I had much affection for the intelligent, bumbling, selfdeprecating, and humorous historianwriter he was portrayed in Robert Graves’s book “I, Claudius”.
The year was A.
In this sequel, Graves picked up the story from the point where Claudius, the 51yearold crippled historian who had infantile paralysis and aphasia, was acclaimed Emperor of Rome against his own desire.
How would he, whom many had dismissed as a fool, fare and survive as Emperor when all his predecessors were either poisoned or assassinated?
Graves said in the Introduction that "no character is invented.
" For readers who love history, this book is so well researched it makes for fascinating and rewarding reading.
It is a long book (555 pages) with many characters, each colorfully depicted.
It also records Claudius’ various public works, reforms, laws, decrees, and conquests.
I have to admit that this detailed rendering of history did not engage me as well as “I, Claudius” did.
Nevertheless, it has many merits and parts of the book kept me sufficiently intrigued.
What interested me most is how the New Testament in the Bible is corroborated by this piece of Roman history.
I learned more about the various kings (e.
, Herod, the Great) and even Salome (Herodias daughter who had John the Baptist’s head served on a platter), as well as the religious practices and events in Jerusalem.
I understood why the crazy Emperor Caligula’s insistence on having his statues installed in the Holy of Holies of the Temple in Jerusalem was an outrageous affront to the Jews.
I found out the fate of Pontius Pilate who had Jesus of Nazareth crucified and marveled at how poetic and divine justice was served.
There is a tongueincheek account of the beginnings of Christianity as a Jewish cult.
The first four chapters present a heartwarming and entertaining account of the friendship between Claudius and Herod Agrippa, the Jewish King.
(view spoiler)[Herod Agrippa’s history was closely bound up with that of Claudius.
Son of Herod the Great, Herod Agrippa was a scoundrel with a golden heart, full of theatrical excesses and perennially debt ridden.
He was incredibly resourceful, astute and had great diplomatic skills even though he was a shrewd and convincing liar.
He repeatedly warned Claudius not to trust anyone, advice which the latter sadly did not heed to his own peril.
Herod Agrippa was so disarmingly charming, it is impossible not to like him despite his ambitions and threat to Claudius' reign.
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 Romeagainst all oddsand 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 republican government.
I thought this was a fairly interesting reading that explains the end of Claudius's reign and the ascendance of Nero, but also wraps up the series on a bittersweet note.
Messalina's betrayal and Claudius's cynicism create the climax of the book, and his reign then spirals depressingly downward until he's poisoned by Agrippina.
Graves does create a plausible explanation for Claudius's marriage to Agrippina, which is something I'd categorize under "what was Claudius thinking?" forever.
(view spoiler)[Claudius's slow turn away from republicanismwhile expected, if you know anything about the history of Romeis rooted in his cynical (and perhaps untrue) realization that the People and Senate of Rome deserve the government that they have under the JulioClaudians.
He attempts through total inaction to make Nero into the worst possible ascendant Caesar, and hopes that Nero will so mistreat the populace that they will revolt.
Britannicus will lie in wait until that day, at which point he'll restore the Republic.
(Alas, this is obviously not how things turn out at all.
) This is one way to explain how Claudius could have possibly thought that marrying Agrippina and adopting Nero was a good idea, but it's a pretty depressing one.
I'm not sure how I feel about it.
On one hand, it's pretty difficult to make the end of Claudius's reign anything but depressing; on the other, it means that Claudius spends the last five years of his life just whiling away time, attempting to make Nero as terrible as possible (by bringing Seneca back from Corsica! so many shots fired).
