Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina

by Robert Graves | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0140004211 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingBookworm-ladywing of Madrid, Madrid Spain on 8/3/2006
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10 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Thursday, August 03, 2006
'Claudius the God' is actually part two of a two-part set, the second volume after the much-better-known 'I, Claudius'. The story is set in Rome at the time of the institution of Augustus, the first emperor, up to the accession of Nero, the last of the Julio-Claudian line of emperors (after this time, the imperial seat was more of a political prize to be fought for than a family bequest).


Historical accuracy

The novels are extremely well researched and composed works, yet sympathetic in nature. The novels were written as if Claudius were narrating his own life, and so are very subjective in its portrayal of the character of Claudius and his situation. Graves took great pains to make the narration plausible, mostly by the inclusion of some of the historical Claudius' own words and thoughts. This is especially evident in Claudius the God, where the majority of the book covers the works of Claudius' reign before delving into his personal life. The historical Claudius' extant speech to the senate on voting and juries, his translated letters to the residents of Trent and the Alexandrians, and the text of the Lyon Tablet are all included. Besides this, Graves worked in arguments said to have been made by the historical Claudius in favour of his policies, such as the reasoning for the Claudian letters, as outlined by Tacitus.

However, Graves was selective in his use of the ancient sources (primarily Tacitus and Suetonius), trusting their assessments only when it fit the situation. For example, the worst allegations against Tiberius and Caligula are repeated as fact, while similar allegations against Augustus are pinned on Livia's influence. Livia is made to confess to murders (Augustus, Gaius, and Lucius) that she is only alleged to have performed in a single ancient source (Tacitus). A common charge of the ancient historians against Claudius is that he was easily ruled by his wives and freedmen. Graves rejected this assertion when it comes to Claudius' major works and good deeds – as do modern historians. However, he accepts this same explanation as an excuse for the less acceptable or understandable actions of the historical Claudius. In Claudius the God, all capital executions are blamed on the scheming of Messalina, Agrippinilla, Narcissus, and Pallas. Graves carries this to the point where nearly all the dead seem to be innocent of any crime. This is clearly at odds with the records. The historical Claudius was the subject of more assassination attempts than any emperor before, as Caligula's death revealed that an emperor could indeed be killed and replaced. Undoubtedly some of those condemned for treason were guilty, while others were wrongly accused.

If you have seen the British series, you will enjoy this!


Journal Entry 2 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Now this is the subject of my first bookray!

What you should do:

1. When you receive the book please ensure that you journal it, and contact the next person in the list, so that you already have their address. If there is no answer after two attempts, please contact me!

2. Read it as soon as you can (if possible, don't keep it longer than 4 weeks... Yes, I know it's long!)

3. When you've finished reading it, make a journal entry, and tell us whether you liked it or not.


4. When you send the book on, please make a journal entry.

6. Enjoy!


THE BOOKRAY:

1) Canberrapenny (Austria)
2) BellaMack (Australia)
3) Froggirlwendy (Australia)
4) Butterflynoir (Portugal)(The book is here. BOOKRAY COMPLETED.)

Journal Entry 3 by wingBookworm-ladywing from Madrid, Madrid Spain on Saturday, October 14, 2006
It is on its way to CanberraPenny, in Vienna, Austria... I hope all who take part in this bookray will enjoy Claudius' adventures...

Journal Entry 4 by CanberraPenny from not specified, not specified not specified on Monday, October 16, 2006
Received this book today as part of the Bookray. Can't start reading it just yet but will hopefully be ready to send it on within the next fortnight.

Journal Entry 5 by CanberraPenny from not specified, not specified not specified on Friday, October 20, 2006
I did find time to start reading this book - I read about 100 pages but couldn't get into it and have so decided (reluctantly) not to finish the book and to send it on to BellaMack. The problem for me is that I always have trouble following anything about the early Romans or Greeks - don't ask me why, somehow their names always trip me up and I can't remember what I've read from one page to the next. It's a shame as I was really interested in reading this book - hope other readers have a better experience. This book will be posted (via slow mail) to BellaMack on 24 October 2006 - she may not receive the book for 4-6 weeks.

Journal Entry 6 by CanberraPenny at post office in Surface mail, A Book Relay -- Controlled Releases on Monday, October 23, 2006

Released 12 yrs ago (10/23/2006 UTC) at post office in Surface mail, A Book Relay -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

Sending this book on to BellaMack in Australia

Journal Entry 7 by BellaMack from St Helens, Tasmania Australia on Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Have really been looking forward to reading this book ! Thanks CanberraPenny for posting it to me and thanks to you Bookworm-lady for sharing it around :) I have three other books in front of it but will get to it asap.

PS Love the bookmark! Its beautiful Bookworm-lady....what a great idea!!

Journal Entry 8 by BellaMack from St Helens, Tasmania Australia on Thursday, November 23, 2006
Enjoyed this book, thank you Bookworm-lady for sharing :) Sending on to froggirlwendy on Tuesday.

Journal Entry 9 by froggirlwendy from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Sunday, December 03, 2006
Arrived safely today - another bookring YAY (I had better learn to speed read ASAP). Thanks Bellamack and Bookworm-lady for sharing this one with me :o) Will get to this one soon. Hugs.

Journal Entry 10 by froggirlwendy from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Monday, January 01, 2007
Unfortunately I have been struggling to keep my interest in this book as well. I have read a few chapters and won't even get close to finishing it soon. Maybe I need to watch the series or try the book again at a later time. Thanks for sharing this one with me.

Pulcherrima has PM'd (also to bookworm-lady) and requested to be last so I have PM'd butterfly-noir for address details.

Journal Entry 11 by froggirlwendy from Brisbane, Queensland Australia on Saturday, January 13, 2007
On it's way to butterfly-noir. Enjoy :o)

Journal Entry 12 by butterfly-noir from Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Friday, February 02, 2007
arrive last week, but I couldnt make the JE sooner...my tbr pille is getting whuite on the enourmos side but I'll try to be quick it whit.

thank you for the ray bookworm-lady and for sending it bellamack

Journal Entry 13 by butterfly-noir from Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Monday, May 05, 2008
I've read this book after reading I claudius, which I really loved. claudius the god is as the first a deep and sometimes hard to ready, its full of historical details. I dint enjoyed as much as the first one, it was harder to finish. but its was interisting to know the end of the story. I recommend both novels to anyone that like me is interested in the roman empire and its history.

thank you for the ray bookworm-lady. i'm wainting for buble74 answer to my pm.

Journal Entry 14 by butterfly-noir from Lisboa - City, Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Wednesday, July 02, 2008
sending this book to pequete who took it out of a virtual bookbox organised by me. enjoy!

Journal Entry 15 by Pequete from Bragança, Bragança Portugal on Saturday, July 05, 2008
It's here, thanks, b-noir!

Journal Entry 16 by Pequete from Bragança, Bragança Portugal on Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I'm holding this book for too long without succeding in reducing my TBR pile enough to get to it. Since there are other people wanting to read it, I'll open a bookring so that others have a chance to read it without having to wait too long:

1- Marcenda
2- Kizmiaz
3- ??
... and back to me

The book was sent yesterday to Marcenda by mail.

Journal Entry 17 by wingMarcendawing from Carcavelos, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Friday, April 17, 2009
It's here! Thank you so much, Pequete. I'll read it as soon as I can.

Journal Entry 18 by wingMarcendawing from Carcavelos, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Thursday, April 23, 2009
kizmiaz is able to read it sooner than me, so, I'm sending it to him today.

Journal Entry 19 by kizmiaz from Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Just got it, thanks Marcenda & Pequete.
I'll get to it as soon as I finish the one I'm reading now.

