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24 March 2008


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Chapters 30-34


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The "green in his bedroom" was the talisman he stole from his father that Livia discovered, proving that he had killed Germanicus.


Oooooooooooooh, right. Thanks. He even said that, didn't he, in the last segment? I forgot. Rats. So much for my Caligula-Drugged-Drusilla-At-Least-At-First theory.


Here are my thoughts.


I've summarised what I remember from the last half of the book here. Thanks for organising this, Leila - it was a much more enjoyable book than I was anticipating! Hopefully I'll be around for all of the next Great Read.

Caffeinated Librarian

I'm not reading I, Claudius (or any of The Big Read books...yet), but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about you reading it. Thank you for actually getting me interested in a book that I probably would have never considered reading before.


Thanks to all who voted for this book. I would never have picked this book out on my own, and it was so great! I got done just before midnight, I keep telling myself that was on time.

I also am inspired to use this method to read "A People's History." I don't plan to keep a rigorous schedule, but to read about a half hour at a time and then write about it, 2-4 times a week. Smaller doses, no pressure of a set schedule. Taking a little break first. Starting second week in April. I welcome people joining me, and sparking just a little bit of pressure to keep me doing it. I've owned the book for 2 or 3 years and sadly haven't cracked it open.

I really liked reading what other people picked up on. Sometimes we focussed on the same things, sometimes on very different things, so I hope I can get some readers interested in "A People's History."

Regarding who was the worst of the Claudians: Agrippinilla. Something happened to her, didn't it? I remembered she was labelled the worst, but now can't remember what happened to her. Livia poisoned her would be a good guess.

Good catches on cultural influences. I haven't watched Babylon 5. Maybe someday from the beginning.

I found myself wondering whether Quentin Tarantino read this. He's one that can make you laugh about really horrific things and make you feel bad about yourself as you do.


Thanks for reading along, everyone (and thanks for reading about us reading along, too, of course). I, Claudius, for me, is definitely a book that deserves a slow read. Thanks for keeping me on track.

Heidi, good call about the Tarantino -- I've always been embarrassed that I find the line "I shot Marvin the the face" so amazingly hysterically funny. I felt the same way about Caligula shoving all of those people in the ocean. It was mostly due to Claudius' delivery, of course -- "Not more than two or three hundred were drowned."

Now to start making a list of possible picks for The Big Read III...


I've really enjoyed this too, and I'm so glad everyone liked it. I do recommend the 2nd book. Re: the abrupt ending: it reminds me a bit of that part in "The Daughter of Time" when Grant is reading that historical novel about Richard III's mother and he gets all stroppy because the author ends it at a high point so she doesn't have to deal with all of the really nasty stuff to come.

I LOVE the last lines (I think Becky pointed them out in her entry). "At last, now I can make people read my histories." Oh Claudius, I do love you.

I think one of the most fascinating things about this book is the interplay between the time of the writing (early 1930's), the fact that Graves fought in World War I, and the "ethnographical" information about the Germans. Especially Germanicus' oft repeated opinion that you need to hammer them every time they start to recover.

Agrippinilla was banished along with Caligula's third sister (Livillina? I can't remember what diminutive Graves gives her). I feel kind of idiotic since this is history . . .but for all those who plan to go on to read the 2nd book.....SPOILER.

She eventually becomes Claudius' 4th wife, the empress Agrippina and the mother of Nero.


it reminds me a bit of that part in "The Daughter of Time" when Grant is reading that historical novel about Richard III's mother and he gets all stroppy because the author ends it at a high point so she doesn't have to deal with all of the really nasty stuff to come.

As Orson Wells said, “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”

Did you realize that anytime you edit a post after...

Check out this post @ ...

...You might want to take a look at

...A post I read a while ago over at

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