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Claudius the God

(Claudius #2)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  12,781 ratings  ·  570 reviews
Robert Graves begins anew the tumultuous life of the Roman who became emporer in spite of himself. Captures the vitality, splendor, and decadence of the Roman world at the point of its decline. "From the Trade Paperback edition." ...more
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published February 12th 1983 by Modern Library (first published 1934)
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Henry Avila
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miracles do happen ask Claudius the unread historian the idiot, the clown, as his family perceives him, the people also yet becomes Emperor ( one of the best too) of the Roman Empire... These events unfold with the assassination of his mad nephew Caligula, the Praetorian Guard needs a ruler or else they become obsolete, no monarch to keep from harm and will go back to the intolerable barracks. Claudius, is found behind a curtain in the palace shaking ( more than the curtain) scared to death, to ...more
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, aere-perennius
“Most men—it is my experience—are neither virtuous nor scoundrels, good-hearted nor bad-hearted. They are a little of one thing and a little of the other and nothing for any length of time: ignoble mediocrities.”
― Robert Graves, Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina


I, Claudius and Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina are two of the greatest novels of historical fiction EVER. Probably the only writers who come close to Grave's mastery of history and literature are (in no particular order):
``Laurie Henderson
I've given the sequel to I, Claudius five stars as well and had a good time reading both of these brilliant novels by one of the greatest authors I've ever read, Robert Graves.
His brilliance was apparent on each page that I eagerly kept turning.

How in the world did he manage to make the Rome of Augustus so spellbinding I don't know, but his sense of time and place had me experiencing the whole story as if I were there in person observing everything as it happened.
This is the sort of Historical
I loved the chance to hear the actor Derek Jacobi from the TV production of “I, Claudius” do the reading of this sequel. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize the audiobook was an abridged edition of the book until the end. That accounts for the disappointing compression in the narratives. Still, it was a pleasure to experience highlights in the reign of this survivor of all the murders associated with the succession of his uncle Calligula. He succeed by pretending to be an idiot. This presented a pro ...more
Yes, we are all mad, we Emperors. We begin sanely, like Augustus and Tiberius and even Caligula (though he was an evil character, he was sane at first), and monarchy turns our wits.

This book is much more tragic than the last. Claudius becomes the divine emperor of Rome - against all odds - and rules for thirteen years. While the first book has no real narrative arc, this one is framed by two factors: Claudius's love for his young wife, Messalina, and his desire for Rome to return to republic
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the sequel to the excellent "I, Claudius" book. Interestingly, when I had finished the first book I thought that Robert Graves had been heavily influenced by Tacitus, Plutarch, and Suetonius. Graves addresses this in the introduction to this sequel by also acknowledging that he was also influenced by the writings of Dio Cassius, Pliny, Varro, Valerius Maximus, Orosius, Frontinus, Strabo, Caesar, and any others.

This book starts immediately after the events of the first. Claudius has been
First, a five-star hat's-off to Nelson Runger, narrator for the Recorded Books versions of I, Claudius and Claudius the God, whose "cheerful, sonorous timber [and] the unfaltering, even pace of his delivery…" made these two audio books a joy.

Secondly, another five-star hat's-off to author/historian Robert Graves, who brought the man Claudius to life.

For me, I, Claudius was the more enjoyable of the two books; tracing the path that led to weak, stuttering, and all too human Claudius arising to Em
3.5 stars

Since my college days I didn’t know Robert Graves and told myself I wouldn’t read him at all due to his formidable writing style as a Greek scholar till I finally decided to try reading his amazing memoir “Goodbye to All That” from which I regarded as my first step toward his other works. Surprisingly, the more I read him, the more I found his narration informative, rewarding and sometime humorous. However, if you’re interested in reading this historical novel, you should read his “I, C
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As much as I enjoyed I, Claudius, this is like The Godfather, Part II to the earlier book's Godfather. In other words, a much more ambitious work, with a broader canvas and more spectacular success. Perhaps the best example is the treatment of Claudius's friend Herod Agrippa, who is scarcely mentioned in the first novel but who is essentially the co-lead for the first two-thirds or so of this book. (This Herod was the grandson of Herod the Great, notorious for the Slaughter of the Innocents in M ...more
3.5, rounded down.