Journal Entry 20 by kizmiaz from Belém , Lisboa (cidade) Portugal on Wednesday, May 13, 2009
This is a brilliantly delivered historical novel, just like the previous volume was.
The way the author delivers the story is impressive. There’s a lot of real historical investigation and, it seems, little novelisation and that’s because most of this really happened even if it doesn’t look very plausible.
Claudius is generally referred as a fool, and certainly some of his actions in the final years of his life earn him the epitaph, but he did much to bring stability to Rome after Caligula’s reign of madness and he also brought new territories to the empire so maybe he wasn’t that much of a fool and Robert Graves works this ambiguous character so well that the reader cannot help to be drawn to the poor stumbling and stuttering emperor.
This book is now one of my all time favourite historical novels and I’ll be looking for a copy for myself.
I’ll make this comment short because there’s so much to say and I don’t know where to begin, but I know how to finish and that is by saying that this is a MUST READ for everyone who enjoys high quality historical fiction, and not that offal we seem to get a lot of lately.
I'll be sending it on soon.

Journal Entry 21 by wingMarcendawing from Carcavelos, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Thursday, May 21, 2009
I got it yesterday and will read it as soon as possible. Thanks!

Journal Entry 22 by wingMarcendawing from Carcavelos, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Sunday, September 20, 2009
What a great read. It was somewhat more difficult to follow than the first book, because of the more intense focus on history and politics, but a wonderful History lesson. Robert Graves knows a lot and is eager to share his knowledge on the Roman Empire, and fortunately his hero is exactly like him in that aspect. Can't wait to watch the BBC series again. Many thanks to the bookcrossers who made this read possible. Will be sent back to Pequete asap.

Journal Entry 23 by wingMarcendawing from Carcavelos, Lisboa (distrito) Portugal on Thursday, October 08, 2009
Sent today back to Pequete, with many many thanks!

Journal Entry 24 by Pequete from Bragança, Bragança Portugal on Friday, October 16, 2009
It arrived today, thank you Marcenda. I'll try to read this book and the first one during this fall/winter, so that I can pass both along soon.

Journal Entry 25 by Pequete at Bragança, Bragança Portugal on Friday, February 11, 2011
Just like the first volume, this book was a pleasure to read and at the same time, a real handbook on Roman history. I will definitely try to purchase a copy of each of them for my PC.
Meanwhile, I'll announce in the PT forum a double bookray of both volumes.
Thank you, b-noir for the opportunity to read such a good book.

Journal Entry 26 by Pequete at Bragança, Bragança Portugal on Wednesday, March 30, 2011
This book will go on travelling as a bookray, together with vol. I (I, Claudius). I want the readers to enjoy them as they deserve, so I will set no time limits or any other rules, asking only that if for some reason you believe you won't be able to read them within a reasonable time, you make a JE just so we know you're still there (or, you can pass the book along and ask to be put into the list again, ahead).

Peaople that joined this double bookray:

1- ichigochi
2- vcrazygirl
3- fungaga
4- you?

Journal Entry 27 by Pequete at BookRay, -- Por correio / mão própria -- Portugal on Thursday, March 31, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (3/31/2011 UTC) at BookRay, -- Por correio / mão própria -- Portugal

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Mailed this morning to ichigochi, together with the first volume (I, Claudius). I hope you enjoy them!

Journal Entry 28 by ichigochi at Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto Portugal on Thursday, April 07, 2011
Arrived today. Thank you Pequete. :)

Journal Entry 29 by ichigochi at Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto Portugal on Friday, May 27, 2011
I found this reading a bit more difficult to follow than the first volume's, but it was nevertheless likewise fascinating.
I particularly enjoyed the story of Herodes Agrippa, which I didn't know intertwined so closely the story of Claudius himself, and of the conquest of Britain (although it might be considered a low trick to use elephants and camels to fight for you... :)), and the convoluted politics of the Asian part of the empire...

The fact is that I learned a lot from this book and I just LOVE when I get to learn so much while reading a well-written book!

Thank you so much for sharing.
The book is on its way to vcrazygirl, together with "I Claudius".

Journal Entry 30 by vcrazygirl at Almeirim, Santarém Portugal on Sunday, June 05, 2011
Arrived someday this week =D

Thanks ;)

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