(hide spoiler)] Claudius The God Graves, Robert Livres NotRetrouvez Claudius The God Et Des Millions De Livres En Stock SurAchetez Neuf Ou D Occasion Claudius The God Robert Graves, Derek Jacobi, CSA WordClaudius The God Robert Graves, Derek Jacobi, CSA WordLivres Passer Au Contenu Principal Bonjour, Identifiez Vous Compte Et Listes Retours Et Commandes Testez Prime Panier Livres En Franais Go Rechercher Bonjour EntrezClaudius The God By Robert Graves Book Analysis DeUnlock Thestraightforward Side Of Claudius The God With This Concise And Insightful Summary And Analysis This Engaging Summary Presents An Analysis Of Claudius The God By Robert Graves, The Fictionalised Autobiography Of The Titular Character, Who Unexpectedly Became Emperor In CEThis Volume Of The Autobiography Follows On From I, Claudius And Explores Claudius Time As EmperorClaudius The God EBook De Robert Graves Lisez Claudius The God De Robert Graves Disponible Chez Rakuten Kobo Claudius Has Survived The Murderous Intrigues Of His Predecessors To Become, Reluctantly, Emperor Of Rome Here He Recou CLAUDIUS THE GOD Achat Vente Livre Parution Pas CherVite Dcouvrez CLAUDIUS THE GOD Ainsi Que Les Autres Livres De Au Meilleur Prix Sur Cdiscount Livraison Rapide Claudius The God Project Gutenberg Self In Addition, The Real Claudius Was A Trained Historian And Is Known To Have Written An Autobiography Now Lost In Eight books That Covered The Same Time Period I, Claudius Is A First Person Narrative Of Roman History From The Reigns Of Augustus To Caligula Claudius The God Is Written As A Later Addition Documenting Claudius Own Reign Quarantining Claudius The God Thornfield Hall Quarantining Claudius The God Book Quarantine At Balti Library I Stare At A Used Copy Of Claudius The God I Have Stared At It Forhours At Least It Feels Like It I M Waiting For A Sign I Called My Cousin The Librarian When Will It Be Decontaminated No One Dies From Reading A Book, She Said The Official Library Book Quarantine Time Ishours Here ThenClaudius the God and His Wife Messalina By Robert 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 I, Claudius Wikipedia 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 problem establishing credibility and respect after he assumes leadership of the Roman Empire at its peak.
Early in his tenure, we see him coming to terms with having to fight back hard against his enemies.
It was hard to take his choices to execute some of these adversaries, especially when we learn how gullible Claudius is to manipulation.
The conquering of a big chunk of tribal England was a fun part of the tale.
He gets a chance to prove himself as commander in chief by applying his book learning on warfare.
He calls for a trick of a simulated giant heron to spook sentries in their sneak attack.
For shock and awe, he pushes his generals to do the hard work of transporting elephants to the battle.
Their ability to trample through otherwise impenetrable brush allows them to flank their enemies and freak them out.
The book is an emulation of a history, so it misses out on some of the engagement of a more realistic narrative flow, replete with lively dialog.
Because of foreshadowing, the events of his reign selected for focus have framing like a Greek tragedy.
As a child tutored by a Greek philosopher, he bonded with a boy Herrod Agrippa, who always admonished him to trust no one.
That message comes back to haunt him where it comes to his wife Messalina, who betrayed him in ways he could never recover from.
The irony of Herrod himself betraying him by seeking to carve out Egypt and the Far East from his empire was easier to accept.
All in all, this was a satisfying saga of the rare case of lovable and largely just supreme ruler and a meticulous and believable rendering of life at the top in the Roman Empire.
I can’t speak of the value of all the parts missed in this abridged edition, but it was not as pleasurable as “I, Claudius.
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 colead for the first twothirds or so of this book.
(This Herod was the grandson of Herod the Great, notorious for the Slaughter of the Innocents in Matthew 2, and cousin of Herod Antipas, who demands a miracle of Jesus in Luke 23.
Through Herod, Graves tells much of the story of the Jews under Roman domination, and in a book published in 1935 the account bears irresistible parallels to the subjugation of a later population of Jewsone description of a pogrom in Alexandria in particular seems a stunningly prescient forecast of Kristallnacht.
Speaking of prescience, consider Claudius's rationale for invading Britain: "I had other reasons for making war, too.
The one element in Northern France that was checking the orderly progress of civilization there was the Druidical cult, a magical religion which was still kept alive, in spite of all we could do to discourage or suppress it, by Druidical trainingcolleges in Britain from where it had originally been imported.
The Druids therefore, though they were not warriors themselves but only priests, were always fomenting rebellion against us.