Perhaps I would have loved this more if I had not already known the details of the story. This did not move as fast or fluid as I, Claudius and Graves got a bit bogged down in several sections with details of Roman wars. Particularly difficult was the section regarding the conquering of Britain, with the strategy of the battle taking up chapter upon chapter. He did much the same thing with his accounts of events in the East and the life of Herod Agrippa.

I highly, highly recomm
May 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
His name is Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Caesar Augustus Germanicus Brittanicus, Emperor of Rome. I had much affection for the intelligent, bumbling, self-deprecating, and humorous historian-writer he was portrayed in Robert Graves’s book “I, Claudius”. The year was A.D. 41. In this sequel, Graves picked up the story from the point where Claudius, the 51-year-old crippled historian who had infantile paralysis and aphasia, was acclaimed Emperor of Rome against his own desire. How would he, whom ...more
Jun 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: history, novel
Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus ascends the Roman throne in the second half of Robert Graves' life of Claudius. After the debacle of the reign of his three relatives, Augustus, Tiberius and Caligula, Claudius is left with Roman society in ruins, and his dreams of re-establishing the Republic fade. In an effort to bring Rome back from the brink of disaster, Claudius institutes many governmental reforms. Although he is somewhat successful, during his thirteen year reign, his heroic effort ...more
Jul 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second book was not quite as good as the first, "I, Claudius." The first book created a fuller picture of the times and also it was written in a more light style and with a wittier tongue. There is a long section early in the novel that tells the story of Claudius' friend Herod Agrippa, which I think was not necessary. It made the book slow and at times boring. Bottom line, I didn't enjoy it quite as much as "I, Claudius," but still I recommend the book to people who like to read historical ...more
Nikhil Iyengar
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As far as fictional autobiographies go, you can hardly do better than Robert Graves.

The fact that he's written about a Roman emperor is just a bonus. The aftermath of the ascension of Claudius has events such as the conquest of Britain, the story of Herod, the rise of Christianity, infidelities, betrayals, disputes, and anything else you can expect of drama in an empire. On one hand, it's filled with enough characters and their plots to make your head spin, but you also wish it was more condens
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stuttering emperors, promiscuous empresses, mad Romans, dubious historians
Subtitled "and his wife, Messalina", Claudius, the God, the second volume of Robert Graves's classic, begins where I, Claudius left off, with Claudius, no less surprised than anyone else, ascending to Emperor, having outlived all his scheming, murderous relatives who actually wanted the job.

The first half of the book is mostly about Claudius establishing himself as Emperor, in which he gives a pretty positive portrayal of himself. The chief antagonist initially is his friend Herod (yes, that Her
Claudius The God, a novel by Robert Graves, is the sequel to" I, Claudius", and it takes up the story from the point when Claudius was acclaimed as emperor. Where the first novel covered the reign of Caesar Augustus as well as those of Tiberius and Caligula, the sequel is longer but mostly restricts itself to the thirteen-year reign of Claudius, the narrator.
There is a rather long section early in the novel that tells the story of Claudius' friend Herod Agrippa, who helps and encourages Claudius
Jan 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second book, while not quite as good as the first, is a very fitting successor. In I, Claudius, Claudius's role is primarily as an observer, sitting on the sidelines and watching his relatives destroy themselves while remaining relatively safe by virtue of their assumption that he is no threat to take the throne. In this book, Claudius ascends simply because he's the last man standing, and in seeing how he administers Rome he scuffs himself up a bit. In actually wielding a power he had neve ...more
Mar 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, fiction, audio
Great, now I have to go and read some actual (ie non-fiction) Roman history to find out if I just learned something or if I just read through two books worth of Days or Our Lives, circa 41 AD.

