I, Claudius (1976)

 

 

 

Director:  Herbert Wise

Starring:  Derek Jacobi (Claudius), Si‚n Phillips (Livia),  Brian Blessed (Augustus), George Baker (Tiberius), John Hurt (Caligula), Margaret Tyzack (Antonia),  Ian Ogilvy (Drusus), Frances White (Julia), John Paul (Marcus Agrippa), Christopher Guard (Marcellus), Kevin McNally (Castor), Patricia Quinn (Livilla), David Robb (Germanicus), Fiona Walker (Agrippina), John Castle (Postumus), and James Faulkner (Herod Agrippa).

Roman emperor (AD 41-54) who extended Roman rule in North Africa and made Britain a province.

 

Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film. 

Episode 1. 

Part 1.  A touch of murder.

Claudius is very afraid.  He says he knows his wife is trying to kill him.  He says that there are spies everywhere.  Claudius feels he must write the history of his life before they kill him.  He says:  "I'll cheat them everyone."  He relates the story of his going to Kumai to consult the Sibyl.  She told him that his true story won't be known for 1,900 years.  So now he sets his story down.  He says that Livia was his grandmother, the wife of Augustus Caesar (formerly Octavius).  He says it is also a story of Marcus Agrippa and his hatred of Marcellus. 

Part 2.  Dinner Conversation.  

African dancers perform for Augustus Caesar and his guests.  Some of the women dance topless.  Caesar is there speaking with Marcus Agrippa, an old friend of his.  They are celebrating the seventh year anniversary of the Battle of Actium (31 B.C.) at which Antony and Cleopatra were defeated.  Marcellus is also there.  He is the son-in-law of Augustus, being married to his daughter Julia.  He is very young and very cheeky with his elders.  He makes fun of those who fought at the Battle of Actium, thereby infuriating Marcus Agrippa. The man gets so mad that he leaves. 

Claudius says that his grandmother Livia was always scheming.  And she dominated her husband. 

Part 3.  Marcus Makes a Request.

Augustus tries to stop Marcus Agrippa from leaving.  Marcus wants to leave Rome and Augustus wants to know why.  Marcus says that Augustus doesn't need him in Rome anymore.  Augustus wonders if its because he appointed Marcellus the city magistrate.  Marcus says it has nothing to do with Marcellus.  He just feels he can be more useful in the east.  Augustus says Marcus is probably right.  He hugs the man and says goodbye. 

As soon as Marcus is gone, Augusts says:  "Damn him!"  Livia says the man wants to be the successor, but Augustus says the man is too old.  He needs a younger man. 

Tiberius, Livia's son by another husband, Tiberius Claudius Nero, wants to say his goodbyes to Augustus.  He is headed out to be with the troops in Germany.  Augustus receives him and says a few pleasantries, but doesn't hug him or shake his hand.  Augustus just leaves the room.  Tiberius tells his mother:  "He doesn't like me!"  Mom says not everyone can be loveable.  She thinks that the next Caesar will be her son Tiberius.  She says she saw what was coming politically and divorced her husband to marry Augustus.  Livia tells Tiberius to be more patient.  She tells him to do well on the Rhine, because his younger brother Drusus has been covering himself with glory in Alerica and they must not fall behind. Tiberius leaves.

Claudius says that now his grandmother started scheming to remove Marcellus from the picture as a possible rival to Tiberius. 

Part 4.  Plans for Marcellus' Appointment.   

Livia is with Octavia (her sister-in-law) and Octavia's daughter Antonia. She tells Octavia that Antonia is pretty like her father, Antony.  Octavia says it was no pleasure being married to Antony.  Her son Marcellus with Julia come to speak with the two older women.  Augustus comes to speak with Marcellus about his plans to celebrate his becoming city magistrate.  Marcellus says he wants to pit 50 Germans against 50 blacks from Morocco. 

Julia and her stepmother Livia talk about the family.  At one time, Julia and Tiberius were very close and Livia had entertained the idea that the two of them might marry. 

At the games in honor of the new city magistrate, Caesar and Livia await the arrival of Marcellus.  He, along with Octavia and Julia, arrive and they all go out to greet the crowd at the coliseum.  A great roar comes up from the people when Marcellus comes out.  Augustus says to his wife:  "I told you he was popular!" 

Livia has a headache.  Her husband comes in to see her to ask if she is alright.  He asks her to come back to the games, but she won't go back.  He wonders if she is worried about his leaving for a 4-5 months trip.  He is headed for the east, so Livia asks if he will see Marcus Agrippa.  He says no and tells Livia that she can see that he has not well without his friend Marcus.  He says to let the man stew.

Part 5.  Marcellus Falls Ill. 

A secretary of sorts brings in some documents for Livia.  She asks him to tell Marcellus that she would like to speak to him.  He tells Livia that Marcellus is ill and comments that it's a pity his wife and mother are away.   Livia comes to visit Marcellus.  She acts very lovingly toward him.  The doctor says that Marcellus can't keep any food down.  Livia says she will move in next door to Marcellus and prepare all his food for him herself. 

The doctor comes to Livia saying that Marcellus has become much worse.  He wants to have his wife and mother informed of his condition, but Livia says no.  Marcellus is throwing up green slime, something the doctor has never seen before.  Livia says:  "Perhaps it's a good sign."

Tiberius returns from the Rhine and visits Livia.  Livia tells him that she thinks Marcellus might die.  Julia and Olivia are now with him.  Julia is hysterical.  Now Livia asks her son what he thinks about Julia?  Tiberius says he is a happily married man and Julia does not interest him.  He says he will never divorce Vipsania.  Livia, obviously, has bigger plans for her son. 

Julia comes in screaming that Marcellus is dead.  She is so hysterical that Livia slaps her to get her calm again.  But Julia starts crying again.  Livia tells Tiberius to take care of his sister.  Tiberius just stands there frozen.  Mother has to repeat what she said to him about caring for Julia.  His just places his big hand on her back.  Livia goes to see Octavia and the doctor.  The doctor suggests that it must have been food poisoning, which makes Livia angry.  He walks back and forth saying it must have been something he ate.  Octavia slowly turns her head to look Olivia, her son's food preparer, in the eyes.  Livia shows no emotion.  Octavia leaves.