" Change the geography, and for "training colleges" read "madrasas" and for "priests" "imams," and you have much of the U.
rationale for invading first Afghanistan and then Iraq.
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, Claudius” first because this one is its sequel.
One of the obstacles is that this paperback (Penguin, 2006), I think, is not readerfriendly due to its relatively small fonts; it’s a pity I can’t find any information in this volume on the font size used in publishing this book, therefore, the elderly might find reading its 32 chapters, 443 pages probably tedious, invaluable and unamused.
However, one may wonder how he’s miraculously imagined and written on something so ancient that we nowadays simply can’t visualize or speak reasonably, let alone descriptively or substantially on a required topic.
Supported by his powerful description, this excerpt on Britain would, I think, prove his expertise as one of the admirable writers on historical fiction.
BRITAIN lies in the northerly position, but the climate, though very damp, is not nearly so cold as one would expect; if properly drained the country could be made extremely fruitful.
The aboriginal inhabitants, a small, darkhaired people, were dispossessed about the time that Rome was found, by an invasion of Celts from the southeast.
Some still maintain themselves independently in small settlements in inaccessible mountains or marshes; the rest became serfs and mixed their blood with that of their conquerors.
Moreover, some might be eager to read on his campaign there and, for instance, this extracted part should suffice:
… The enemy bank was defended by two strong stockades, and the Britons, who now harassed the workers with arrows and insults, were building a third one behind that.
Twice a day a huge tide welled up into the river mouth – a commonplace in this part of the world, though never seen in the Mediterranean, except during storms – and hindered Aulus’s work greatly.
But he was counting on the tide as his ally.
… The struggle was a fierce one, and the British detachments posted higher up the stream, to prevent our men from crossing at any point there, came charging down to take part in the fight.
Aulus saw what was happening, and detailed the Second under a certain Vespasian to go upstream under cover of a forest and cross over at some now unguarded bend.
… Once over, they hurried downstream, meeting none of the enemy as they went, and an hour later suddenly appeared on the enemy’s unprotected right flank.
They locked shields, shouted, and burst right through to the stockade, killing hundreds of British tribesmen in a single charge.
238) First, a fivestar hat'soff 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 fivestar hat'soff 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 Emperor of his world.
I came to Claudius the God at a tough time of my life, and did a poor job of reading this book, rushing through it and having little recollection of chunks of the narration.
Still, a fun and interesting account from the human side of Claudius.
Go here for my friend Darwin8u's much, much better review of these two titles!
SRC 2018 Spring Task 15.
2, part 1 w/ IHFv1 and another completed series! 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 recommend seeing the Masterpiece Theater series adapted from these novels.
This is one of the few times when the movie far outstrips the novels it was based upon.
My hat is off to the writers who adapted these novels so perfectly.
Of course, also off to Robert Graves, who saw in Claudius the Stammerer more than just a tidbit of history and found in him a remarkable survivor.
“Most men—it is my experience—are neither virtuous nor scoundrels, goodhearted nor badhearted.
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): Gore Vidal (Lincoln, Burr, etc), Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies) and Norman Mailer (The Executioner's Song, Harlot's Ghost), John Williams (Augustus).
Obviously, Shakespeare is the master of historical fiction/drama but he is so obviously the deified king of historical fiction that the Shakespearian 'sun needs no inscription to distinguish him from darkness'.
Grave's duology must be intimidating to a historian of Imperial Rome.
The personality of Claudius has been so deeply set by Graves that I'm not sure any tweaking by modern historians will be able to fool with Grave's fool.
The Genius of 'I, Claudius' and 'Glaudius the God' is derived from Graves' ability to create such an amazingly rich and deep literary character.
The closest I've come across in recent times is Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell.
Historical fiction like this are rare and seem to grow more amazing with each year.
I rarely reread novels, and these Claudius novels might prove to be two exceptions to that rule.
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 Fiction that I yearn for but is so difficult to find.
Meet Claudius, the grandson of the murderous psychopath Livia, one of the most evil, historical characters I've yet to meet.
