the Roman Empire. While this time period is fascinating, it was WAY too dangerous for our tastes. Anyone of relevance ran the risk of being poisoned, being banished to a foreign island, or standing trial for false charges brought forth by “informers”. Not that we would have run the risk of being relevant, but still. And don't even get us started on the togas. Yea, no thanks.