The doctor says there should be an inquest, but Livia says it's not needed.  They already know what he died of:  food poisoning.  The doctor says he couldn't swear to it, and Livia says:  "No.  But I could." 

Part 6.  Riot in the Streets.

Livia tells Tiberius to take Julia to her room, stay there and comfort her.  She now dictates a letter to the secretary to go to Augustus. 

Caesar reads the letter about Marcellus having died from food poisoning.  It looks like he's thinking:  how strange. 

The public went crazy over the suspicious death and demanded a return to the republic.  They start rioting in the streets.  Livia tells Tiberius to go out and speak to the crowd.  He asks:  "Are you mad?"  So she says she will tell them off herself.  She starts shouting at the crowd.  Livia tells them to disperse and they throw garbage at her.  She gets pasted in the face with some type of waste.  She has to go back inside.  She tells Tiberius they must get Agrippa back because he speaks the language of the mob.  She is going to write Augustus and tell him to bring back Marcus Agrippa at any price!

Part 7.  The Price for Marcus.

Augusts goes to speak with Agrippa.  After some pleasant words, Agrippa complains to Caesar that he never intervened when Marcellus would deliberately vex him.  Caesar admits that he may have overindulged the boy, but he was like a son to him.  Augustus now says he needs his friend back in Rome.  Agrippa says he will do it, but he wants to be part of the royal family.  He wants to divorce his wife and marry Julia.   This takes Caesar aback, but after a bit of hesitation, he agrees to the deal. 

Livia is furious with her husband.  Caesar asks her why she is so against the marriage?  She says it gives Agrippa more than he deserves, but Caesar doesn't believe this.  So Julia switches approaches and says her husband should have consulted Julia first.  She asks if they are to ignore the feelings of their children?

Claudius says it took Livia nine years, but she finally got what she wanted.  He adds:  "Wicked woman!"  He feels pain in his mid-section and says he knows they are trying to poison him.  He is determined to get his story down before they manage to kill him. 

 

Episode 2.

Part 1.  Family Affairs. 

Nine years passed before Agrippa's services could be spared.  Then he was poisoned by Livia.  Claudius says:  "Grandmother always got her way in the end." 

Tiberius and his brother Drussus wrestle.  Drussus beats him.  He says the troops say about Tiberius that his drills are like bloodless battles and his battles are like bloody drills.  But Tiberius has other problem.  He bemoans that fact that they made him marry that "bitch" Julia. 

Part 2.  Sibling Rivalries. 

Julia and Antonia (the wife of Drussus) are both getting massages from female black slaves.  They talk about Tiberius.  Julia says he is very strange sexually.  He likes the back entrance.  He hates her boys Gaius and Lucius.  Julia also says that she suspects that Livia had a hand in the death of Marcellus. 

Tiberius tells Drussus that he will miss him when he return to Germany.  He says he is often has periods of depression, that he calls period of black thoughts. He says that sometimes in the darkness he can't bear himself.  Drussus tells his brother that he thinks Rome will become a republic again.  Tiberius comments then perhaps he did all this struggling for nothing (since he won't be an emperor).  Drussus says, why does he think about this, since Gaius and Lucius are ahead of him in any succession after Augustus.  Tiberius years for his ex-wife says:  "Oh, God I miss her so. . . . What did they make do?"

Augustus plays a board game with Gaius and Lucius.  Drussus is leaving for battle.  He commands all the Roman armies in Germany. 

Part 3.  Secrets.

The boy say goodnight to Augustus.  Augustus takes Drussus out to the garden.  Antonia is expecting again.  Augustus complains that Tiberilus is like a sphinx to him.  Livia comes and says gooby to Drussus.  Augusts leaves and Livia speaks with Drussus.  She tells Drussus to leave Augustus alone.  She doesn't want him to encourage Augustus to step down from his office.  She adds that Rome will never be a Republic again. 

Tiberius sneaks over to see his ex-wife once again.  Vespania scolds him saying that he shouldn't come to see her.  It's dangerous.  And she is getting married again.  Tiberius goes crazy at this.  She object that she is not the wife of Tiberius and repeat that she must stop him from seeing her.  Tiberius objects that they made him divorce her and marry Julia.  Vespania says:  "They couldn't have forced me."  Tiberius offers the suggestion that they kill themselves.  Vespania  says:  "It's too late."

Part 4.  Tangle Webs are Weaved.

Livia wants Augustus to be deified, but Augustus himself does not want this.  Even though he told Livia not to heave him diefied, Livia ignores his wishes and talks to one of the senators of pushing it through the senate.  The senator says there will be some opposition and he will have to chose his line of approach to the senate.  Livia tells him coldly:  "I'll tell you what line to take."

Augustus scold Tiberius for seeing his ex-wife.  He says Tiberius follows her around like a moon-sick cow and he is making a laughing stock out of the royal family.  Augustus threatens Tiberius with various punishment.  Tiberius objects that he and Julia jus t don't get along.  Augustus just tells him that he doesn't want to hear this.  Tiberius asks permission to leave room.  August forbids it.  After Tiberius leaves Livia sticks up for her son.  She says that Tiberius is just unhappy.  He didn't mean some of the things he said to Augustus.  Livia also tells her husband that she knew about the ex-wife because Tiberius had told her.   Augustus thinks about it and then gives in.  He says that he may have been a bit too hasty.  "But I had cause!", he adds.

Augusts speaks with Tiberius and asks him to play fair with him and don't sulk.  If Tiberius plays fair, then August can be generous too. 

A messenger arrives with news from Germany.  It's a letter from Drussus.  Tiberius look it over but refuses to read it all for it criticizes both Augustus and Livia.  Augustus says that perhaps he should retire as emperor.  Drussus is not well.  Augustus says he will recall him from Germany for a rest.  But Livia says there is no need for that.  She will send her doctor to Drussus. 

