Read Claudius the God by Robert Graves Online


In the sequel to I, Claudius a republican Roman Emperor writes the story of his reign.Men classed Claudius as a pitiful fool. But the reign he describes is far from folly. Reluctantly launched into the purple, he emerges as a man who erred on the side of good and credulity. It is the common people and the common soldiers who sustain him in his efforts to repair the damageIn the sequel to I, Claudius a republican Roman Emperor writes the story of his reign.Men classed Claudius as a pitiful fool. But the reign he describes is far from folly. Reluctantly launched into the purple, he emerges as a man who erred on the side of good and credulity. It is the common people and the common soldiers who sustain him in his efforts to repair the damage of Caligula's reign, in his relations with the Jewish king, Herod Agrippa, his conquest of Britain, and his final reckoning with his promiscuous wife, Messalina.In one of the finest historical reconstructions of the century Robert Graves has created a character to compare with Dostoyevsky's Prince Myshkin.Cover illustration: Brian Pike...

Title : Claudius the God
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ISBN : 9780140004212
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 443 Pages
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Claudius the God Reviews

  • Henry Avila
    2019-01-17 18:39

    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 so go back to the intolerable barracks. Claudius, is found behind a curtain in the palace, shaking ( more than the curtain) scared to death, to state it mildly, expects the rampaging soldiers seeking revenge on the escaped assassins, to kill him like so many others, in the aftermath of the butchering of his predecessor. At first he refuses the dubious honor, but there is nobody left, and he wants to live, all other obvious candidates have died mostly violently, and plainly unwillingly, but he is from the Imperial family the poor, pathetic creature, the soldiers hoist him on their shoulders, a parade ensues, showing Claudius, to the happy citizens, and proclaim him Caesar. The reluctant, amazed Roman Senate, not known for bravery, scatters, so does his terrified rivals, the few still inside the building, confirms his status. His first act, ordering the killers to be liquidated, Claudius hated the brutal Caligula, still these men were a threat to him, they must be severely punished or another person might get the same bad idea, on the new Emperor. Messalina his intelligent, devious third wife, is delighted at the rise of her old husband, to absolute power in Rome (who would have been silly enough, to forecast it ?) married when just 15, the very pretty girl, to a decrepit, ugly , stupid man of 50, with no future and often, no money either... but the always promiscuous woman, had compensations. A member of the elite, of the elites, not anybody higher than her new family, and now she was a rich, powerful, celebrity, people noticed her, talked about, and the scandalous rumors flowed to the ends of the Empire, everyone knew about the debaucheries, except the loving husband, who would have the courage to tell him...His close friend the future Jewish king (thanks to the Emperor), charismatic, extremely amusing, and able Herod Agrippa, advises Claudius at the beginning of his reign, both were students together, when children, he says to the monarch, never trust anyone and proves it later... Claudius had a new, expensive port for the city of Rome built, in Ostia, new aqueducts for the quickly expanding, thirsty capital, a large lake drained for farmlands ( or tried to), desperately needed, but his most famous, lasting accomplishment was the conquest of Britain, after a tough, long struggle, but popularity is fleeting, a crop failure can cost a ruler the throne, and his enemies are everywhere, ready to strike... " Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown". Shakespeare knew the public well.

  • Darwin8u
    2019-01-23 18:15

    “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 MessalinaI, 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.

  • ``Laurie Henderson
    2019-02-15 00:15

    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.SPOILERS AHEAD! 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 standing - everyone 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 does 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 great-grandma'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 re-making their wills, proclaiming Caligula their new heir.This way they can at least save their family from him - better 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 people - all 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 demon-possessed 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.

  • Michael
    2019-01-16 18:17

    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.”

  • Sinem A.
    2019-02-05 19:37

    ilk kitaptan biraz daha heyecanlıydı özellikle kitabın sonuna doğru olaylar epey hareketlendi. Yazarın esprili anlatımı tarihi olayları bu kadar güzel ve gündelik bir olaymış gibi anlatması ve hala geçerliliğini koruyan tespitleri harika.

  • Susana
    2019-02-12 22:19

    (review in English below)Muito bom! Apesar das contrariedades derivadas de falhas na tradução e/ou na revisão (alguns exemplos nos updates), a fantástica qualidade desta narrativa não se perdeu. Agradou-me imenso o modo como Robert Graves conseguiu incorporar algum humor na sua escrita, sem perder a credibilidade histórica. Imperdível! So good!In spite of the annoyance caused by the several mistakes in the translation and proofreading, the amazing quality of this narrative didn't get lost.I immensely enjoyed the way Robert Graves managed to incorporate some humor in his writing, without losing historical credibility.Unmissable!

