I, Claudius: From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius, Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54

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Vintage Books, 1989 - Fiction - 468 pages
11 Reviews
Considered an idiot because of his physical infirmities, Claudius survived the intrigues and poisonings of the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, and the Mad Caligula to become emperor in 41 A.D. A masterpiece.

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Reviewed October 1999
Wow, what a history this man must have had, to have lived through so many emperors and to have such a lineage to brag about. He was the grandson of Cleopatra and the stepson
to Emperor Agustus. this biography has little to do with his life but with the people and events he was a witness to. His grandmother, Livia was the center of the book as she was the most powerful person in Roman history at that time. She controlled everyone's lives but always from behind the scenes. Claudius survives all others and sees the reign of his nephew, Caligula, was was evil and insane. The names and constant deaths and births can make this confusing reading, but Claudius tries to remind you of who's who. For example a person might be introduced again named Cassis and you have forgotten who that is, Caludius will say..."remember he is the guard who faught against the Roman at the games and won."
I really enjoyed this type of writing and may other writers could be helped with this style. In the end when Caligula is killing everyone off I was annoyed that people were still left to make Claudius Emperor. But is this fiction or a historical work? This book made it to the top 100 of the "100 best English-Language Novels of the 20th Century" according to the editorial board of the Modern Library..


User Review  - edwastrivel - Overstock.com

This is a must read especially if you enjoyed the BBC series based on it. Read full review

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About the author (1989)

Robert Graves (also known as Robert Ranke Graves) was born in 1895 in London and served in World War I. Goodbye to All That: an Autobiography (1929), was published at age thirty three, and gave a gritty portrait of his experiences in the trenches. Graves edited out much of the stark reality of the book when he revised it in 1957. Although his most popular works, I, Claudius (1934) and its sequel, Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina (1935), were produced for television by the BBC in 1976 and seen in America on Masterpiece Theater, he was also famous as a poet, producing more than 50 volumes of poetry. Graves was awarded the 1934 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for both I, Claudius and Claudius the God. Also a distinguished academic, Graves was a professor of English in Cairo, Egypt, in 1926, a poetry professor at Oxford in the 1960s, and a visiting lecturer at universities in England and the U.S. He wrote translations of Greek and Latin works, literary criticism, and nonfiction works on many other topics, including mythology and poetry. He lived most of his life in Majorca, Spain, and died after a protracted illness in 1985.

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