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I, Claudius

Written by: Robert Graves
Narrated by: Derek Jacobi
Length: 5 hrs and 8 mins
Categories: Classics
4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Here is a major new recording and the riveting account of Ancient Rome in all its madness and debauchery.

The politics of empire-building and the hypocrisies, back-stabbings, and corruptions of Rome's first family come to light. First published in 1934, the book retains a marvelously modern and often comic tone, and is written in the form of Claudius' autobiography. This is gripping stuff, read by one of our finest actors, who also starred as Claudius in the classic television series.

©2007 CSA Telltapes Ltd. (P)2007 CSA Telltapes Ltd.

What listeners say about I, Claudius

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • T
  • 15-09-09

Derek Jacobi IS Claudius

If you watched the series, Derek Jacobi plays Claudius...and he was excellent. On the audio, he brings all his vim and vigor and talent to the reading, making the story come alive.

I've read the unabridged version, which is very long, the abridged version makes the story more dreamatic without sacrificing too many details.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • 16-10-09

C

Jacobi does a great job with the narration - brings Claudius to life. The abridged version moves through the plot efficiently and keeps the story in tact

3 people found this helpful

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  • siehomme
  • 21-02-16

A wonderful retelling

It was great hearing Derek Jacobi reprise his Claudius, almost as if you were having dinner with the old stammerer himself. It reminds one of the BBC series but stands on its own. I only wish it were not abridged! Onward to "Claudius the God," which completes the saga. You can get the unabridged version, but it won't be with the incomparable Sir Jacobi.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Gila Blits
  • 07-05-12

Deliciously fascinating!

I read the book when I was a teenager and loved every word. When I bought the Audible version I was a little anxious that Derek Jacobi wouldn't "match" the voices I'd heard in my head all those years ago. My fears were ungrounded: Jacobi is brilliant and I'm enjoying every minute. The shenanigans of ancient Rome make today's politicians seem tame, and Robert Graves was a writer to relish. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Simmon
  • 19-03-16

Well well well.

Well written, well read and well done indeed. Derek Jacobi is incomparable as a narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • I.
  • 31-01-14

Simply a Master

Where does I, Claudius rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is my favorite audiobook. The absolute top. (Maybe for the moment?)

What did you like best about this story?

The plot was fantastic, especially because though it's spanning many years, everything is presented so realistically, without any alienating terminology or cheap narrative effects.

Which scene was your favorite?

All scenes have their own taste.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Extreme in the sense that I've been captured by it every single time. Either you "know" the story or not, it remains fresh however often I listen to it.

Any additional comments?

A perfect example of a perfect story, read by a master actor.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amy Nicolai
  • 28-06-11

Classic story of Imperial Rome!

The book covers the lurid, fascinating story of Claudius, accidental emporer of Rome in the Imperial age. Lively story, with a decent base in history (although he does demonize Livia). The narration by Derek Jacobi really brings it to life, as he played Claudius in the television series (BBC I think).

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bonmot
  • 18-07-20

Brilliant abridged version and Derek Jacobi!

I love Roman history and am a huge fan of the 1976 BBC TV series "I, Claudius," starring brilliant Shakespearean actor Derek Jacobi! I've always want to read Robert Graves's novels and first bought the unabridged version, but partly through Chapter 1 I was bored with Graves's endless digressions and unnecessary trivia and gossip unrelated to his main story.

Thus I returned his unabridged book and bought this wonderful abridged version instead. Read/acted by Derek Jacobi, it's a delight that fills in gaps of the TV series, sticks to the main story, and sparks many juicy dramatic scenes in your head!

I highly recommend you all buy and savor this beautifully abridged version, if you value your time and want the action to never drag. Ignore the negative reviews. Unabridged books aren't always better.

Now I'm excited to listen to Graves's novel #2, "Claudius the God," also read/acted by Jacobi and also abridged!

I also bought and listened to the brilliant 2010 six hour BBC radio drama version of "I, Claudius," where Jacobi plays Augustus. I highly urge you to listen to this too!

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  • itziar esparza
  • 26-12-19

wrong

it is abriged and the book info didnt say so. terrible. i didnt know otherwise i wouldnt have bought It.

