I, Claudius: Part Two

Cover of "I, Claudius : From the Autobiog...

Cover via Amazon

Realizing my slow reading pace and the fact that I have two vacations this month, I might not be able to reach my reading goal of 25 books this year. But here’s to hoping! There are SO many awesome books coming out this summer that it would be a shame if I couldn’t fit them all in!

And because of my impending vacations, I won’t be able to blog Masterpiece Monday next week, as I’ll be back in Vegas with a bff! Not to mention, in two weeks, my little brother and I will officially be in Tokyo!!! I’ve been spending my post-grad life job searching, working, and blogging, but I’m managing to study a bit of Japanese before we leave. Going to Tokyo is a dream come true, and I can only imagine how much crazy fun it will be!

Anyway, I’m over 200 pages, or 40%, into Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, so I wanted to summarize my thoughts on Chapters 8-14. The previous chapters discussed Claudius’ failed marriages, his current which produces his son Drusillus. He also talks about his historian role models, Livy and Pollio.

It gets interesting when Augustus’ wife Livia begins to eliminate her enemies to ensure that her son Tiberius will fill the throne. Postumus is still Augustus’ son and potential heir, so Livia falsely accuses him of raping Claudius’ sister Livilla. Postumus manages to tell Claudius the truth before he’s banished to a small island in the Mediterranean.

The wars in Germany escalate, and although Claudius begs Augustus for permission to fight, his physical conditions are too much of an obstacle. So he continues to write history, while keeping informed by his beloved brother Germanicus, who’s serving as a commander.

Eventually Germanicus tells Augustus the truth about Postumus. Augustus then secretly exchanges Postumus with a slave who looks very similar to him. Livia suspects something’s afoot, and is determined to rid herself of her husband. Given all the rumors of Livia poisoning various relatives, Augustus refuses her cooking and instead only eats figs off their trees. Unfortunately, Livia is able to smear poison on the figs, and Augustus dies. All her lies and murders prove fruitful as Tiberius becomes the second emperor of Rome.

Although there’s enough family drama in I, Claudius to make a soap opera, it’s clear that this story would be better suited for television or the big screen than in print. Claudius’ mission is to tell the history of his family accurately, but he could use an entertainment factor. I appreciate all the facts and details, but I only wish this novel could be less dry and more conversational.

If I want to be able to read the summer bestsellers, I better finish this book this month. You can bet that if I don’t have it done by the time I leave for Japan, I will make use of my 11 hour flights!

Don’t miss me too much, I’ll be back blogging sometime next weekend!

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