  • umberto
    2019-01-27 00:19

    3.5 starsSince 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 reader-friendly 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, dark-haired people, were dispossessed about the time that Rome was found, by an invasion of Celts from the south-east. 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. … (p. 211)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. … (p. 238)

  • Knjigoholičarka
    2019-02-05 18:17

    Koliko god da mi se dopada gomiletina istorijskih događaja koje je Grejvs sjajno posložio u pregledan timeline, toliko mi nije jasna njegova potreba da u neku ruku amnestira Klaudija, predstavi ga kao sveca, previše bolećivog na svoje žene, sluge, prijatelje... tolika povodljivost, bezvoljnost, naivnost i beskičmenjaštvo nekako ne idu ruku pod ruku sa britkom inteligencijom, idejama i učenošću kakvu je Grejvs dodelio Klaudiju u svojim knjigama.A i moram da priznam da bez Kaligule nema zabave. :D

  • Emily
    2019-01-29 17:35

    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 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 republicanism - while expected, if you know anything about the history of Rome - is rooted in his cynical (and perhaps untrue) realization that the People and Senate of Rome deserve the government that they have under the Julio-Claudians. 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)] Basically, it all boils down to ladies, amirite? Can't live with 'em (you get poisoned), can't live without 'em (you lose the will to live). It's appropriate but sad that this book ends with Seneca describing Claudius's arrival in heaven and subsequent dismissal to hell. It's yet another person who hated Claudius (he exiled Seneca from Rome for eight years) talking up his faults, dismissing the good that he did for Rome. I've used the word "depressing" multiple times in this review, and I think that sums up my thoughts on the book. It's well-written and I enjoyed it more than the first (especially Herod Agrippa! what a life), but there's just no way to put a positive spin on the ending. It's not that literature necessarily needs a happy ending - most good literature actively steers away from that, actually - but it's just so hard to read about Claudius's efforts when you know that Nero is next in line. No one deserves that, least of all Claudius."I talked liberty to many of my friends and, you know how it it is, when one talks liberty everything seems beautifully simple. One expects all gates to open and all walls to fall flat and all voices to shout for joy."

  • cheeseblab
    2019-01-17 23:32

    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 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 Jews--one 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 training-colleges 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.S. rationale for invading first Afghanistan and then Iraq.

  • Laysee
    2019-02-05 00:33

    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 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.g., 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 tongue-in-cheek account of the beginnings of Christianity as a Jewish cult. The first four chapters present a heart-warming 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. (hide spoiler)]The hero that stole this story is rightfully Claudius himself. What does his report book look like? (view spoiler)[He had his heart in the right place and despite several political blunders and errors in judgment, he acted for the public good in the widest possible sense. He threw himself into large scale engineering projects that improved the life of all in Rome. He cleaned up the political and financial processes and abolished Caligula's self-serving edicts. He was a hands-on Emperor and sat on the judges' bench to administer justice. In fact, I developed a great respect for him. His downfall? He loved his wife, Messalina, a lustful and power hungry woman, trusted her too much, and gave her too much power. I felt sorry for Claudius who was bitterly betrayed by a woman he loved. Calpurnia, his former prostitute lover, was more true to him than Messalina ever was. In this, Claudius was a fool.(hide spoiler)]“Claudius the God” reads like a 3½ star book to me. I read most of it with enthusiasm and was impatient with the factual bits that carried less human interest. Still I found a great quotation I can modify for use should I ever get stuck when giving a public speech or talk: "Words fail me, my Lords. Nothing that I might utter could possibly match the depths of my feelings in this matter."