Part 5.  Drussus' Fatal Fall. 

Drusus is brought into the doctor's test.  His left leg and thigh look really terrible.  His horse fell on him and then when he struggled to get up again, Drussus's leg was ripped to shreds on the rocks.  Antonia goes up to see her husband.  Things do not look good for Drussus.

Augustus has what happened?  It was supposed to be a simple fall.  Tiberius says he must to to his brother.  Augustus decides to let him go.  Tiberius leaves. 

Augusts learns that despites his wishes. he had been made a god in Palmyra.  He asks rhetorically:  "If I'm a god, how do I cure gout?" 

Tiberius arrives to watch over his brother.  He learns the bad news that Drussus has gangrene.  Tiberius can't believe it!  He says:  "It was just a simple fall!"  Tiberius becomes irritated with Livia's doctor who simply tells Tiberius:  "I came too late!"  Tiberius throws the doctor out of the tent.  Drussus dies speaking of his mother Livia.  He says she had brought out to him little Claudius.  The elderly Claudius says that Drussus shouldn't have died:  "Somebody blundered."

Part 6.  Interruptions. 

The elderly Claudius says to his servant to bring the food into him.  He has written a history of the predecessors to the Romans, the Etruscans.  He has gotten as far as the death of his father, Drussus.  He says the death of Drussus was a tragedy for Tiberius for he was never the same after that. 

Part 7.  Falling Apart. 

The whole Caesar family is together.  Gaius and Lucius see Augustus to his bed.  It has been a years since the death of Drussus.  Antonia goes to be as Julia snores away.  Tiberius says that he must get away from Rome.  Livia tells him that if he dares leave Rome, she will wash her hands of him.  To get back at his mother, Tibseruius notes that mother never she a tear over Drussus.    Julia tells Tiberius that he will sleep with her tonight.  Tiberius gets angry and says:  "Let me go, you fat, drunken cow!"  He even slaps Julia.  Julia goes to Augustus saying that she wants a divorce.  Augustus tells her:  "No divorce!" 

Augusts asks what they would do without these boys, Gaius and Lucius, the sons of his friend Marcux Agrippa.  Livia hugs the two boys and says:  "We must take good care of them." 

 

Episode 3.

Part 1.  Waiting in the Wings.   

Claudius looks for a letter that he can't seem to put his hands on.  It was the letter that had the remark:  "The answer, I'm afraid is no."  He finally finds the letter.  It is a letter to Tiberius from Augustus.  In the letter Augusts refuses permission for Tiberius to return to Rome.  It goes on to say:  "You will stay where you are."  August had not forgiven Tiberius for what he did to Julia. 

Gaius has died and his body burned before an autopsy could be performed.  Augustus took the death hard.  He now will appoint Lucius to fight alongside the armies in Spain. 

Augustus will soon be upset with Julia for her behavior is a scandal to all, except her unknowing father.

Part 2.  A Sign for the Gods. 

Julia and Octavia talk together.  Germanicus threw sand all over Julia's girl. 

Claudius looks for shells on the beach.  Germanicus will soon marry, but Octavia is worried:  who will marry Claudius with his club foot and stammer.   Julia tells Octavia that Livia probably had a hand in the death of Drussus.  Tiberius went off to Germany partly to get away from his mother.  Lucius will be leaving for Spain soon.  Gaius is his brother, but they have another brother named Postumus.  Lucius has a friend who is having an affair with his mother Julia.  Julia and the friend leave the room together.   There are eagles overhead.  One of them drops a wolf club that lands in the arms of Claudius.  They ask a wise man for an interpretation of the event.  He swears everyone to secrecy and then tells them that one day Rome will be very wretched, but Claudius will protect Rome.  Everyone has a hard time believing that this sign will come true for of all people, Claudius. 

Part 3.  Setting the Trip.

Livia asks to speak to Proteus, the friend of Lucius.  She asks him directly if he is halving her daughter-in-law Julia.  The young man says that Julia took a fancy to him, so would could he do?  After all, she is Caesar's daughter.  Livia says that maybe there is something she can do for the young man.  She asks if Lucius knows about this affair?  No.  And this despite the fact the he is the best friend of Lucius.  Finally, the young man just asks:  "Lady, what do you want of me?"  What Livia wants is a catalog of all of Julia's sexual activities.  And she wants Proteus to keep encouraging Julia in her sexual exploits. 

Augustus calls Claudius over to him.  He says there are laws of great severity against bachelors  --  he wants Claudius to get married!  He says:  "Go and procreate!"   Livia says that poor Claudius twitches, stutters and limps.  Augustus must take this into account.  The she talks to Augusts about the marriage of Germanicus to Agrippina and the marriage of Kastor (the son of Tiberius) and Navilla. 

Proteus is at another orgy and has a different partner this time other than Julia. 

Part 4.  Turning a Son on His Mother. 

Livia meets a young boy named Herod.  His grandfather was "King of the Jews".  He is presently in a class with Claudius.  Claudius introduces the young fellow to his mother Octavia.  Herod says he has studies all the members of the extended family of Caesar.  Livia says about Herod:  "What a polite boy!" 

Proteus has a long list of men who have been with Julia.  This includes some black slaves.  Livia tells her that he has done well, that he is ambitious.  With the list Livia confronts Postumus.  Postumus says he he actually knew o these orgies.  Livia asks him:  "You knew about it and you did nothing?"  She says Postumus could have come to her, but now it's too late to save Postumus or Julia.  She goes on to say that Postumus aided and abetted Julia as pimp, as procurer.  Livia then asks Postumus:  "What can I do?  Nothing."  So Postumus falls right into her trap.  He tells Livia that he will be the one to tell Augustus and he asks his grandmother for the actual lists of names. 

Part 5.  A Father's Pain.

Augustus looks over the list of names.  He then looks at the men on the list who have now been brought before him.  He asks each one if they have slept with his daughter?  They says yes.  After completing this task he asks:  "Has anyone not slept with my daughter?"  Caesar cries. 

Augustus decides to banish Julia for life.  she will be left alone until she dies.  Later Julia bans on the door of Augusts begging and crying to please let her talk to him:  let her explain; don't send her away, she couldn't bear it.  August just puts his hand over his ears.  His daughter begs him to please give her another chance. 

When Julia sees Livia, she tells her that this is all her doing.  She is getting Julia out of the way so Tiberius can come back to Rome.  Julia says that when her father dies, Livia won't be needed anymore, so she urges her to climb on the funeral pyre with her husband. 

Augustus finally comes out of his room.  He tells his wife that he is cursed.  Gaius and then this, he says.  Livia tells him to let her son come home for now August must see that it was Julia's wickedness that drove Tiberius to what he did.  But Augusts says:  "I'll never bring him back!"  Claudius is in the room keeping out of sight and he hears all this. 

Part 6.  Good News in the Horoscope.

Tiberius learns that a ship is in the harbor.  Tiberius is conferring with his horoscope reader Drusilius .  He has been plotting out his own horoscope trying to find some good news.  He tells Drusilius that he will have the man thrown off the face of a cliff, if he doesn't find any good news in the horoscope.  He even tells a guard to escort Drusilius out for a walk down the cliff.  Oh, and be careful, because Drusilius could easily fall of the cliff while descending.  Drusilius gets his message.  He tells Tiberius that he just knows that the ship in the harbor is bringing him good news. 

A messenger from the ship arrives.  He tells Tiberius that Lucius is dead!  Tiberius is to return to Rome immediately.  Lucius died while on a boating accident in Marseilles.  The boat overturned.  Tiberius and Drusilius just start laughing up a storm with big, hearty laughter.  The messenger says he doesn't understand why the two men are laughing.  Tiberius says it's just nervous laughter.  But they keep commenting on the death and keep on laughing their heads off.  Tiberius can't believe his "luck".  Gaius and Lucius dead within eighteen months of each other and the banishment of Julia in-between. 

7.  Turning of the Tides?

Tiberius arrives and reports to Augustus and Livia.  Augustus now says that they will let bygones, be bygones.  He says his two grandsons are dead and people shout at him in the street because he banished Julia.  But she's not my daughter any more, says Augustus.   Augustus leaves.  Tiberius tells his mother that the man's mind is going.  Mother agrees with him. 

Postumus comes in to ask rhetorically where is his mother and where are his brothers?  Where are they? 

 

Episode 4. 

Part 1.  What Shall We do about Claudius? 

The elderly Claudius remarks about those days that he was not a pretty sight.  He comments on the members of the Caesar family at dinner.  He says Postumus, Agrippa's only surviving son, was his best friend.  He would protect Claudius against bullies who tried to abuse him.  Then there was Germanicus, the golden-hair Apollo, and brother to Claudius, who had already become a great soldier.   Livila, his sister was always tormenting Postumus sexually, while her husband is away.   Augusts asks Livila where is her husband?  She says that Kastor hates family dinners.  And then there is Livia who asks once again:  "What are we going to do about Claudius?"

Part 2.  Bad News.

A courier arrives from Germany.  There has been a terrible disaster.  He is filthy dirty because he has ridden for four days to bring the message.  He says the 17th, 18th and 19th Legions no longer exist.  The armies of Quintillian Varus no longer exist.  The whole army was massacred in the Teutebourg Forest.  Now nothing stands between the Germans and the Roman provinces in Gaul.  There is no army across the Rhine in Germany.  Varus has killed himself over the massacres. 

Augustus gives orders to send for Germanicus and Postumus.  He then asks wasn't there any intelligence warning of this?  There was, but Varus ignore the intelligence.  Germanicus arrives and asks what's happened.  But Postumus Agrippa cannot be found.  (Postumus is most likely with Livila.)

 3.  Not the Fool. 

Two historians in the senate come to the library looking for a boo by the Greek Permicles on military tactics.  The librarian cannot find it.  Claudius is there working on his book about his father and grandfather.  The senators speak with Claudius and are shocked at how well he speaks, since everyone told them he was a half-wit.  They ask him what he is doing and he says he is writing about the history of the civil wars and about his father and grandfather.  Assinius Polyo tells Claudius that it was because of his father's and grandfather's support for the republic, that they were killed.  Claudius is absolutely shocked and he speaks so loudly that Polyo has to warn him to be quiet.    And he gives Claudius some advice.  His father and grandfather were poisoned.  The authorities also will not permit Claudius to finish his historical work.  He tells Claudius to exaggerate his stutter and play the fool. 

Augustus speaks with Postumus.  He says he has heard many complaintes about him, of his rude and bad tempered nature and that he is a bit of a rake.  Moreover, when the news came of the German massacred of Roman troops, Postumus could not be found.  Furthermore, his wife complains that she does not get enough sex from him.  Augusts says he is holding up Postumus' inheritance.  He says his father was his greatest friend.  With Livia listening in to their conversation, Augustus says:  "It's my intention that you should follow me."  Postumus asks what about his step-father Tiberius?  Augustus dismisses him saying that they just don't get along. 

Livila reports to Livia as commanded.  Livia asks her why does she deceive her husband?  She says she has had Livila watched. And she reminds her of how Julia was banished for her activities.  This scares Livila and she starts begging to be spared.  She says: "I won't ever do it again.  I won't see him again.  Don't send me away."   Then Livia starts bring Livila to side with her.  She says that there was a civil war and it could happen again.  There must be only one ruler.  She says Livila must adopt her objective.  She asks Livila doesn't she want her husband to be emperor after Tiberius?  Of course.  Then Tiberius must succeed Augustus if his son Kastor is to succeed him in turn. 

Part 4.  Making a Decision. 

