Audiobooks · Books

From The Reading Table: I, Claudius and Claudius The God

I, Claudius/Claudius the God by Robert Graves

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first encountered Claudius in paperback when PBS ran the British series. It was impossible to ignore. I read both books by Robert Graves, but I have to say that at the time my knowledge of Rome and its history was extremely limited. Fast forward a few decades, toss in a lot more knowledge of Rome and a return visit to Emperor Claudius via the audio versions of Graves’ books. The experience is even more interesting and amazing.

When I started connecting the dots of the history I had learned with the tales Claudius tells, I gained an entirely different understanding.

The first person account of encounters with historical names and places brings both the people and the history to life. Some of it terrifying. Some of it mundane.

Claudius survived a family that pretty much killed off anyone who got in the way. His journey was one of learning to keep out of sight while in plain sight (confusing, yes, but infinitely necessary). He lived in interesting times among interesting people and in places that we can only see in ruins.

The books are not for those who like their history cleaned up and tidy. History has never been either. I would like to suggest that the reader have more than a tendril of knowledge of the subject matter but in the end I’m not sure it would matter. If Claudius’ story captivates enough, it could lead you into an entirely new rabbit hole.

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