Bringing to life the subterfuge and double-dealing of Roman nobility, Robert Graves's I, Claudius brings the ancient world to life with startling clarity and meticulous realism. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is a includes an introduction by Barry Unsworth.
Despised for his weakness and regarded by his family as little more than a stammering fool, the nobleman Claudius quietly survives the intrigues, bloody purges and mounting cruelty of the imperial Roman dynasties. In I, Claudius he watches from the sidelines to record the reigns of its emperors: from the wise Augustus and his villainous wife Livia to the sadistic Tiberius and the insane excesses of Caligula. Written in the form of Claudius' autobiography, this is the first part of Robert Graves's brilliant account of the madness and debauchery of ancient Rome, and stands as one of the most celebrated, gripping historical novels ever written.
Robert Ranke Graves (1895-1985) was a British poet, novelist, and critic. He is best known for the historical novel I, Claudius and the critical study of myth and poetry The White Goddess. His autobiography, Goodbye to All That, was published in 1929, quickly establishing itself as a modern classic. Graves also translated Apuleius, Lucan and Suetonius for the Penguin Classics, and compiled the first modern dictionary of Greek Mythology, The Greek Myths. His translation of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (with Omar Ali-Shah) is also published in Penguin Classics.
If you enjoyed I, Claudius, you might like Graves's sequel Claudius the God, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'An imaginative and hugely readable account of the early decades of the Roman Empire ... racy, inventive, often comic'
'Still an acknowledged masterpiece and a model for historical fiction ... sympathetic and intensely involving: a great feat of imagination'
Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall