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EGO·TIBERIVS·CLAVDIVS·CAESAR·​AVGVSTVS·GERMANICVS
August 30, 2013 3:34 PM   Subscribe


 
Paging clavdivs... clavdivs to the courtesy messenger relay...
posted by zeptoweasel at 3:37 PM on August 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


ooh rad.
posted by juv3nal at 3:43 PM on August 30, 2013


Oh wow man.

One of the formative moments of childhood screen horror, for me, was hearing Drusilla's screams as I hid in the closet, knowing what was happening to her. My mother had told me. I don't know if that was the best idea or not. I've read the book, but I still have not watched that episode in its entirety.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:44 PM on August 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Such a great show. Brian Blessed at his second finest. (First is Flash Gordon)

Clau clau Claudius.

Hahaha. I remember my cousin called it 'I, Clavidius'
posted by ian1977 at 3:45 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Cheers, Rustic Etruscan. Thank you!
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:45 PM on August 30, 2013


Are these authorized or just some dude putting them up there?

DMCA take down in 4, 3, 2...
posted by cjorgensen at 3:46 PM on August 30, 2013


I lunged for the Favorite button. Thanks!
posted by Iridic at 3:50 PM on August 30, 2013


As they were uploaded in 2011, I guess they'll stay, but no residuals on YouTube.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:51 PM on August 30, 2013


My husband's uncle is in the final episode! With crazy hair!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:12 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't eat the figs.
posted by bukvich at 4:15 PM on August 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


also, War + Peace (1972) ... starring a young Anthony Hopkins
posted by philip-random at 4:15 PM on August 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.
posted by Paragon at 4:17 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I loved watching this on PBS when I was 14 or so. I always thought Agripinilla was the loveliest name.
posted by Biblio at 4:29 PM on August 30, 2013


I really loved this show and watched it when I was way too young for it. I wish the real Claudius was as awesome as the TV Claudius.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:37 PM on August 30, 2013


Ego tibi osculabuntur, Rustic Etruscan. I have a giant project due Tuesday and I was desperate to find the right thing for the procrastination phase - this should do the trick nicely, it's been forever since I saw this or read the book and I was just thinking of it recently ;-) Thank you.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:39 PM on August 30, 2013


What is this, "replay my childhood" week?

I was ten when this came out. I read the book along with watching the series, and as we were in England at the time, I got pretty obsessed with the history of the Romans in Britain.

I think I'm going to start re-reading....now.

I really hope that it's seems as brilliant and captivating to the me I am now as it did to 10-year-old me.

(On preview: It makes me really happy to see how many of us were pretty young when we first watched this - look what we've become!)
posted by rtha at 4:40 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Claudius confronting the senate is one of my favourite scenes of all time. He's by turns humble and pitiable and threatening and bullying.

"As for being a half wit, well what can I say, except that I have survived to middle age with half my wits, while thousands have died with all of theirs intact. Evidently quality of wits is more important than quantity!"

I love that speech, because you can tell Claudius is speaking as much to convince himself as to convince the Senate, and that's the moment when he's convinced.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:42 PM on August 30, 2013 [12 favorites]


We were only talking about this show this morning; thanks RE NSA!
posted by arcticseal at 4:57 PM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not slept, Caesar.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:03 PM on August 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


We were only talking about this show this morning; thanks RE NSA!

I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of spies in the lavatory.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:04 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


With crazy hair!

With crazy hair? Whom? They all had crazy hair! Patrick Stewart thickly locked as Sejanus? John Hurt with elabourate golden curlicues freaking the freak out as Caligula?


Watching this on CBC back in the 70's made me read the original books by Graves. I've re-read them through every couple of years since then, and they are the most interesting books for re-reading.
posted by ovvl at 5:07 PM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Words fail me.
posted by MtDewd at 5:16 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't watch this as a kid, but read & loved the books in HS and saw the series in full later (mid-90s, maybe?) when PBS was doing a special rerun. Jacobi is just amazing.

Are these the PBS edits, or the original? As always, a few things got lost on the way to American TV--Drusilla, I think, suffered from this.