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  • David Evan Glasser
  • 23-11-18

Need plus ultra

Doesn't get any better than this coupling of an inspired satire by Graves and an outstanding narration by Derek Jacobi.
David Evan Glasser

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  • Mary Carnegie
  • 11-04-16

Shame it's abridged.

I have listened to the BBC Radio dramatisation (both books in one) which is excellent but just too short as an audiobook, and I wanted to fill in the gaps, which this recording and its predecessor has done to some extent. I first read the print books in the mid 60s - can't believe it's that long - and they certainly made Roman history more exciting and even helped add a few marks to O Grade Latin. Latin was compulsory for university back then! I don't do much re-reading of print except for study these days, but find audiobooks allow me to revisit old favourites while doing something else. And for that I want the WHOLE THING! Also some edits don't consider that next in series might be mysterious without the rejected bits in previous book.
Derek Jacobi became eternally associated with the Julio-Claudians after the BBC TV series, so he's the expected voice of Claudius, though it was fine for him to be Augustus on the Radio 4 version.

9 people found this helpful

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  • K. Stephen
  • 07-07-14

Robert Graves Speaks

If you could sum up I, Claudius in three words, what would they be?

Thrilling, fascinating, absorbing.

What other book might you compare I, Claudius to, and why?

What comparison can one make? Except to say that despite having been written 70-80 years before, I Caudius (and Claudius the God) reads as easily as any novel by the excellent Mr Robert Harris, or John Grisham or Val McDermid.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I frankly enjoyed the whole book - it's like a symphony or a concerto, one has to listen to it all, and both books at that.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

A short paragraph about Calpurnia was touching - in Claudius the God.

Any additional comments?

Based on the histories of Suetonius and Tacitus, Robert Graves has given the world two great novels covering the era of first Emperors of Rome.
Although the books are very good reads off the written page, in Audio, Derek Jacobi further breaths a rich vitality to the tale, his voice conveying young and old, women and men with equal east and no artifice.
The only two reproaches, this was an abridged version (which I knew, but wanted the Jacobi narration) and I would have preferred the whole text. Secondly, the Vivaldi interludes were not appropriate in my opinion. A trumpet fanfare as in the excellent and seminal BBC TV dramatisation would have been super.

1 person found this helpful

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  • timeout
  • 10-09-20

Hard Going

I initially got this as I'm interested in Roman history and also the fact that the narrator was Derek Jacobi. I knew it would get a bit complicated but that was an understatement. Part of my disappointment was the fact that it went in to too much detail about things that weren't directly to do with Claudius, such as the military sections. Whilst there is a bed for family background, there wasn't much about him. Also, for some unknown and very annoying reason, someone felt the need to stick vivaldi in between what assume were chapters. If you must separate them, at least use something more appropriate. Had to return in the end.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-08-20

Perfect

I loved it, Derek Jacobi is perfect. Beautifully narrated, this complex intriguing story was a pleasure to listen to.

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  • Mr L.
  • 22-08-20

well worth it

really fantastic reading of this book. loved it. it is a good idea to have a family tree to hand when listening, as there are a lot of characters . I found this one which was fairly straightforward to follow: http://robertspage.com/claudius.html

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  • Andy Kelly
  • 07-06-20

Derek Jacobi Is Wonderful

I have read the book many times and I have listened to a previous audiobook Jacobi did when he was younger. His voice is still great but the constant unnecessary violins every 5 minutes ruined what should have been a perfect experience. They add nothing to the pace of the story. I wish they could be edited out. I have the sequel to read so I expect the have mucked that up as well.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-04-20

Not the full version

This is the short version of the book
I wish I knew. Would have not gotten it otherwise.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-04-20

A wonderful liaten

Derek Jacob having played him in TV had the perfect measure of it all.

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  • michael palmer
  • 26-12-19

Excellent

A smart book which is well written and fabulously read by the actor which played Claudius In the TV production.

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  • Mair
  • 27-09-19

super

Great story. real history. well written. well read. makes you want to learn more about the period.

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  • Jonathan D
  • 14-12-18

Brilliant

Fantastic storytelling and wonderfully vivid depiction of the life of Claudius - easy listening and thoroughly engaging - loved it