In 1976, PBS Masterpiece Theater aired “I, Claudius”, a BBC series based on the book by Robert Graves. I always remembered watching this every Sunday night with my parents. It was the first time I heard of Tiberius or Caligula. I never forgot Livia Drusilla, wife of Augustus (formerly Octavian, Caesar’s adopted son). “The plotting and double-crossing continue for many decades, through the conspiracy of Sejanus and the rule of the lunatic emperor Caligula.” (Wikipedia).
I just finished watching season 2 of “House of Cards” and it reminds me so much of “I, Claudius.” Claire Underwood is a modern day Livia Drusilla, without her own children. The unrelenting manipulation, bribery, and raw lust for power harken back to Rome.
On “The Sopranos”, I always wondered if Tony’s scheming, manipulating mother Livia was named after Livia Drusilla. Robert Graves wrote a follow up called “Claudius the God”. My interest in Roman history only grew as I read Colleen McCullough’s entire Roman Masters series (seven books that starts with “First Man in Rome” and ends with “Antony & Cleopatra”).
|First in seven-part series
Average page count = 1,000 pages