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Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina Paperback – International Edition, October 23, 1989
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Top Customer Reviews
You must recall, however, whether you have read the book already or are considering reading it, that Graves sets about to write a fictional autobiography. That is the style that he chose and I think he does it brilliantly. In I, Claudius we see the various emperors of Rome through Claudius's eyes - we are shocked by their terror, their blood-thirstiness and the general tyranny of their rule. Claudius, as a Republican, allows us to see these things in a manner that we would understand. In this book, however, Graves is trying to give us insight into the mind of an emperor: we see the difference between what occupies his mind now and what did when he was just a citizen. We also see the manner in which he justifies his actions to himself. He is constantly claiming that his actions were not tyrannical, that he was not exercising imperial authority but that he was doing what any reasonable man in his circumstances would have done. In these passages Graves is making it clear to us that he is writing about Claudius as Claudius would have seen himself.
After all, it would have been rather boring to just have another book on how terrible this or that emperor was - here, Graves has attempted, quite boldly, to put us in the shoes of the emperor and see how a reasonable man could fall prey to the charms of virtually unlimited power over the most powerful empire in world history.
I think he does it brilliantly.
Of course he's doomed from the start-there's hardly an Emperor who *wasn't* murdered, and poison probably qualifies as death by natural causes when you're Roman aristocracy-and his wife Messalina is quite a piece of work, but that doesn't stop the book from being a good read, especially in the earlier parts of the story where Claudius shows an unexpected capacity for efficient administration. The same wry humor and political intrigue that characterized "I, Claudius" are present here as well, and the cast-of-thousands are all distinguished quite well from each other. While "Claudius the God" is not as captivating as its predecessor, and is in fact quite a bit more depressing, it's a book worth reading. There is only one drawback to reading these two tales of intrigue and Imperial families: you'll find yourself wanting to go out and get a food taster afterwards...Read more ›
There is no other wasy to describe Claudius' marriage to Mesalina except to say it was very messy. Love is certainly blind and Claudius almost loses his life to the manipulative and treacherous young wife with her thousand lovers. Mesalina was a mess.
Graves documents that he used multiple sources other than Suetonius' Live of the Twelve Caesars. Suetonius wrote a hundred years after the reign of Claudius and thus had a republican axe to grind against all the Julio-Claudian family. Graves is far more sympathetic and balanced in his telling of the life of Claudius.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting, but it did drag a bit in places. I enjoyed "I, Claudius" more.Published 1 month ago by DJ
I am a huge fan of Robert Graves' I, Claudius From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius Born 10 B.C. Murdered and Deified A.D. Read morePublished 2 months ago by H. Lam
Reading Claudius The God (and I Claudius) is necessary for a fuller understanding - from a humanistic point of view - of the time. Wonderful bookPublished 3 months ago by Raye
This book was very informative but the topic wasn't nearly as interesting as I CLAUDIAS. It had a lot of rabbit trails that may have been of interest to the author, but not many... Read morePublished 3 months ago by C. Noonan
Although the historical info is interesting, the book drags significantly - especially in the first half.Published 4 months ago by David Freeman
If you are attracted by the plodding, exacting and referenced style of Claudius (and Graves), the book can be comfortably enjoyed by the fire with a whiskey or two. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting description of Roman Empire an de life an achievements of Claudius, in spite of his physical and mental problems, being able to build aqueducts,roads, great... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Marta L taboada