(Next up: Elizabeth R? That I saw in elementary school; I was surprised how much of it I remembered accurately when I rewatched it a few years ago.)
posted by thomas j wise at 5:30 PM on August 30, 2013


Are these the PBS edits, or the original? As always, a few things got lost on the way to American TV--Drusilla, I think, suffered from this.

Unfortunately, I don't know. Anyone know of the obvious tip-offs?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:32 PM on August 30, 2013


AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is all.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 5:32 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Crazy. Hair!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:34 PM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


One of my very favorite books of all time, but I've never managed to watch it. Life keeps intervening. Must try this time.
posted by DU at 5:35 PM on August 30, 2013


Excellent. Not very Etruscan, however, nor very rustic.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:38 PM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Graves did lean rather toward the almost super villain end of the "Livia killed everyone" theory...
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:39 PM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Except Graves makes it clear that Livia had the best interest in Rome in mind. AND that she was right. Sejanus is the villain at the end.
posted by DU at 5:41 PM on August 30, 2013


Excellent. Not very Etruscan, however, nor very rustic.

I did consider using a title with egregiously bad Latin.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:43 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Excellent. Not very Etruscan, however, nor very rustic.


On the contrary! Claudius was himself a studious linguist and an expert on Etruscan, even, according to Wikipedia, "the last person known to have been able to read it."

His scholarly bent was one of the reasons he was so ridiculed.
posted by mahorn at 5:57 PM on August 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


is this the censored or the uncensored version?
posted by robbyrobs at 6:22 PM on August 30, 2013


I worship Livia as a God to this day
posted by Renoroc at 6:24 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


is this the censored or the uncensored version?

I suspect it's the uncensored version: Wikipedia says the PBS edit divided the series into thirteen episodes, splitting the first in two. This version has twelve episodes, one of them with a bunch of bare-breasted dancing women in an early scene.

I haven't reached the Drusilla scene yet. It was awful enough in Tacitus's telling. I'll have to steel my nerves for it.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:38 PM on August 30, 2013


Huh, so is this the prequel to that Spartacus show with all the babes?
posted by cacofonie at 6:42 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


First book I bought for my Kindle because it's the one thing I read when nothing else seems interesting.

I also recall sneaking out of bed at night and hiding behind the couch to watch when my parents had this on PBS when I was young.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:47 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've read in the Radio Times this year that HBO and the BBC are teaming up to remake this series.

There's any number of men who could fill the other parts, but who on earth could they cast as Livia? Who has the proper mien, the regal bearing, and the requisite voice that's like (as one YouTube commenter on the first episode posted so deliciously put it) "honey laced with cyanide"?

However they cast it, one thing, in my opinion, must fly: BRIAN BLESSED GETS A DECENT PART.
posted by droplet at 6:52 PM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was in college when these originally aired; and, being a starving college student, I didn't own a television. And I really wanted to see this series.

But I DID know the guys working their way through engineering school over at our local PBS station - so we'd pick up a pizza and our dates, and watch it right there in the tv's station's control room.

Good times.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:54 PM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


A dear friend of mine was recovering from brain surgery - YES BRAIN SURGERY - and her well meaning husband suggested that to pass the time they watch I Claudius. She almost didn't recover at all given the sheer amount of brain power it took to keep everybody straight. Several years later, fully healed, she did get to watch it and that time really enjoyed it.
posted by tafetta, darling! at 6:56 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I watched it in Oklahoma in the 1970s. The bare breasts and orgies went by without any fuss from the conservative, religious population. I came to the conclusion that they didn't watch PBS because they thought it must be boring.
posted by path at 7:00 PM on August 30, 2013


I think Patrick Stewart's hair is pretty good evidence that the later Julio-Claudian period was primarily the result of an horrible holodeck accident.

If only they'd continued the series to the point where Evil Abraham Lincoln and Genghis Khan throw their support behind the Flavians and secure Vespasian's consulship, we would have seen some real excitement. Damn you miserly BBC production budgets!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:19 PM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Don't go in there. Don't... go in there.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:21 PM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Except Graves makes it clear that Livia had the best interest in Rome in mind. AND that she was right. Sejanus is the villain at the end.