Augustus complains that Tiberius in Germany holds bridges, but he doesn't cross them.  He's been in Germany for six months and just sits on his ass all the time.  Livia says that Tiberius is just being cautious.  Augustus tells his wife that he is the one that makes the decision, not her!  and he wants to sent Postumus to Germany.  Livia tells him not to do that because Tiberius will take it as a criticism of himself.  Send Germanicus, she says.  Augustus reluctantly goes along with his wife.  Then Livia turns to the subject of Claudius' biography of his father and grandfather.  Livia says it's downright subversive.  The books emphasizes the sins of his forefathers:  their attachment to the republic. 

Agustus asks when will Claudius marry?  Six years ago he was bethrothed to a young lady.  So the marriage could take place very soon. 

Part 5.  Family Embarrassment. 

Claudius will be in Augustus' box at the scheduled gladiator games.  Claudius greets the crowd and they give him a very good reception.  His grandmother and mother are not pleased though, because sits in the wrong place.  Octavia tells him to sit with Postumus and Herod.  He has to move.  He does so, but then his chair breaks and he falls backwards. 

Herod is super critical of the gladiator games.  Claudius protests that the games were started a a religious rite to honor the spirits of the dead.  He says:  "Herod, you don't understand these things." 

Livia speaks to the gladiators, since she is the one paying for most of the cost.  She says they know they are all scum.  If they fight well she will be handing out freedoms and gold.  But, she wants a real fight.  The games are being degraded by professional tricks used to stay alive.  She says there is just too much of this in the games today.  Violators of the games will be sent to work in the mines in Numidia.

Claudius does not like the blood and gore of the games.  Fairly quickly, he faints.  A woman comes over to Postumus and hands him a note from Livila. 

Part 6.  Framed.

Postumus reports to Livila's room as requested.  the kiss.  He picks her up and puts her on the bed.  Postumus starts kissing him and then she bites him and draws blood.  Then she starts screaming rape.  Postumus knows it's a trap and shouts at her:  "You bitch!  You filthy bitch!"  The guards come to the "rescue".  Postumus protests that Livila invited him to her room. 

Augustus talks with Postumus, but doesn't believe him.  He asks:  "Why would she accuse you of rape?"  Postumus tells his grandfather to open his eyes.  He asks hasn't grandfather notices that everyone around him has been drying or been banished?  He says that Livia is their killer.  Augustus can't believe that Livia could have killed all those family members.  He accuses Postumus of acting like he is crazy.  Postumus comments:  "What a pathetic joke!  I'm not mad!  She is!"  

Augustus says he could have Postumus killed right now.  But instead, he is going to suffer like his mother suffers.  He will be placed on a small island.  Augustus asks Livia if she is alright? 

Claudius hears lots of noise from outside.  Postumus comes in to see Claudius.  He got away from his guards. 

Part 7.  Keep Playing the Fool. 

Claudius asks Postumus if he is really certain that his grandmother put Livila up to this?  Postumus says he is sure of it.  He says he wants Claudius and Germanicus to know the truth. He tells Claudius to go on playing the idiot.  It's the only way he will survive.  Postumus says goodbye, old friend and leaves. 

It is the wedding day for Claudius.  He sits next to his bride.  No one of the Caesars has seen the woman since she was thirteen.  When the woman rises, she towers over Claudius.  He comes up only to her shoulders.  All the people at the wedding start laughing their heads off.   Livia says since the age of thirteen, the bride has just grown and grown and continued to grow.  This brings even more laughter and Claudius feels humiliated. 

Sitting in his bed the thought of the wedding disturbs the elder Claudius and he accidentally rolls off the bed.  His servants run over to pick him up. 

 

Episode 5. 

Part 1.  Poison is Queen. 

Claudius continues his writing.  Looking for a document he comes across the real will of Augustus. 

Germanicus comes back.  He says that the Germans are defeated and they have taken many German captives.  In addition, Germany is now paying Rome tribute again. 

Part 2.  The Truth be Told. 

Germanicus speaks with Claudius.  He asks where's their mother and Claudius says she's talking with Pina bout the children.  Claudius has a son.  Germanicus says it was terrible in Germany.  They came upon the massacre spot.  None of the dead were buried in the Teutoburg Forest. 

Claudius says that Postumus told him some terrible tales of the misdeeds of Livia. One has to be careful of grandmother, because Livia opens everyone's mail.  One of the misdeeds is about the rape story.  Livila deliberately entrapped Postumus and Livia is the one who put her up to it.  Livia has been systematically killings members of the family so that Tiberius will succeed Augustus.  Postumus told Claudius says that she killed his mother, two brothers, his father Agrippa, Julia's first husband Marcellus, and their grandfather.  In short, Livia will stop at nothing to get Tiberius to be emperor.   Furthermore, Postumus believes she's mad.

Claudius wants Germanicus to tell Augustus.  He says it must come from Germanicus or from no one.  Germanicus agrees to tell the emperor.    

Augustus and Livia have been married for fifty years.  The emperor is going to the island of Corsica.  He is going because they asks him to come and because they are complaining of no business coming their way.  Livia wants to know if he is stopping off anywhere?  There is an island to where grandson Clanasia was banished.  Augustus says he won't be stopping.  He also tells Lilvia that Germanicus will accompany him part way.  They will drop him in France.  He wax eloquent about the wonderful Germanicus.  He says:  "What a pillar of support Germanicus is!"

Livia calls Livila in for another talk.  She accuses her of telling Augustus to bring Postumus back.  Livila swears that she did not.  And others know what happened in the rape story.  She says her husband Kastor knows.  And Claudius might have told Augustus.  Livia laughs, asking:  "That fool?"  No, she says. 

Part 3.  Making Amends. 

Augustus shows up on the island to where Postumus was banished.  Postumus is filled with rage against Augustus, who actually adopted Postumus as his son.   He asks if Augustus is a tourist on the island.  It's been fourteen years.  Augustus cries and Postumus tells him:  "I never known a man who cried as easy as you do."  Augustus continues to cry.  Postumus asks him:  "What have you done with my life?"  Augustus says that there are cheats all around him and especially so in his own family.  His family have made a food out of him.  And Livia betrayed him more than anyone. 

