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review 2019-12-04 23:51
The Twelve Caesars
The Twelve Caesars - Suetonius,Michael Grant,Robert Graves

For the past two millennia Caesar has denoted the absolute ruler of an empire, a legacy of one man who ruled Rome and the men who succeeded him and used his name.  The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius gives biographical sketches of the men who ruled the Western world for a century and a half, from the end of the Republic to the death of Domitian.


Each of Suetonius’ biographies follow the similar pattern in which the individual’s heritage, political-military career, private lives, personal habits, and physical appearance.  Though the pattern is the same, Suetonius’ style is to slowly weave in elements of one section into another—except for physical appearance—thus not breaking a nice flow for the reader.  As the main source of Caligula (Gaius in the text), Claudius, and Vespasian’s family history, Suetonius not only adds on top of Tacitus but covers what was lost from his contemporary’s works.  Yet unlike Tacitus, gossip and innuendo features a lot in the work making this book a little bit racy compared to Suetonius’ contemporary.


The translation by Robert Graves—of I, Claudius fame—was wonderfully done and did a lot to give the text a great flow.  Of Suetonius’ text the overwhelming use of portents and omens was a bit too much at times, though given the time period of the historian’s life this superstitious view was a part of everyday life.


The Twelve Caesars gives another view of the men who ruled the Western world.  Suetonius’ writing style and subject matter contrast with Tacitus but only for the better for the reader of both who get a full picture of the individuals the two contemporary historians cover.

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review 2018-11-20 00:00
I, Claudius
I, Claudius - Robert Graves Excellent immersive writing
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review 2016-09-03 20:47
Glorious Rome
Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina - Robert Graves

Not all sequels manage to maintain the same quality as the original book, but in this case, Robert Graves moves the story of Claudius onto his reign as emperor with supreme aplomb. The quality of the writing is equal to the epic tale and retains a fascination with the crumbling grandeur of Rome, while sealing Graves reputation as a great writer.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/973417
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review 2016-06-24 00:40
I, Claudius: Claudius Series, Book 1 (MP3 Book) - Robert Graves

Updated Review - Reheard after listening to Holland's book about the family. So fun.

A very good dramatization. If you are a fan of the series, this does not detract from it. It is also interesting to listen to Derek Jacobi as Augustus. It makes a nice bookend

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review 2016-05-06 05:23
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
I, Claudius - Robert Graves

I'm applying the 50-page text here, and abandoning it at least for now. I'm just not into it; it's too much a history lesson, without bringing its characters to life enough to draw me in regardless. Also, it rubbed me the wrong way by spending what felt like the majority of those first 50 pages slamming the only major female character. Maybe Livia really was a terrible person, but books - like people - have to make a good impression if they want my company, and who wants to hang out with a new acquaintance whose conversation consists primarily of trashing somebody else? And in a way that feels borderline misogynistic, no less - everything Livia does is either taken as evidence of her presumed evil intentions or interpreted in light of them, to the point I was feeling more sympathetic to her than the narrator.

And sure, maybe I'd think better of the book if I read it all. But as they say, so many books, so little time!

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