There is no single antagonist responsible for the moral decay of Rome. Sejanus is a black-hearted scoundrel and totally unlikeable, but he is chewed up and spit out by the system in the end, just like everyone else. Also, he is Patrick Stewart with hair.
posted by ovvl at 7:22 PM on August 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


He is Patrick Stewart in a wig. Patrick Stewart went bald as a teenager.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:42 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hahaha. I remember my cousin called it 'I, Clavidius'

The book was a mainstay of my school, though somehow I contrived to avoid reading it. However the Penguin edition with the mosaic cover was so iconic, I just figured everyone called it I, Clavdivs.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:47 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you liked this, you will be sorry they never finished the 1937 classic starring Charles Laughton and Merle Oberon. (Graves said it was cursed.)
posted by BWA at 7:47 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, there goes the weekend. (Sure, there's also college football, but I can watch this between downs and during half time). Cheers!
posted by Davenhill at 7:48 PM on August 30, 2013


I worship Livia as a God to this day

To be fair, she IS a god -- deified, temples dedicated, etc.

Way to keep the cult alive, Renoroc! ("Last of the Valerii", anyone?)
posted by mahorn at 8:00 PM on August 30, 2013


"You've.... you've become a god!

...Oh my God.

um... Let me worship you!"
posted by jokeefe at 8:29 PM on August 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cheers (1987)
"Dinner at Eight-ish"

Dr. Frasier Crane: [after locking Lilith and Diane in the bathroom] You know, I don't think I can stand all this caterwauling. What do you say we go upstairs? I've got all thirteen episodes of "I, Claudius" on tape.

Sam Malone: Great. I love gladiator flicks.
posted by flarbuse at 8:54 PM on August 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


I swear Netflix Streaming kept suggesting this to me earlier this year, yet once I finally decided to start watching it (because, well, Picard) it was no longer there. So thanks!
posted by obloquy at 9:08 PM on August 30, 2013


I loved this show too when I was a kid. Thanks for posting.
posted by gt2 at 12:57 AM on August 31, 2013


I recently listened to this as an audiobook (fantastic way to do it BTW) and had the BBC series on my lovefilm list. Don't need it now, thanks!
posted by Megami at 1:31 AM on August 31, 2013


The eponystery involved here is so elegantly apt...

To the point: I did love that miniseries but, man, Laughton as Claudius addressing the Senate is so compelling. I saw that clip some time before the BBC's production of I, Claudius and thought from the start of the series that Derek Jacobi's Claudius owned much to Laughton's.
posted by y2karl at 1:51 AM on August 31, 2013


I watched it in Oklahoma in the 1970s. The bare breasts and orgies went by without any fuss from the conservative, religious population. I came to the conclusion that they didn't watch PBS because they thought it must be boring.

Same here in Indiana. The Indy PBS station also broadcast Steambath, complete with a naked Valerie Perrine and lots o' bare male butts. Good times, the 70's.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:51 AM on August 31, 2013


'I, Claudius' made me such a fan of this production, I watched it religiously back in 1976 --- I've got the whole series on both VHS tapes and now DVDs; and I've probably worn through at least three sets of the Graves books, which I continue to reread every year or so. (And who knows how many copies I shoved into unsuspecting innocent hands: "read this! read this!")

Derek Jacobi is indeed a god, and I'd happily sit and listen to him read a dictionary.
posted by easily confused at 5:38 AM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


There were lots of bared breasts on the BBC during the 1970s. During that decade Britain discovered and embraced Breasts with the enthusiasm they had lavished on Youth in the previous decade and would dive into Money in the next. The most likely place to find Breasts was Play For Today (followed by Spike Milligan's Q series) - so, generally speaking, you'd need to sit through an hour or so of bewildering experimentalism or Marxist agitprop in hopes of a sighting of nipple.

The down side, of course, was that there was only one television in every household, so in order to find Breasts, you needed to sit with your parents and watch an impenetrable consciousness-raising exercise. After that there was no hope of a healthy sexuality, really.

