I, Claudius published in 1934
I, Claudius is salacious wicked good reading!!
English writer Robert Graves needed some cash to pay for his house or foreclosure was knocking (sound familiar?). So, after long hours in contemplation of his problem, he decided that writing a book and getting rich would be the solution to all of his troubles. That night when he closed his eyes to go to sleep he was visited by Claudius, the fourth Roman Emperor (41-54 AD), in a dream. Claudius basically told Graves, you are the man to tell my story! The story of the Julio-Claudian family, which included such characters as Julius Caesar, Marc Antony and that rascal Caligula.
The book is written in an auto-biographical style causing the reader to devour the pages. I couldn't put that thing down!
It was said by Claudius' own family that he should have been abandoned on a mountainside to die. It was said that he was dimwitted, a gimp, a stammerer and a dullard; however, quite the opposite was true. Claudius was a scholar and historian and survived a venomous maze of treachery by playing the fool. His own Grandmother Livia, wife of the Emperor Augustus, poisoned not only Claudius' real grandfather (Tiberius Nero) but also attributed to the death of some of her own children and grandchildren. Claudius dishes the dirt on everyone for posterity and spares no details, including many humorous self deprecationing revelations such as his forced marriage to a 6'4" line backer he was compelled to conjugate with to the amusement of his demented family. Shockingly and to Claudius' great distress, at the age of forty-nine, he was declared Emperor after Caligula and his family were torn to shreds.
Surely this description has been enough to tantalize any reader into cracking the spine on this scandalous read! And, the beauty......there is a sequel! Claudius The God (1935)