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I, Claudius/Claudius the God

(Claudius #1-2)

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  2,595 ratings  ·  100 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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4.43  · 
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 ·  2,595 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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Mar 04, 2010 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 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
Richard Coady
Feb 12, 2013 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
K.M. Weiland
Dec 04, 2013 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
Marcus Salerno
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic! The author did not only manage to describe what happened in his life and what he accomplished. He also managed to describe why he acted as he did in different situations, what choices he had and what he could have done different. He really gives the readers a good insight into the culture and mentality of his society. Prepare for a historical journey!
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Christina Stenstrom
Apr 03, 2011 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
Feb 07, 2009 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 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! :)
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Total soap operas. Awesome.
Jun 09, 2012 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.
Gautam Patnaik
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good book. Well written. Holds your attention. Some of the historical facts can be debatable. Makes it interesting to watch this on Masterpiece Theatre.
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Murder, backstabbing politics, infanticide - Good summer reading. LOL
Sathya Srinivasan
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
“And what thoughts or memories, would you guess, were passing through my mind on this extraordinary occasion? Was I thinking of the Sibyl's prophecy, of the omen of the wolf-cub, of Pollio's advice, or of Briseis's dream? Of my grandfather and liberty? Of my grandfather and liberty? Of my three Imperial predecessors, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, their lives and deaths? Of the great danger I was still in from the conspirators, and from the Senate, and from the Gaurds battalions at the Camp? Of M ...more
Susan Hamilton
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After watching the 1976 BBC series, I just had to read the book. I also have the dvd of the entire series and am overdue for a 'Claudathon'. I often discover books after seeing the corresponding movie/tv version first and usually find that they never seem to do the book justice or were not true to the book. Not so here. Reading the book was like reliving the series in my mind. Derek Jacobi will always be 'Claudius' to me.
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Master author using great language. Enjoyed every bit while reading. At some points it gets too complicated to understand the relationships between characters and events. There are some very exciting points where some pretty dramatic conspiracies. This book will keep you up all night curious about what will happen next in this reality show of the family life of Roman royalty told by the eyes of Claudius.
P.J. Skinner
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful evocative history with nasty homocidal characters and a central character who seems to have wandered out of Narnia into a fully fledged massacre of his relatives over a series of changes in the Roman Ruling family. Great historical detail, you can almost smell Rome and feel the heat in the streets. One of my favourite history books and one I reread frequently.
Erwin Blonde
Feb 04, 2017 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.
Dave J
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's been many years since I read these so I thought I'd pick them up again. I was glad I did. Then again, I do like historical novels and the Romans have always interested me (Ben Hur is my favourite film). I'm sure that some will find the books dull but for me they were very readable. And I can imagine the amount of research behind them - impressive!
Jeroen Van de Crommenacker
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fantastic fictionalised account of the life of Emperor Claudius. Rightfully a classic, even though it starts to tire a bit towards the end (it’s very long..)
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If Italy has ever been your home, these two books are for you.
John Schroeder
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Listening to the audio book while watching the BBC series helps identify the characters and clarify some of the action in the series.
Sujith Ipe
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting read.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A novel I read back in High School. Fantastic read. Detailed, complex, and entertaining.
Phillip Beighton
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Vince  Quackenbush
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this years ago, when the Masterpiece Theater show was shown. Great!
Aug 14, 2014 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
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Story about the destruction of an idealist soul! At times I had a hard time reading it, because It's so one dimensionaly gruesome and hopeless! If you look for a proper balance between light and darkness, this is certainly not your book! This book is just straight dark!!!
Toni Daugherty
Sep 27, 2016 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.
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Robert von 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 Plat ...more

Other books in the series

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