Germannicus returns from Germania in triumph and he and Claudius catch up on family news - Claudius now has a son but is not enjoying married life. He tells Germannicus what Postumus had passed onto ...
Caligula has not only made his horse a senator but has turned the palace into a brothel, selling off senators and their wives for sex. Although scared of him - and getting thrown into a river for his...
Two young men meet at Oxford. Charles Ryder, though of no family or money, becomes friends with Sebastian Flyte when Sebastian throws up in his college room through an open window. He then ... See full summary »
The mini-series follows the history of the Roman Empire, from approximately the death of Marcellus (24/23 BC) to Claudius' own death in 54 AD. As Claudius narrates his life, we witness Augustus' attempts to find an heir, often foiled by his wife Livia who wants her son Tiberius to become emperor. We also see the conspiracy of Sejanus, the infamous reign of Caligula, and Claudius' own troubled period of rule. Written by
Erika Grams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the miniseries, Tiberius is married to Vipsania at the same time that Julia is married to Marcellus. Historically, Tiberius married Vipsania in 19 BCE, when Marcellus had been dead for four years, and Julia had been married to her second husband, Marcus Agrippa, for two years, and was pregnant with their second child. See more »
[on the wisdom of invading Britannia, i.e. Britain]
There's nothing of value there, and the people make very poor slaves.
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I won't add to the many superlatives ascribed to this wonderful series, well-deserved though they are. But I would like to point out a few vital details that help explain just why it is so wonderful.
(1) Much has been said about Siân Phillips' intense projection of evil, but just how does she do it? If you watch carefully, you'll see she never blinks in her close-up takes, some of which are very long. This gives her a snakelike appearance, which enhances her voice and cold beauty in imparting such an air of menace to everything she says.
(2) Much has also been said about the lack of expensive sets, location shots, or special effects. But the point is that this series is successful because of these apparent deficiencies and not despite them. So much modern cinema and TV is swamped by expensive irrelevances to the detriment of the basics -- writing, acting, and timing. 'I Claudius' shows just how important these things are, and how unimportant those expensive special effects can be.
(3) I had the good fortune to read both books before the series was made, and then to watch it with a critical eye. It was satisfying to see such an expert adaptation, but especially so to see how the central point of the story has not been lost: the inability of any ruler, however powerful, to control what happens at the end of the long chain of command that inevitably forms. I found this a message of lifelong importance in both politics and management, and it is rare indeed that such a remarkable piece of drama and entertainment is also so fundamentally educational.
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