  • Mikos
    2019-01-22 16:38

    After finishing Claudius the God and his wife Messalina I was a bit disappointed, I absolutely loved I, Claudius so my expectations were high (almost never a good thing). I was expecting the same amount of plotting and betrayal which was just stupid on my part, given the fact that almost the entire royal family had been wiped out in book 1. There are simply not enough people to keep up the same rate of plotting. Letting it stew for a few days I decided to give this book 4 stars, just like in I, Claudius the writing is great and feels authentic. Claudius is a great main character and you truly feel and root for the guy. It’s a (fictional) self-written biography so it makes sense that it feels a bit self-serving sometimes. But knowing Claudius it doesn’t come across as annoying or out of character. Claudius is really a good guy (although a bit naive). Just as I, Claudius it’s a dense book where a lot happens and a lot of names pop up.Just as in the first book we follow Claudius, now in his new role as emperor of the Roman Empire. A role he never expected to fulfil or even wanted too (great credentials for a ruler). After Caligula and to a lesser extent Tiberius there is a lot of work to be done. Given the fact that it takes longer to build something then to destroy it, it makes sense that a lot of the book focuses on recovering from the times of Caligula. While Claudius still holds the hope that someday he can give up his rule and return the empire to the republic, economically and in terms of lawgiving there is just too much to be done. Giving up control is just not possible now, chances that it will put the empire in civil war are huge. So Claudius together with his wife Messalina takes up the role of putting things right. While he focuses most on building projects, economic reform and changing legislations, there is still some plotting and betrayal (It’s still Rome). There are two big storylines that deal with this, both concerning people that are (sadly) close to Claudius’s heart. One concerns trouble in the east where kings plot and where the tensions between Jews and non-Jews play a central role (some guy named Jesus pops up briefly too). The other one takes place close to home where Claudius gets played for a fool, while the whole of Rome is in the know. Relatively innocent senators, consuls and others are being setup and killed too cover up the bigger plot that’s going on. Both are slow building plots that end strong (and a bit sad for poor Claudius). In the meantime Claudius manages to rebuild Rome’s economy and even manages to conquer Britain getting his own triumph in the process (pretty cool for a cripple). During the end of his reign Claudius focuses on his succession, not giving up on his hopes for a return to the republic and giving power back to the people. Claudius plan eventually fails. Although historically you already know his plan is not going to happen, you truly feel Claudius’s pain when his plan falls apart. Especially when you know who is ultimately going to succeed him (Nero). After some deliberation I’m giving this one 4 stars. Some great writing, great main character and a good storyline. Comparing it to book one, it just isn’t that juicy. Having said that, if you liked the first book you will definitely like this one too.

  • Sara
    2019-02-03 17:14

    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.

  • Maureen
    2019-02-01 17:23

    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 efforts are somewhat thwarted by the corrupt system and the constant behind-the-scenes manipulation of the ruling classes. Chief among them, his wife, Messalina, plots his downfall and engages in the kinds of excesses that were common among Caligula's cohorts. She eventually receives her just desserts, breaking Claudius' heart in the process. There are other people who genuinely love Claudius, and eventually even his grandmother Livia comes to show him a grudging respect.Once again, Robert Graves exhibits his awesome talent in this gripping tale. I have read this duo of books at least three times, and plan to read them again. They are just that good.

  • Yanper
    2019-01-22 23:35

    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 novels.

  • Jack
    2019-01-22 00:32

    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 never even approached in the first and dealing with the realities his office as emperor, his idealism and virtue become marred somewhat by personal flaws and severe mistakes in leadership. But at the same time, he remains essentially true to the character we became familiar with in the first book. Claudius the God's biggest weakness is one common to sequels: having used certain elements to tremendous effect in the first book, Graves occassionally seems to overuse them in the second. Claudius chronicles many incidents and affairs that reflect great research and historical color, but which don't seem wholly essential to the evolution of the story. This is in part because the book lacks the self proscribing scope of the first. The first was basically about the establishment of the roman imperial government and the competitions for the throne thereof, the second about the actual administration of an empire. Still, focusing on this element compliments the first book to create a fuller picture of the times, and most of what Graves seeks to include - such as the public works projects - do seem to have been critical elements of Claudius's reign. Which elements work best in the book is wholly subjective. The conquest of Britain, for example, seems wholly critical to the narrative, and personally I was rather fond of Graves's extensive chronicling of King Herod's activities in Judea. On a related point, there are also some very intelligent and well reasoned digs at the roots of Christianity and the politics of Judaism in the early years AD. This series really is just phenomenally good. Both this and I, Claudius, take a while to read and to follow, but when they're finished you feel both satisfied and regretful that the experience has been completed. Perhaps that's why this review is several times longer than any of its predecessors.

  • NoellaVan Looy
    2019-01-17 20:25

    Zeer goed boek. Het is het tweede deel van Ik, Claudius, maar zeer goed apart te lezen. Het begint nadat Caligula vermoord is, en de militairen Claudius tot keizer uitgeroepen hebben. Claudius, de kreupele, de stotteraar, maar wel een zeer intelligent man. Behalve waar het zijn vrouw Messalina betreft, die hem om haar vinger windt en die hij niets kan weigeren en die dan ook vreselijk misbruik maakt zijn gevoelens voor haar en het vertrouwen dat hij haar schenkt.Het is een schier onmogelijke taak voor Claudius om te herstellen wat de twee vorige keizers de Romeinse staat en zijn inwoners aangedaan hebben, maar hij weet toch heel veel te bereiken tijdens zijn regering.Ik denk dat het boek historisch goed onderbouwd is, het enige minpuntje vond ik dat er veel verteld wordt over wat Claudius voor Rome gedaan heeft, en de voorbeelden die uitgelegd worden betreffen meestal de stad Rome zelf, maar hij is toch keizer van het uitgestrekte Romeinse rijk, er had wat meer aandacht mogen zijn voor wat hij voor of in de rest van het rijk verwezenlijkt heeft.

  • Linda
    2019-02-14 19:32

    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 intelligent, he was dirt dumb. He married the same woman three or four times, though their names were different. He was a good organizer and public works planner, though his projects fell apart more often than not, and he usurped his office of public trust.The author portrayed Claudius in different lights but never developed his personality, and I do mean personality as opposed to character. The mental picture I have of the physical Claudius is of a painted turtle with a corkscrew neck, arms and legs akimbo, riding a blind camel trying to evade an equally physically handsome lynch mob. The layout of the book itself could be likened to a horse's gait. My granddaughter, quite the little equestrian, could state this better than I can, but she is otherwise engaged at present. The author at times writes like a skittish horse afraid of its own shadow. The horse signals a change of subject or a movement through its quick canter. Finally, the horse reaches open pastures and gallops beautifully, but the gallop is shortlived because the horse cannot sustain any rhythm. What the author wrote is historically important. Consider the ministry of Jesus Christ, the advancement of Christianity, the Jewish practice of monotheism, the Jew 'problem,'the expansion of Western civilization, and the matters not listed as the stepping stones leading us from what we once were to what we have become today. The author's multiple writing styles and Claudius' questionable integrity did not help this reader to answer that question. Therein lies another enigma. How could the author have written this book any other way? Is his writing style not a realistic aid to answer some of the questions with which man has struggled to answer since the beginning of time whenever that may have been in billions of different eyes? Going by other reviews of this book, all excellent, I am not alone in my judgments of this book. I got mad at the book countless times and read profound passages countless times. The book and its characters remain things beyond my full understanding. Poor Claudius. Am I the fool for holding him in any regard at all? Where would I have stood had I lived in that day? Why did he marry his neice? Did he not know that madness runs in families?Thank you, Mr. Graves, for a good read.

  • Víctor Galán
    2019-01-20 22:26

    Estamos sin ninguna duda ante una de las mejores novelas históricas de la Historia y ante una de las obras cumbre del siglo XX y de la literatura inglesa. Casi todo en esta novela es perfecta con un ritmo ágil, una trama interesante y unos personajes, casi todos ellos carismáticos. La épica historia de la familia Julio-Claudia es narrada aquí con todo el esplendor que se merece. Solo un decepcionante final, en el que la personalidad de Claudio cambia abruptamente y el ritmo se vuelve excesivamente precipitado y falto del detallismo del resto del díptico formado por esta y la también estupenda "Yo, Claudio" evitan que alcance la máxima valoración, aunque se queda cerca. Muy cerca. En cualquier caso, puedo afirmar, sin ningún género de dudas que esta es la mejor novela de lo que llevo de año. Una obra colosal y maestra por momentos que se devora con verdadera pasión, devoción y ansia. Una joya eternamente perdurable. Una obra de arte.

  • Jennie
    2019-01-27 19:15

    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 that today's young classicists of both genders seem to do a pretty good job of fighting the patriarchy. And that we will all probably raise a feisty feminist crop of Medeas and Philomelas and Messalinas. And I get back to enjoying the ridiculous melodramatic Roman soap opera starring the lovable teddy bear Claudius because it is SO GOOD and SO FUN. And I am a giant nerd.

