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I, Claudius

 
 
Khethil
 
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 10:04 am
Just finished this one the other day. I read a great deal, working hard on the classics and contemporary literature. I was going to go back and start posting back-reviews but realizing what a daunting task this was, I decided to start posting just as I finish each one.

I, Claudius
From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius (Born 10 B.C., Murdered and Deified A.D. 54).
Robert Graves
ISBN: 0-679-72477-X
Publisher: Vintage Internationsl

OVERVIEW: This is part one of a set of works done by Mr Graves to put together a "deduced" autobiography of Tiberious Claudius; Ceasar of Rome right after the rule of Caligula. Although based on some historical records, the author's taken quite a large license in weaving an "autobiography" that ingraciates the reader. It's written in a very fluid style - and not dry at all. Claudius was thought to be "lame" due to his habit of stammering, physical twitching and the like. Because of this, he was treated badly by the royal family but "kept around" because of his bloodline. Through this unique mindset we get a very personable, very down-to-earth set of tales on everything from the reign of Ceasar Augustus to the exploits of Germanicus and much more. If you have interest in roman history and how it worked on a human-level, I'd wholeheartedly recommend this work - it's quite lively reading. I wouldn't count the book as completely historically-accurate, I nonetheless recommend it (along with the proverbial grain of salt)


PRO'S:
  • Readability
  • Insight into the destructive power-struggles that plagued ancient Rome.
  • Charming anecdotal style
  • Educational insight into the reigns of Augustus and Caligula
  • Many amusing (educational?) events described; many worth quoting
CON'S:
  • As a 'derived work', historical accuracy is in question
  • Complex relationships (royal family), delineated too deeply, often get confusing.
HIGHLITES:
  • Young claudius catches the wolf-pup (pp 59)
  • Aristocratic womens' view of Marriage in ancient Rome (pp 95)
  • The Writing of Hisotory from historian Livy (pp 123)
  • Faking It, in the gladiator's arena (pp 139)
  • Insights on Monarchy -vs- Republic from Augustus' Reigh (pp 163)
  • Changes in German culture as a result of the Roman Occupation (pp 164)
  • Young Caligula; Legion's 'Mascott' under Germanicus (pp 213)
  • Roman Senate incessantly teasing Tiberius Ceasar on his ineptnes (pp 225)
  • Tragic death of Germanicus (pp 277)
  • Pear Tree sentanced to Death for bearing Bad Fruit (pp 294)
  • Brutality of Macro/Execution with Malice of Sejanus (pp 365)
  • Tiberius Ceasar's Paranoia inflicted on the people (pp 367)
  • Caligula's insanity, brutality and hillarious absurdities (pp 403 on)
Rating (1-10): 6.8
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Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 11:35 am
@Khethil,
Thank you for this helpfull examination of I Cladius. I might pick up the work sometime (when I done with all the other works that I want to read anytime soon Wink). In the past I have written many bookreviews, all in Dutch though so I will have to do it one book at a time as well.
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Justin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 12:53 pm
@Khethil,
Excellent format, thank you for this review. We may have to incorporate this type of format into all the reviews here. Thanks again for the insight!
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