I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition) is an epic tale of ambition, debauchery and intrigue. It is one of the most popular and acclaimed dramas in Masterpiece Theatre history. Based on the novels by Robert Graves, spanning the history of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Nero, it stars Derek Jacobi in a career-defining role with Sian Phillips as the lethal Livia, John Hurt as the vile Caligula and Patrick Stewart as the ambitious Sejanus.

This Special edition DVD set comes with 4 discs including 12 episodes plus a bonus disc:

Disc 1

Episode 1 – A Touch of Murder
Rome, 24-9 BCE Nearing the end of his life and surrounded by spies, Claudius, emperor of Rome, writes his family history, beginning with his time during the reign of Augustus, with his treacherous grandmother, Livia scheming to advance the career of her son Tiberius.

Disc 2

Episode 2 – Waiting in the Wings
Rome, 3-5 CE Livia appears to have lost now that Tiberius is in exile but everyone Augustus chooses to succeed him dies inexplicably. An Omen hints that Claudius, a dull, awkward child with a stuffer and a limp, might be more than he appears to be.

Episode 3 – What shall we do about Claudius?

Rome, 9 CE Livia hears that Tiberius has a new rival, Julia’s son Postumus, pushing her to make her moves against him quickly. Before he is banished Postumus goes to Claudius and tells him everything he knows about Livia. Claudius is advised to keep playing the fool to ensure his safety. Claudius enters a marriage arranged by Livia.

Episode 4 – Poison is Queen

Rome, 13-14 CE Augustus learns of Livia’s plots and has a new will drawn up making Postumus his heir. When Livia visits the temple of the Vestal Virgins, Augustus starts suffering with severe stomach pains.

Episode 5 – Some Justice
Rome, 19029 CE Tiberius rules Rome with help from Sejanus. When Claudius’s popular brother, Germanicus dies under mysterious circumstances, the Roman people protest. A trial in the Senate is rigged to clear the emperor’s name. Witnesses start to disappear and the son of Germanicus, Caligula sets fire to the family villa.

Disc 3

Episode 6 – Queen of Heaven
Rome, 22-29 CE Living for his own perverted pleasures Tiberius, he is encouraged by the monstrous Caligula. Sejanus forces Claudius to marry his sister, solidifying his alliance with the imperial family. Livia knows she is close to death so she confesses her crimes to Claudius and tells him of a prophecy claiming that he will be emperor one day.

Episode 7 – Reign of Terror
Rome, 30-31 CE Sejanus, commander of the guard has destroyed nearly all of his enemies. Even Tiberius is in danger now. A smuggled letter is sent to Tiberius warning him, causing him to wonder how he can stop Sejanus. Caligula makes a suggestion and the streets of Rome run red with blood.

Episode 8 – Zeus, by Jove!
Rome 37-38 CE Tiberius names Caligula heir to the throne on his deathbed. Caligula promises the people bread and circuses and a new age of prosperity seems about to begin. Calgula falls into a come only to awaken calling himself a god. His only fear is his sister’s unborn child.

Episode 9 – Hail Who?
Rome, 40-41 CE Caligula has turned the palace into brothel and orgies. His Uncle Claudius serves as the doorkeeper. The empire is now in financial ruin, allowing conspirators to plot an assassination. When soldiers loot the palace, Claudius hides behind a curtain.

Disc 4

Episode 10 – Fool’s luck
Rome 41-43 CE Under Claudius’s rule, the empire’s finances are showing improvement. His wife, Messalina, bears Claudius two children and she urges him to make an alliance with Silanus, the governor of Spain. A good friend warns Claudius not to trust anyone.

Episode 11 – A God in Colchester
Rone 47-48 CE Claudius is away invading Britain. While he is gone, Massalina challenges a leading prostitute to a tournament of sex. She wins, causing a scandal in Rome but Claudius doesn’t know about it. He is compelled to act when a final humiliation endangers his life. Later he learns that the British have made him a god.

Episode 12 – Old King Log

Rome, 54 CE Claudius marries Agrippinilla, mother of Nero and the most deadliest woman in Rome. A prophecy has told him that Nero with be Rome’s next ruler. Claudius knowingly seals his fate and that of his own son by naming Nero to his heir. He finishes his book and buries a copy to be found centuries later.

Disc 5

Bonus
*”I, Claudius” A Television Epic
*The Epic That Never Was
*Derek Jacobi interview
*Favorite scenes of the cast and director

I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition)
contains violence, nudity and sexual content. I have always been interested in this part of history. This DVD set follows the history of Rome. I would suggest this DVD to anyone that enjoys learning about that era. If you would like your own copy, click on the Amazon link above and order one.

Jan Barrett

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