  • Kim
    2019-01-31 16:25

    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 in his first few months of being the new emperor. In some ways I should have enjoyed Claudius The God more than I, Claudius. Finally with Claudius we have a good, well better than any other emperor. After all I don't think he poisons anyone in the entire book, which was amazing in itself after the first book. He does seem to enjoy, or at least not to be bothered by, people getting killed in the arena games though which bugged me. And the story of Herod Agrippa was very interesting, most of it anyway, and I was always looking for references to Jesus or any of the early Christians (yes they were in there). So I should have enjoyed it more, but I didn't.To me the first book was filled with story. Story of people's lives. Granted they were crazy people running around poisoning or starving each other, but it was a story of the people. This seemed more of a instruction manual for Roman life. I learned so much about Roman life and of how the Romans really viewed the world around them, including their conquered territories and provinces. I learned way too much about it at times. He is telling me at one point that Galba burned one hundred and fifty stockaded villages, destroyed thousand of acres of crops, killed great number of Germans, took two thousand prisoners, lost twelve hundred men, its a long list of who did what. Galbinius meanwhile loses only eight hundred men, burns the timber shrines, destroys crops, village, and takes two thousand prisoners. And there are lots more generals and lots more burning and killing lists. Then there's lists of roads being laid, aqueducts and buildings being built, especially temples, every god I ever heard of and a lot I never heard of had their own temple. How he changed the alphabet by making three more letters, got quite a few pages although I'm still not sure why he insisted on changing the alphabet in the first place. But a lot of things like this slowed the action down to a crawl at times, then suddenly it would pick up again and I would be so interested, then back down to the crawl again.There are lots of other characters in the book, and they all act exactly like the people in the first book acted, like Romans I guess. His wife Messalina is an absolutely horrible person, but so are his other wives and just about every other important woman in both books. I found Herod's letter to Claudius about Jesus fascinating, in one section he says,"And there are now people who say that he was God and that they saw his soul ascend to Heaven after his death-just like Augustus's and Drusilla's-and claim that he was born at Bethlehem and that he fulfilled all the other Messianic prophecies in one way or another; but I propose to stop this nonsense once and for all. Only three days ago I arrested and executed James, who seems to be the chief intellect of the movement; I hope to recapture and execute another leading fanatic called Simon, arrested at the same time, who somehow escaped from prison."The book was worth reading, I think you would have to read I, Claudius first though, and it won't be for everyone, but I'd say to give it a try. Of course I say that about every book. :-}

  • Kynan
    2019-01-31 22:28

    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 content shows no sign of their publishing age (1934/1935), I guess because the referenced events are orders of magnitude older and there was no attempt to modernise the story, merely translate (OK, and perhaps add an element of excitement and intrigue).I listened to these books, the Recorded Books version read by Nelson Runger. The performance was quite well done and I had no problems with it.

  • Joan
    2019-01-18 00:22

    I had noticed several people had complained that the sequel was considerably worse than the first book but decided to give it a chance. Well, those reviewers were all correct. This book just dragged on and on and on. I'm not sure what made this book such a failure. It is written in a similar way to the first book. However, maybe the frist book covered the field more than people realized and there just wasn't enough original scandal left for this book. Claudius himself seems bored by this story. Somehow even the major deception in the book just didn't really impress as really tragic. No, I'm not talking about his discovery of Messalina's betrayal, I'm talking about the murder of the one person who really did love him. It does explain why Claudius did such an about face in terms of being active for the empire then just as he put it, becoming King Log. But the emotion simply wasn't there.

  • Dave
    2019-02-10 19:13

    As my review on "I, Claudius" stated, I really enjoy history, especially Roman history, and I really enjoy the Julio-Claudian dynasty.This book essentially picks up where the last one leaves off. It is a fictional account (based on real history) of the rule of Claudius as the emperor of Rome in the form of memoirs. The last book stops when Claudius becomes emperor, and this one starts at that point and goes right to the point prior to his death. It then includes three accounts of his death by real historians (including Roman historians), and then it includes a Roman satire of Claudius's fate in the afterlife by Seneca.I thoroughly enjoyed this perspective on the rule of Claudius, and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first book.

  • Kate
    2019-02-08 20:40

    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 anyplace to go.

  • Diamond
    2019-02-10 21:16

    One of my favorite books EVER. I simply adore Claudius; and find him lovable and charming. Graves breathes life into characters so historic and legendary, and makes the reader feel as though we are actually living in Ancient Rome. Graves does all this, while simultaneously keeping the integrity of history. It's the book that got me convinced I can read and really love historical fiction as a genre, as much as fiction. I've introduced this book to many friends, as it was introduced to me by a friend. I highly recommend it-- your perception of Roman history will be forever deepened!

