I, Claudius


German translation

When the time came to translate the novels into German, Graves, who spoke the language, decided instead to rework them into a one volume edition. He collaborated with translator Hans Rothe and they jointly produced a shortened edition which left out the many digressions which were incorporated into the English original, with the aim of presenting Claudius' story in a clearer and more effective way. The contents of the books were thus roughly cut down to a half. [3] The book is published as Ich Claudius, Kaiser und Gott (I Claudius, Emperor and God) with Graves being styled Robert von Ranke Graves, which is how he is credited in all German editions of his works.

Film and television

In 1937, abortive attempts were made to adapt the first book into a film by the film director Josef von Sternberg. The producer was Alexander Korda, who was then married to Merle Oberon, who was cast as Claudius' wife Messalina. Emlyn Williams was cast as Caligula, Charles Laughton was cast as Claudius, and Flora Robson was cast as Livia. Filming was abandoned after Oberon was injured in a serious motor car accident.

In 1976, BBC Television adapted the book and its sequel into the popular TV serial, also entitled I, Claudius. The production, which starred Derek Jacobi, Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed and John Hurt, won four BAFTAs in 1977 and three Emmys in 1978.

In 2008, it was reported that Relativity Media had obtained the rights to produce a new film adaptation of I, Claudius. Jim Sheridan was named as director.[4]

In 2011, rights then passed to HBO and BBC2 to film a miniseries adaptation. Jane Tranter and Anne Thomopoulos, who previously worked on HBO/BBC2's miniseries Rome have been named as producers.


In November and December 2010, as part of the Classic Serial strand, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a series of six hour-long episodes of a dramatisation of both novels, adapted by Robin Brooks and directed by Jonquil Panting. Performers were Derek Jacobi, Tom Goodman Hill and full cast. It won the 2012 Audie Award in the "Audio Dramatization" category.[5][6]


The novel has also been adapted for theatre. The 1972 production I, Claudius was written by John Mortimer and starred David Warner.[7]


Several audio recordings of the novel have been produced. Derek Jacobi performed two separate readings of the novel, both as abridged versions, one for Dove Audio (1986) and one for CSA Word (2007). Nelson Runger performed unabridged readings of both I, Claudius and Claudius the God for Recorded Books (1987). Jonathan Oliver performed an unabridged reading for ISIS Audio Books (1988). Frederick Davidson performed an unabridged reading for Blackstone Audio (1994).

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