Augustus says that Claudius spoke to Germanicus and Germanicus spoke to him.  Augustus says he is here to make amends.  He also says that the senate is trying to make Postumus' banishment permanent.  Augustus says he must get the decree reversed, but he will wait until Tiberius is out of Rome.   

Part 4.  False Pretenses.

Livia speaks with the head of the Vestal Virgins.  The chief Vestal asks Livia if she could intervene with the senate to rebuild the Vestal house.  Livia says she cannot.  She turns the subject to Augustus's will She asks the Vestal Virgin if Augustus altered his will?  Yes.  And his friend Quintus Fabius Maximus witnessed it.  Livia says she would like to see the document, but the chief says that it has the royal seal  on it.  Livia says oh, that's nothing.  the chief says she will be breaking her vows, but Livia persists relentlessly. 

Augustus is in great pain.  He says his belly hurts.  Livia hears him moaning in pain.  Augustus has some premonitions of death.  He saw an omen indicating Postumus would be taking over for him.  He says he will die within 100 days, but his friends says it could be just as well be 100 weeks. 

Livia pays a visit to Claudius.  She asks him if it's true hat he has written a book about religious changes.  Claudius becomes very nervous and starts bumping into everything.  He even runs in Tiberius.  He leaves.  Tiberius asks Livia if she is happy or sad?  She says that Augustus changed his will to favor Postumus.    Tiberius becomes angry about it and he's sick to death of this royalty stuff.  He will be soon leaving for Germany.  Livia tells him that he shouldn't travel too far from Rome.  That way he won't have so far to come back if anything happens. 

Part 5.  Thanking Claudius. 

Augustus speaks to Claudius.  He tells him he has been eating milk and figs lately.  He is set holiday on Capri.  Then he suddenly asks Claudius if he bears him any ill-well?  Claudius is shocked a bit and says why should he?  Augusts smiles and says:  "You are not such a fool, are you?"   Claudius says shat his brother Augustus worships Augustus.  Augustus seems pleased.  Now he tells Claudius that Germanicu told him everything. 

Augustus plays a game with friends and is in high spirits.  But he suddenly stops and stands still.  He is in great pain.  He tells the others:  "I feel sick." 

Part 6.  The Devil in Disguise. 

Augustus tells his staff that he will not have any food.  He will only eat figs and drink milk.  And he'll pick the figs himself.  A doctor examines him.  The doctor then tells Livia that Augustus had a very bad attack  And her husband insists that his food should not be touch by any human hands, not even those of Livia. 

Livia goes to see Augustus and asks him how he is feeling.  She says that he made himself feel worse by eating all those figs.  Then she says that Tiberius is there to see her.  She drones on and on.  She says Augustus should have listened to her more.  While she is talking, Tiberius dies.   Oblivious that her husband has died, she keeps on talking.  She says nothing she ever did was for herself.  Now she sees Augustus is dead.  She closes his eyes. 

Tiberius arrives.  He asks how Augustus is and Livia tells him he's dead.  Tiberius says:  "The earth will shake."  Livia says that she must go see the senators and consuls from Rome.  Before leaving, she says:  "By the way, don't touch the figs."  Livia leaves.  She pretends that Augustus is still alive.  Livia speaks with Colonel Cyrjames.  She sends him to the island to kill Postumus.  He accomplishes the task.  Then he and his men kill Quintus Fabius Maximus.

Part 7.  The Fake Will.

Tiberius says to the senators:  "Let the will be read!"  The will reportedly says that Augustus chose Tiberius as his heir.  Moreover, while Tiberius will receive two-thirds of the estates of Augustus, Livia will also inherit one-third of the estates. 

Claudius speaks with Livia.  He says the death of Augustus is a terrible tragedy.  Claudius also says the they have already read the will.  Livia scoffs:  "That's what they think!"  Claudius missed that remark.  And the senates discusses making Augustus a god.  Livia says:  "So shall I be a god."   Livia dismisses Claudius saying that he can go now.  She laughs heartily and long.

An elderly Claudius remembers this and shouts at a remembered Livia:   "You wicked woman!"  He shakes the will he found and shouts that this is the real will of Augustus.  "You stole it!"  Claudius can still hear her laughing. 

 

Episode 6.

Part 1.  Some Justice.

The old Claudius goes to the bathroom.  He says he shouldn't have eaten so many mushrooms.  But this makes him all the more committed to finishing his book.  He says that Tiberius didn't want the emperorship as it came so late in the game for him.  Claudius also says that all power corrupts.  Only Germanicus kept Tiberius in check.   So Tiberius sends Germanicus to Syria to take command there. 

Part 2.  Death of a Martyr. 

There is a scream in the night.  Germanicus is dead!  His wife Agrippina and child (Claudius) come to look at him. Agrippina says one can see the marks of the poison on his body.  She also says:  "Now nothing stands between Rome and her imperial destiny." 

Agrippina and the children are returning home.  They take with them the ashes of Germanicus in an urn.  Agrippina tells Kastor to take it and carry it to Rome.  She urges Kastor to defend his children and avenge his death.  Claudius is also there crying.  The wife mentions that Tiberius and Livia did not come out to mourn Germanicus.

Tiberius tells his mother that there is a lot of bad feeling out there among the people.  Livia says that Tiberius is loved, but not "well-loved" like Germanicus was.  She then tells Tiberius that his son Kastor and his wife Agrippina are going to bring up Pizo and Pancina on charges of treason and murder.    Tiberius says he won't let them try the pair.  Livia says it would be better to try Pizo and learn Tiberius's name than live under a cloud of suspicion.  Tiberius asks his mother if she ever thought that it's actually her that is the one the mob hates. 

Part 3.  Foul Play.

Claudius' mother can't believe Tiberius had Germanicus killed.  But Agrippina insists it's true.  The proof is that Tiberius appointed Pizo governor of Syria.  Agrippina says to Kastor, son of Tiberius, she is sorry to say that about his father, But Kastor isn't even phased by it.   What he wants to know is if there is proof of murder.  And of witchery says the wife of Germanicus.   She believes that Pancina was using witchcraft against him.  There were corpses of a child, a winged cat and other creatures placed under the tiles. 