  • Terence Manleigh
    2019-02-01 21:38

    The progress of Claudius the emperor reforming the Roman state is less irresistible than the spectacle of Claudius “the idiot” stepping up to power over the bodies of his blood-thirsty relatives, but this sequel to the brilliant “I, Claudius” has its pleasures. Claudius is still a delightful companion, and, thanks be to the gods, intrigues and depravity aren’t entirely absent from the proceedings. Required reading if you’ve read the first book.

  • Mike Robbins
    2019-02-12 19:19

    Messalina reminds me of an old girlfriend. She makes for a good story...and I mean both Messalina and Lorraine. Duplicitous and conniving. In one scene Messalina goes "camping" alone with a "friend" the night before "Claudius" comes back from a long trip to "Ostia." Wait, what?

  • Joe
    2019-02-07 19:42

    4.5 Stars! (I give goodreads 2 stars for not allowing this)I enjoyed this follow-up to 'I, Claudius' even more than the first book. Robert Graves strikes a great balance between describing the historic context and the character's stories. The book covers so much ground and alternates reading like a classic history book, a romance novel, a political drama, a comedy, and a fantasy. The standout sections for me were:1. Any part that Herod was featured (his escape from Jerusalem, as well as his rise to power and self-promotion to Messiah)2. Claudius' invasion of Britain - This feels like a climax of his whole arc across both books (1000 pages)3. Messalina's downfall - what a b***The end of the book comes suddenly and is impactful because the reader knows that Claudius was ultimately unable to fulfill his goals of restoring the Republic and also led to Nero's rise to power (actively assisted by Claudius). I deduct .5 stars because I'm torn on how Graves handled the final 50 pages, but I can't complain too much.Overall, an excellent read, and I would highly recommend both books to any history lover, somebody with even a passing interest in the Roman Empire, people who love a great story, or really most readers. I started reading these because they were a gift to me and I am very glad I did!Also, as a side note, reading the sections about the fights over ownership of Jerusalem and Palestine was oddly well-timed.

  • Newton Nitro
    2019-01-31 17:25

    CLÁUDIUS, O DEUS - Robert Graves | Como Sobreviver no Comando do Império Romano! | NITROLEITURAS #resenhaUm clássico dos romances históricos e tão revolucionário quanto EU, CLÁUDIO. Apesar de não ser tão dramático quanto o antecessor, essa sequência é também uma obra prima da ficção histórica contemporânea. Enquanto em EU,CLÁUDIO o tema unificador é a sobrevivência fora de uma posição de poder, CLÁUDIO, O DEUS é sobre a sobrevivência quando se está em uma posição de poder.O livro descreve, em primeira pessoa, os acontecimentos após a morte de Calígula e a ascenção de Cláudio como Imperador de Roma. Além da trajetória de Cláudio, Robert Graves também descreve a ascenção ao poder de Herod Agrippa, rei dos Judeus, e o modo como suas vidas estão intercaladas.Tendo terminado a leitura de CLÁUDIO, O DEUS, considero os dois volumes um único livro. O estilo da prosa é o mesmo, com Cláudio narrando em primeira pessoa e colocando seu ponto de vista e seus comentários dos acontecimentos, explicando suas motivações e ilustrando o leitor com detalhes peculiares do mundo romano do primeiro século DC.Conspirações palacianas, conspirações das cortes do Oriente, assassinatos, envenenamentos, e personagens inesquecíveis tornam a leitura das mais deliciosas. Em um romance desse tipo, muitas páginas são dedicadas à exposição, mas Graves tem uma prosa belíssima e cheia de humor e inteligência, e a informação passada é fascinante. Nunca imaginei que o mundo antigo fosse tão complexo e ambíguo quanto o nosso mundo contemporâneo.Meu personagem favorito, além de Cláudius, foi Herodes, o rei dos Judeus, uma espécie de Han Solo do mundo antigo, que, ao modo de Caligula, meio que enlouqueceu no final de sua vida quando botou na cabeça que era o Messias, e quase organizou uma guerra tremenda contra a ocupação romana dos territórios da Síria e Palestina. Só essa saga épica já vale o livro, mas deixaria de fora a história de Messalina, a manipuladora e venenosa esposa de Cláudio.Um livro fascinante e de leitura obrigatória para quem curte romances históricos!RECOMENADO PARA QUEM:Curte romances históricos.Curte a história de Império Romano.Curte histórias com conspirações, traições, disputas de poder, ação, sangue, violência e vingança para todos os lados.Curte uma prosa bem escrita e deliciosa de ler.Curte romances em primeira pessoa.É fã de Bernard CornwellCLÁUDIUS, O DEUS - Robert Graves Kindle Edition 2006, Penguin, 452 pgs - 1ed 1934Período de Leitura: 01.08.2015 a 07.08.2015SINOPSEDando continuidade à saga dos Cláudios, o livro Cláudio, o Deus é o segundo e último volume do romance de Robert Graves sobre a história da notória família de imperadores romanos. Embora obra de ficção, ela proporciona muitas informações sobre o funcionamento do estado romano, o grau de cultura alcançado nessa civilização e, sobretudo, é uma análise impiedosa sobre a conquista do poder absoluto e as terríveis conseqüências que ele invariavelmente desencadeia.Tibério Cláudio César, um aleijado, gago e um presumível tolo, descendente de Augusto, vai se tornar Imperador dos romanos, e surpreendentemente realizará conquistas marcantes. Este é o tema central deste segundo volume, que nos conta as intrigas palacianas, as conspirações de um senado quase sempre corrupto e subserviente, os acordos e os amores lascivos dos personagens, que ansiavam pela permanência no poder, pontuados pelos atos heróicos de comandantes e soldados profissionalmente treinados para a conquista.É um verdadeiro acerto de contas que Cláudio promove com sua época e, ao deixá-lo registrado para a posteridade, permitiu que escritores como Robert Graves desvendassem os acontecimentos que marcaram o destino da dinastia dos Cláudios. Dinastia criada por personagens marcantes como Otávio Augusto e sua ambiciosa mulher Lívia; Tibério, que deu vitórias e derrotas para Roma e que morreu para o proveito de seu filho Calígula, por sua vez o responsável por instaurar um regime de loucura e terror enquanto esteve vivo.BONUS STAGE!Algumas informações sobre o fantástico ROBERT GRAVESRobert Graves nasceu em 1895 em Wimbledon, sendo filho de Alfred Perceval Graves, escritor irlandês, e de Amalia Von Ranke. Saiu da escola para alistar-se na Primeira Guerra Mundial, tornando-se capitão no Royal Welch Fusiliers – corpo de fuzileiros reais galeses.A sua vocação primordial foi a poesia, e o seu livro Selected Poems tem sido publicado nas séries de clássicos do século XX. A não ser pelo ano que passou como professor de literatura inglesa na Universidade do Cairo, em 1926, ganhou sua vida como escritor, principalmente de romances históricos, entre os quais estão incluídos: I Claudius; Claudius the God; Count Belisarius; Wife to Mr. Milton; Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth; Proceed, Sergeant Lamb; The Golden Fleece; They Hanged My Saintly Billy; e The Isles of Unwisdom.Escreveu sua autobiografia, Goodbye to All That, em 1929, livro rapidamente consagrado como um clássico moderno. O The Times Literary Suplement aclamou essa obra como “um dos mais cândidos auto-retratos de um poeta, com verrugas e tudo o mais, jamais pintados”, reconhecendo-a também como um documento de excepcional valor sobre a guerra.Seus dois livros mais polêmicos de não-ficção são The White Goddess, que apresenta uma visão nova do impulso poético, e The Nazarene Gospel Restored (escrito em parceria com Joshua Podro), um re-exame do primitivo cristianismo. Traduziu Apuleio, Lucano e Suetônio para as séries clássicas da editora inglesa Penguin, e compilou o primeiro dicionário moderno de mitologia grega, The Greek Myths.Onde Comprar:Amazon (Inglês)Estante Virtual (Português)PRÓXIMA LEITURA:THANKS FOR THE FEEDBACK - Douglas Stone e Sheila Heen329 pgs. Penguin Books (2014) - Kindle EditionUm livro que comecei a ler de bobeira e que, de repente, se tornou IMPORTANTÍSSIMO, pois aprender a receber FEEDBACK dos leitores, editores, revisores, etc. é VITAL para qualquer escritor! Estou curtindo muito o livro, e assim que terminar coloco minhas anotações aqui!E vamos ler porque ler é doidimais!