I Am Livia
Her life would be marked by scandal and suspicion, worship and adoration…
At the tender age of fourteen, Livia Drusilla overhears her father and fellow aristocrats plotting the assassination of Julius Caesar. Proving herself an astute confidante, she becomes her father’s chief political asset—and reluctantly enters into an advantageous marriage to a prominent military o...more
Caesar Octavianus Augustus and Livia Drusilla were the original power couple. During the course of a marriage that lasted 52 years, Augustus seized and consolidated power from the crumbling Roman republic to become Rome’s first Emperor. He defeated his rivals, ending the civil wars that took place after Julius Caesar’s assassination, a ...more
The history of ancient Rome, in general, has cloaked the women of the Caesars in shadows and obscurity. Undoubtedly, these women are worthy of greater attention; their stories are fascinating in their own right, and rife with intrigue and scandal.
Livia Drusilla (58 B.C.- 28 A.D.) was extremely charitable to the cause of orphans and provided relief support to victims of disasters. She was privy to affairs of state and had the ear of "the ruler of the world." She has been viewed as the m ...more
The plot describes Livia Drusilla's life, being the daughter of Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus by his wife Aufidia.
The book starts with the assassination of Julius Caesar. Her first marriage was with Tiberius Claudius Nero, her cousin of patrician status who was fighting with er father on the side of Julius Caesar's assassins against Octavian. She had two children, namely Tiberius and Drusus.
But her true love was the emperor Augustus but she wasn ...more
I think I'm a little put out because a) I really want a novelization of Livia's rise to power, b) this somehow manages to make Octavian into a golden YA hero which is awful (he was a snake in the grass let's get real!!! ...more
Everything I wrote below still stands. On re-read I adored this book just as much as the first time, and I adored Livia. Of course nobody can truly know what she was like, but Phyllis T. Smith's version is definitely my Livia. And anyway she remains a wonderfully complex, beautifully crafted character.
First read: 07/31/2016 - 08/04/2016
Livia, wife of Caesar Augustus, has suffered a bad reputation. By many historians, she has been considered a ruthless, power-h ...more
This period of history is endlessly fascinating to me, but I have not read a lot about Livia Drusilla. I will now want to read everything I can about her whenever I can find the time. The important thing to remember when reading historical fiction is that it is FICTION. Too often historical fiction is critized because it took too many liberti ...more
As the daughter of a Roman Senator, Livia is incredibly intelligent and politically astute – a trait that comes in handy in later her role as wife and confidante of Caesar. Like most powerful women in hist ...more
I really liked Livia as a character. She was ...more
Seriously, who doesn't?
So, in part, this book seems to be influenced by that BBC production of the Graves novel - though the Livia here comes across as a bit strong willed but a bit meh. In fact, the book is simply about her early life and leaves out the whole bit where Augustus becomes Augustus. It also becomes a bit soap o ...more
And unfo ...more
I AM LIVIA tells the story of the wife of Augustus/Octavius. I've long been interested in Roman history (and wit Robert Harris' excellent Cicero series fresh in my mind) I was very curious to learn more, and especially to do so from a woman's account of events. This is, of course, a work of fiction, but I trust that Pyllis Smith did a fair amount of research for this boo ...more
The book limited itself to the view point of one character, and didn't focus on ALL of the political machinations of the era, but rather on the affect Livia could have on politics....and the affects the politics had on Livia and her relationships.
There is no lengthy discussion of battles or other political intri ...more
'Your congratulations on my victory were not fulsome.'
I liked that quote because Octavian wanted some recognition from Livia that he had finally won a battle. This author portrays Octavian as more than a puny peacock and Livia more than a power hungry poison pusher. I have read about Octavian, Livia, Cleopatra, Antony and the other main characters in all kinds of light ...more
Like the author, I read and saw (and was fascinated by) Robert Graves rendition of Livia in I, Claudius and Claudius the God. Graves, along with some historians, completely excoriated the third wife of Caesar Augustus. The contemporaneous historians went through a bit of a "he said, she said" routine and your view of Livia depends on which one you believe. But it must be considered what each historian had to gain or lose by his comments. And, it must be remembered h ...more
It's historically accurate, and although I already knew the whole story of the Roman Republic's demise, I hung on until the end. Livia has been portrayed in different ways, usually as ruthless and tyrannical.
What her true motives were, we'll never know. Smith chooses to depict her as a woman who care ...more
We begin the book with a young Livia Drusila, only 14, who hears in her own home a plan to assassinate Julius Caesar by her father and his colleagues. In the eyes of many, he is a dictator who has broken the sacred Republic that was the Roman Empire. A month later, she is married off to an older man, Tiberius Nero, who she doesn’t like and who is a good friend to her father. She isn't happy, even though she knows it's her duty and her mother keeps reminding her of that. On one of their dates as ...more
To start with, the book doesn’t narrate her entire life. Instead it focuses on Livia’s early years, ...more
I seriously blame Robert Graves and Sian Phillips for why I Am Livia just fell flat. The Livia of I, Claudius, as fearsome and ruthless as she has been portrayed was far more interesting than this attempt to "correct the record".
Perhaps it's me, but there's something profoundly troubling about stories in which ambitious and/or dangerous women of history are "rehabilit ...more
A historical fiction of the life of Empress Livia, first empress of Rome, wife to Emperor Augustus. Livia often is portrayed as being larger than life, on a pedestal and /or running the empire as a grand puppet master behind the throne.
Here we have a teenager thrust into a deadly political arena where failure to read the climate shifts fast enough can quickly lead to death.
This portrayal of ancient Rome is quick to show that underneath the civilized veneer of indoor plumbing and haute cuisine, ...more
There is no denying that "I am Livia" is a very well written and a very well researched book. It takes place during the last years of the Roman Republic and the formation of the Roman Empire. It follows the life of the wife of Augustus Caesar Livia Drusilla, one of the most powerful and controversial women in the history of Rome.
Livia is also one of the most maligned women in the history of Rome. Even now, 2,000 years after her death she is suspected poisoning members of her family who became a...more
I enjoyed helping my students realize their dreams. But I always yearned to write historical fiction and ...more