Little Caligula mentions that he would like to sleep with his sister Drusila.  His grandmother is shocked at his remark. 

Claudius asks the others what about the upcoming trial?   They have an eyewitness named Martina.  Claudius says they should try Pizo in the senates because there Tiberius would also be on trial, even if indirectly.  Tiberius himself will the hearing the case of treason and murder. 

Pizo and Pancina didn't care for Germanicus.  The both agree that Germanicus and Agrippina snubbed them in Syria.  One thing going for Pizo is that he has letters from Tiberius basically okaying all the steps he took along the way in the matter of the death of Germanicus. 

Tiberius wants to know from his commander of the guards Cyrjames who is this woman Martina the poisoner.  Cyrjames says his agent haven't found her yet.  Tiberius tells him to find her fast. 

Part 4.  The Trial. 

Tiberius calls the trial to order.  He says that he grieves for Germanicus, but the trial must proceed.  He says that Pizo is charged with inciting his troops to mutiny and rebellion.  He is also charge with using war to regain his province. 

Kastor is the equivalent of the prosecuting attorney.  He says they have clear evidence that Germanicus was poisoned. 

Caligula's grandmother is really mad at Caligula.  She found he and his sister naked together in Dursilas's bed.  Claudius tries to calm her down, but grandmother says:  "It should have been you that died, not Germanicus.  What use are you to anyone?"  Claudius has a little talk with Caligula that a brother and sister cannot sleep together in bed. 

Herod tells Claudius that Martina has disappeared.  Cyrjames may be responsible. 

In the senate Pizo says that he won't open the letter he has to him from Tiberius.  Anyway it is forbidden, because they have the royal seal on them.  One of the senators says that the empero can approved opening up the letters, but Tiberius says that the motion is denied. 

Part 5.  Playing the Field. 

Pizo is happy about the trial, but Pancina is upset about the way the trial went.  She says it didn't go well.   Moreover, Tiberius will never forgive Pizo for bringing up those letters from him.  Pizo says that Tiberius will never allow a conviction in the case.  He then comments that it was basically his wife's idea to kill Germanicus.  Pancina is shocked that her husband is trying to blame her for this.  She tells him she won't be sacrificed. 

Cyrjames comes in to see Pizo.  He says that Tiberius told him to put guards all around the house.  Pizo says the chief witness against him has disappeared.  That may be true, but Tiberius still wants the letters from him in Pizo's possession.  The letters will be placed in the archives.  Pizo reluctantly gives Cyrjames the letters. 

Cyrjames talks with Tibserius.  He tells him that he must sacrifice Pizo to the mob because the people will not have he and his wife acquitted.  They will be sure to think that Tiberius approved everything.  And the mob approves of Agrippina, the only true descendant of Augustus. 

Agrippina sees Tiberius and tells him that she holds him responsible for the death of her husband. 

Livia has Martina.  Her agents found her.  Livia asks her what poison did she use on Germanicus?  Belladonna.  Martina says shed didn't want to use belladonna because it leaves a red rash, but Pancina insisted.  Livia says that Martina is also said to have used witchcraft on Germanicus.  Martina says she just frightened Germanicus to death.  She says she had the help of Caligula, who hated his father.  Martina says the boy is crazy.  He once told her that he is a living god.  So Martina used him.  She told him to play the "death game".   Livia is shocked that Caligula actually poisoned his own father. 

Part 6. A Trump Car?

The attorney for Pizo says that this Martina has not bee found, so the other side has no witness.  The charges against his clients should be withdrawn.  Tiberius denies the request.  Pizo is shocked.  His wife now request that her case be tried separately from that of her husband.  When the couple get home, Pizo asks Pancina why?  She says because the emperor has abandoned him to the mob.  Nothing can save Pizo now.  She is going to go to Livia for help.  She suggests that Pizo kill himself to preserve the family status and wealth. 

Pizo is furious with his wife.  He says there's another way.  He tells his wife to go tell Livia that he has one of her letters to him that he will read in the senate unless he receives assurances of an acquittal. 

Livia speaks with Tiberius.  She says that Pizo has an incriminating letter that she wrote in her and Tiberius's name.  She says she used the seal of Augustus.  Tiberius says that his mother is driving him insane and he wants her to leave him alone.  Livia says she has Augustus' letters against Tiberius.  She says he must acquit Pizo and his wife.  But Tiberius says there is not going to be any deal.  Livia is furious and says to him:  "What a spineless, miserable, mean-spirited creature you are." 

Livia goes out to tell Pancina that there will be no deal.  Tiberius won't have it.  He won't acquit them.  The only thing Tiberius will agree to is to let Pizo kill himself instead of being executed.  She adds that she has Martina and without her, they probably can't convict Pancina. 

Part 7.  Cover-up. 

Pancina tells her husband that Tiberius will not help them.  He has abandoned them.  Pancina asks her husband  is the whole family to be destroyed by the two of them?  She says they have lived together and they will die together.  Pizo asks:  "You would die with me?"  Pancina says they will leave the letter for Livia.  She will help the family when they are gone.  Pizo starts to cut his wrist but stops.  He would rather take a chance on being executed.  Pancina says that she will have to show him how a Roman should die.  She takes the knife, walks a little ways from him and turns her back on him.  Pizo goes to stop her and when he spins her around she stabs him in the mid-section. 

Caligula starts burning some papers.  Agrippina says that Pizo is dead, but Pancina still lives.  She says she is worried about the future for her sons:  Nero, Drussus and Caligula.  All of a sudden she and others notice the smell of something burning.  Caligula has set fire to the house. 

 

Episode 7.

Part 1. Queen of Heaven.

At a dinner party at the home of Titus and his wife Lollia, a dancer performs a dance for the group. When she is finished Lollia says: "I have something to perform." She tells her guests and husband that Tiberius likes their daughter, Camila. Camila was summoned to the palace. Lollia went with her daughter and they were escorted to a special room. There was erotic art on the walls. Tiberius talked to mother and daughter about the paintings as if they were great works of art. Attending Tiberius was a naked female slave.