Livia is the second wife of Caesar Augustus, who isn't even aware that Livia is the one running the show in ancient Rome.
Livia doesn't miss a beat when it comes to power.
Even Cercei in the Game of Thrones series isn't this evil although she runs a close second I admit.
Claudius doesn't realize when younger that he's so very lucky to have suffered injuries during his premature birth that make him lame, a stutterer and prone to drooling whilst his head shakes continuously.
His own mother Antonia was embarrassed by him and wanted nothing to do with her youngest son.
But Claudius is indeed lucky to be afflicted in such a manner and he soon learns to take advantage of his afflictions in order to stay alive whilst Grandma Livia is busy killing everybody that stands in the way of her son by her first husband, Tiberius, from inheriting the throne from his stepfather Augustus.
It's hard work for Livia when it comes to killing Augustus's only child Julia, and all her children, but what's a mother to do when they stand in the way of her son Tiberius?
Claudius is the original Columbo if you remember this great detective series popular during the 70's and 80's.
Columbo plays dumb to the arrogant killers that he seeks to bring to justice while said killers consider him too worthless to fear.
Then they get sloppy and Columbo in his wrinkled raincoat is ready to pounce.
As we say in the south, Columbo and Claudius were playing possum.
Claudius is rejected and unloved but soon finds kindred spirits as he hangs out at the Roman library indulging his love of history.
He even writes a couple of history books in his spare time although everyone still considers him an idiot.
He does manage to make a few loyal friends in his lifetime.
Tiberius is Claudius's uncle, the only brother of Claudius's heroic father, who had found military glory.
Cruel Livia decided to kill her son Germanicus, when he wouldn't do what his mama wanted anymore.
Once he's gone Livia sets to work killing off Claudius's older brother and any other capable male child in the family that stands in her way.
Claudius just keeps drooling and shaking his head in order to stay alive.
There was a family tree of the Julian family at the front of the book which was a big help keeping all the characters straight since a lot of them had the same name.
I looked at the family tree again after finishing the book and realized that Claudius and his evil niece are the last 2 standingeveryone else had been murdered.
This was The Wars of the Roses on steroids.
Claudius continues to act stupid and somehow manages to survive when his Uncle Tiberius takes the throne as Rome's new Caesar.
Tiberius wisely lets Livia rule Rome while he enjoys life to the fullest and constantly seeks new and disgusting ways to find pleasure.
After 10 years Tiberius dies and his nephew Caligula, the son of Claudius's older brother Germanicus, is proclaimed Caesar.
Caligula doesn't seem to be an evil person at first but uses his charm to gain friends and supporters.
He even managed to charm and survive his greatgrandma's killing spree.
Somewhere along the way Caligula goes absolutely nuts and starts killing everybody, left and right due to his cowardly, paranoid fear that someone is out to get him.
After a few years everybody is indeed out to get him as he murders the rich Roman citizens that have been coerced into remaking their wills, proclaiming Caligula their new heir.
This way they can at least save their family from himbetter poor than dead I suppose.
In order to survive, Claudius gives his nightmare nephew all of his money before being asked.
The newly indigent Claudius has to live at the palace with his psycho nephew and wisely embraces his role as the butt of Caligula's jokes.
After subjecting his household guards to extremely cruel treatment, they depose and murder Caligula while looking kindly upon the cowering Claudius when he is discovered hiding in the palace.
They then decide to make him their new Caesar with Claudius offering generous gifts of gold to keep them happy.
Just shows that it pays to be nice to peopleall people.
It wasn't a minute too soon either as Claudius discovers Caligula's papers showing that Claudius was the next to be murdered.
Makes me wonder if the real Claudius was aware of his dire situation and was behind the household guards revolt.
Claudius has carefully avoided making enemies during his chaotic life and soon brings peace and financial solvency to his realm as it slowly recovers from the demonpossessed Caligula's reign of madness.
The rest of the book details Claudius's private life, marriages and his political ability as Caesar.
Claudius's ability to survive such perilous times made for fascinating reading.
A true survival story with an unlikely hero.
I've never been that interested in Roman times but this book is a must read for anyone interested in learning the basics of Roman history.