Stuart's Reviews > I, Claudius

I, Claudius by Robert Graves
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Mar 18, 12

bookshelves: classic, history
Read from January 09 to 16, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Excellent book. I actually read it only after finding out it was written by Robert Graves, whose WW1 autobiography I read after its being recommended in Lawrence of Arabia's biography. Did you follow that? Anyway, via that long circumlocutory route, I came to "I, Claudius". Written as if in the voice of the Roman Emperor Claudius in the early 1st century AD, it tells the story of the waning days of Augustus, and the increasingly insane reigns of Tiberius and Caligula. It purports to have been written for an audience 1900 years in the future. I found it especially interesting as taking up more or less where the Colleen McCullough Caesar series left off. The tone of the story always has just a little tongue in cheek, as if not taking itself too seriously, and has Claudius meeting some of the great writers and politicians of the day – Livy, Pollio and so on – and giving his opinions of them, presumably those of Robert Graves taking revenge on his classical teachers! The history moves along quickly, not in the least dry, being informative and entertaining. I never saw the TV series, so reading the book was a revelation. I really enjoyed it. However, I had not realized that this book only goes up to the acclamation of Claudius as emperor at age 50, on the death of Caligula. Now I have to read “Claudius the God” to find out how he ruled! Onwards……
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