I, Claudius was a giant leap forward in 1970s entertainment - it had Breasts, but it was also entertaining, and (because of the classical setting) it felt somehow improving, despite the orgies and slaughter. That it followed on directly from the hottest, sunniest summer in most people's memories helped, too, as we came to it in a relaxed state of mind.

One thing I particularly like about it is that it's all shot quite clearly in the studios at Television Centre. As Caligula was gearing up to do unspeakable things to a luckless relative, somewhere else in the building Jimmy Savile was preparing to present Top of the Pops.
posted by Grangousier at 5:46 AM on August 31, 2013 [14 favorites]


As Caligula was gearing up to do unspeakable things to a luckless relative, somewhere else in the building Jimmy Savile was preparing to present Top of the Pops.

So, pretty much the same thing, you're saying?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:31 AM on August 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


Obviously, Caligula couldn't hope to compete with Savile for pure evil, but it was a good try.
posted by Grangousier at 6:36 AM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


I watched that when it aired on WGBH in 1977 or 1978. I wasn't quite a teenager, so some of the smutty parts went over my head, but damned it was a hell of a ride. So good I went off and read both "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God", as I recall.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:54 AM on August 31, 2013


That's awesome timing. I just finished watching Mary Beard on Caligula.
posted by fingerbang at 3:13 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Small derail for the Patrick Stewart fans: he's in the 1990? version of 'Little Lord Fauntleroy' with Ricky Schroder --- it's a smallish part, Stewart is the horsehandler who give Fauntleroy riding lessons.)
posted by easily confused at 3:39 PM on August 31, 2013


Watched it as a kid w/ my parents, inherited a VHS copy in college. Favorite moment is after Sejanus execution and his sister Aelia runs to Claudius (who was strong-armed into marrying her) crying "They're killing everyone!" and Caludius' reaction is one of DEATH-COOTIES! MARKED-FOR-DEATH-COOTIES! GET AWAY! EEEEEW! DON'T TOUCH ME WITH YOUR MARKED-FOR-DEATH-COOTIES!

I paraphrase.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:35 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I just finished watching Mary Beard on Caligula.

Wait, are we still talking about the orgies?

Anyway, this allows me to mourn once again the disappearance of any high-quality versions of "Trailer for the remake of Gore Vidal's Caligula" [nsfw], as Caligula probably would not have existed without I, Claudius, and this confection certainly could not have existed without Caligula. Watching it you cannot but desire that it were a trailer for a real remake in the same mode, but of course, that would ruin the joy of this trailer, which is in the tantalizing and not the tasting.
And somewhat along parallel lines, I really wish Courtney Love would act more. There are so few parts for which she would be perfect, but for some of those, no one else would do.
posted by dhartung at 2:50 AM on September 1, 2013


There's any number of men who could fill the other parts, but who on earth could they cast as Livia?

HELEN FUCKING MIRREN THAT'S WHO

i will also accept dame judi dench
posted by scrump at 12:03 AM on September 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


It occurs to me that Tilda Swinton could probably do something interesting with the part. Tilda Swinton could do something interesting with just about any part, of course.

Oh.

OH.

Tilda Swinton as Caligula. Imagine it…
posted by Lexica at 9:45 AM on September 2, 2013 [7 favorites]


pretty much as soon as I read "Tilda Swinton", I thought "OH GOD, SWINTON AS CALIGULA COULD BE FABULOUS!"
posted by rmd1023 at 9:50 AM on September 2, 2013


... but then she'd have to play Jesus, just to give us the full range
posted by philip-random at 9:59 AM on September 2, 2013


Tilda Swinton as Caligula. Imagine it…

What, no Christopher Walken in this thread ? Although, on a related tip, how about John Travolta as Livia ?

...I really wish Courtney Love would act more. There are so few parts for which she would be perfect, but for some of those, no one else would do.
''And the best nominations for best actress are:

In the role of a seven fatality 83 car pile up on I-95, Courtney Love in....''

posted by y2karl at 4:44 PM on September 2, 2013


Lexica: "Tilda Swinton as Caligula. Imagine it…"

OOOOOOH.

This has to happen.
posted by zarq at 6:31 AM on September 3, 2013


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