I read Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina and I, Claudius back to back as I really wanted to follow through to the end of the prophecy with which "I, Claudius" opens. Also, both the style and content of the books was extremely compelling and I really wanted to find out what happened next! The books con
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
As much as I liked the first book, I liked the second one even better. I think the religious conflict helped this story a bit. I also like Robert Graves' writing overall. He makes it convincing that Claudius wrote the book and not him. In my opinion, this is some of the best historical fiction I've read in a long time.

Before Robert Graves, I didn't really have any interest in Roman emperors or even Roman History. I always thought it was boring. After reading these two Claudius books I was proven
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recommend the book to people who like to read historical novels. I gave it three solid stars because the book is an important piece of history. I took away the fourth star because the book was much too long thereby diminishing this historical account of Claudius' reign over the Roman empire.

The book, the main character, and the author remain enigmas to me. I read this book thinking I would find at least one redeeming quality in Claudius, but I read in vain. Still, I liked Claudius. To be so i
Dec 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classical-lit
It's a shame that Messalina is such a pretty name, because she was such a vile person. Sometimes I wonder if this book is rampantly misogynist on purpose, or if that just a reflection of the source material Robert Graves had to work with. And then I wonder if the source material is full of such horrible women because there really was such a crop of scheming imperial jezebels, or if the historians were merely reflecting the deeply-entrenched anti-woman sentiments of their time.

And then I remember
Claudius the God starts where I, Claudius left off, at the scene of the assassination of Caligula. The first four chapters are dedicated to Herod Agrippa, the Jewish king who grew up in Rome. Claudius calls him a 'scoundrel with a golden heart'. He then continues to relate how he managed to clean up the political and financial mess that Caligula left behind and undertook some major works in Rome (two aqueducts that doubled the water supply in the city, the draining of a lake, and the harbour o ...more
A disappointing follow-up to the brilliant I, Claudius. I'd heard it didn't compare, but I had to found out for myself. The technique, wit and cleverness were still there, but the approach didn't lend itself to the subject. Claudius-as-bumbling-fool-in-the-shadows worked spectactularly because he was the perfect fly on the wall. Claudius-as-increasingly-mad-emperor was all nut job and no distance.

Funny, smart, and entertaining to a degree, but unlike its predecessor, it didn't have much of anypl
Timothy Boyd
I am not sure how historically accurate the book is. The story is a good read and has tons of historical events in it. Recommended
Oscar Despard
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This luxuriant work of historical fiction is a more literary sequel to “I, Claudius”, excelling that book in its measure of psychological insight into the emperor’s descent into slovenly madness. It is exceedingly well-written, and the pleasure of its erudition went some way to making up for its complete lack of pace. Graves has a tendency to dwell on administrative details for an inordinate length of time, which lends an admirable verisimilitude to its fictional nature as an autobiography, but ...more
Maan Kawas
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is fantastic!
Great historical fiction, and an excellent follow-up to I, Claudius. Claudius the narrator jumps all over the place and goes on some entertaining detours. I would have preferred a more fleshed-out Messalina, given how important she is to both the title and the plot.
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the end of I, Claudius, our favorite emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty is hoisted on the shoulders of the Praetorian Guard and finds himself the absolute ruler of the civilized world. With Claudius the God, we get to see what happens next, though a large part is devoted to the story of Herod Agrippa.

Claudius continues with his fictional autobiography, recounting his attempts to rule benevolently following the chaos of Caligula's reign, and to create a civil society from which the Republic
Luke Peterson
Feb 20, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: political nerds, business managers, leaders
Sequel to I, Claudius, this book is essentially the required descent of the pair (assuming its predecessor ended in the climax). It stands on its own as a good read, but a bit tedious and disappointing when viewed in the shadow of its older sibling.

It opens with the newly-minted Emperor Claudius standing in the blood of his nephew, ex-Emperor Caligula. Given how highly Graves built up Claudius as a hero in I, Claudius, this book is Graves' attempt to explain away the historically-documented fail
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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 Plato, Gr ...more

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