I, Claudius, Day Three, Chapters 7-10

March 7, 2008

Chapters 7-10

Okay, now we’re talking. Liking–even ‘really liking’ has turned to loving. Only time will tell if this love is here to stay. Most of these chapters have to do with marriage. Marriages that are politically and socially and economically advantageous at times. Augustus seems to be a big believer–at least in word–that it is the duty, the responsibility of every man and woman of noble birth to marry and to procreate. It’s all about marriage and sex. Not so much love though. While Augustus can’t literally force men and women to marry, he can encourage them in direct and indirect ways. Unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps according to your perspective) he can force his family to his bidding. Well, perhaps I misspoke. Livia and Augustus when agreed can force a member of their family to marry–or not to marry.

The chapter deals with the marriages or the arrangement of marriages for Germanicus and himself. As well as his cousins. All of Augustus’ grandchildren, all of Livia’s grandchildren must be married off–sometimes with each other, sometimes within other noble families that Livia is manipulating in some way or the other.

Claudius does fall in love. And you can feel it coming. The evil that is lurking. You know Livia is not going to let anyone of her grandsons be happy. Poor Medullina Camilla. She doesn’t stand a chance. Instead he’s forced to marry Urgulanilla. (What a name.) Neither is particularly happy about the match. She seems unfriendly at best, a bit sour. He seems scared–petrified–of his wife. A ‘puny’ cripple married to a teenage girl that is already over six feet tall.

The ninth chapter is a little aside all its own. It captures a conversation, a dialogue, he has with two historians. One is Pollio. The other is Livy. The debate, the discussion being that of a historian, of writing history. Of what is the ‘proper’ way to write, to record historical events, to tell a story. It’s interesting and fun in its own little way. And you’ve got to love that Pollio warns Claudius to stay ‘ill’ and ‘sick’ and ‘weak’ and ‘puny’ or else he’ll wind up poisoned like all his other relations. He almost comes right out and says that his grandmother murdered his father. That his grandmother is in the habit of murdering people. That she’s dangerous and deadly.

The tenth chapter lets the reader know in a roundabout fashion how Livia and Augustus feel about Claudius. Augustus trying  to make up his mind whether or not he likes him. Trying to determine if he’s an idiot, a cripple of the mind or intellect as well as of the body. Livia without a doubt hates Claudius. And Augustus, for the most part, goes along with her and copies her feelings.

Things aren’t looking good for Postumus. This may be the beginning of the end for him. We’ll have to see…


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