Camila burst into tears and Tiberius complained that she gave a very different impression the previous evening. Lollia says she then offered herself in her daughterís place and Tiberius accepted. She says she prostituted herself to save her child. She was subjected to acts of "such abominable filth" and "bestial absurdities". Lollia starts crying. Agrippina gets up to try and console Lollia.

Lollia says: "I canít live with the memory of what he did to me, that beast and his beasts!" With a short sword she commits suicide in front of all her guests and husband.

Make way for the Emperor! Tiberius is being carried by slaves through the streets. He runs into his mother who herself is being carried through the streets. Tiberius doesnít want to talk to her in the middle of the street. Livia, however, wants him to at least know that she heard about him and Lollia.

Part 2. Playing with Fire.

Tiberius wants to know how much longer his hated mother will live and he asks that her horoscope be drawn up. Sejanu tells Tiberius that his agents gave him a report on Serius Assina, commander on the upper Rhine.

They are interrupted by the arrival of Caligula, who is now a young man. He gives Tiberius a scroll containing erotic art that is 200 years old. Tiberius is pleased.

After Caligula leaves, Sejanu tells Tiberius that there is a charge of treason against Serius Assina. Castor arrives. A guard tells him that his father doesnít want to be disturbed. Castor demands they he be announced.

Part 3. Secret Affair.

Castor tells his father that Germanicus was never his enemy, but Tiberius insists he was. Castor tells his father to open his eyes and see that Sejanu is using him for his own purposes. The ambitious man has a vast network of spies working for him. Furthermore, Sejanu is building a prison here in Rome.

At home Castor speaks to his wife Livilla. She urges her husband to sleep. Their daughter Helen says goodnight to them. Unknown to Castor, Sejanu and Livilla are together. Livilla has drugged Castor and he falls into a deep sleep. Sejanu arrives and makes love with Livilla in the bed next to Castor. Sejanu urges Livilla to poison Castor. He says he will divorce his wife and then he and Livilla will marry.

Part 4. All is Not Right in Rome.

Cladius comes to Castor and Herod for some advice. He has received a birthday party invitation from Livia for her birthday. This is so strange to Cladius because the last time he saw her was seven years ago when Caligula burned the house down. He wants to know what Livia might be up to.

Herod and Castor tell him to relax. They are more concerned about Sejanu, who has statutes of himself placed all over the city. They donít trust the man. Castor doesnít feel well. Claudius says Castor doesnít look well at all. Herod agrees.

Castor notes that Serius Assina is to be arrested on the grounds of treason. Varo is to be the prosecuting attorney. Castor is shocked by this turn of events.

Tiberius prays to a statue of Augustus asking him for some help. Agrippina comes in and challenges him with the claim that he is systematically eliminating all of her friends. She says: "You persecute me!" Agrippina softens a bit to tell Tiberius that perhaps she does him wrong, but she wants him to know that she is not ambitious and her only desire is to be left alone. Tiberius just says: "I wonít forget what you made me do to Pizo."

5. Birthday Surprise.

Claudius arrives for Liviaís birthday party. With her is Caligula who Livia refers to as a monster. She tries to make it crystal clear that Cladius will never harm Caligula. And Caligula will never harm Claudius, because it has been foretold that Claudius will avenge Caligula. Livia tells Caligula to go so she can talk with Claudius in private. Caligula kisses her passionately on the lips while fondling her left breast. He leaves. Claudius asks why she lets Caligula do this? Livia tells Claudius that her body fascinates Caligula because it is so old..

Livia tells Claudius that he will be the next emperor after Caligula. Tiberius wants Caligula to be the emperor, because he knows Caligula will be a worse emperor than Tiberius himself was. He hopes this will make people realize that Tiberius wasnít so bad.

Now Livia gets down to what is really bothering her. She wants to be a goddess. Livia wants this because of her many serious sins. She tells Claudius that she did many terrible things, but credits herself with saving Rome from another civil war. Caligula swore to Livia that if she kept his secret, he would make her a goddess.

Since Livia is in such a sad and scared mood, Caligula asks her about who she killed. Marcellus? Yes. Agrippa? Yes. Gaius? No, he was poisoned in Syria. Lucius? He drowned. Postumus? Yes, because he was a threat to Tiberius. His father? He died of his wounds. Germanicus? No, Plancina poisoned him, but Livia had marked him for death. Augustus? Yes. She smeared to poison on the figs to kill him. Claudius is amazed and asks her how she could have poisoned her own husband. Livia responds: "Yes, that was hard, very hard, the hardest thing I have ever had to do."

Livia wants Claudius to promise her that as the future Emperor he will make her a goddess. Claudius responds: "If I can become emperor, you can certainly become the Queen of Heaven."

Part 6. Fooling the Fool.

Sejanu tells Claudius that his wife is pregnant. This is news to Claudius. He knows that the child isnít his because he had led a completely separate life from his wife. Sejanu tells him that he will have to divorce his wife. Claudius, without any hesitation, answers: "Of course, Iíll divorce her."

Sejanu says he wants Claudius to marry his sister Alia. They will be brothers-in-law this way. He adds that Tiberius has already approved the marriage.

In front of a very sick Castor, laying on his bed, Sejanu grabs the breast of Livilla to vex him.

Herod says he is going back to his home in Edam. Claudius observes that he has been told that there is nothing in Edam. Claudiusí mother tells Herod that he must marry. Now the subject of the divorce of Claudius and the marriage to the sister of Sejanu comes up. Mother is not pleased and says the whole thing is monstrously wicked. She adds that Claudius is a bigger fool than she thought. Claudius is falling prey to Sejlnu, so the man can get closer to the emperor.

Castor is dead and Serius Assina has committed suicide. Agrippina thinks that Claudius has betrayed them and mother refers to her son as a block head. But at least Claudius is still here.

Claudius says to himself yes, heís still here and theyíre all gone. And now Livia, the mother of the nation, is dying!

Part 7. Broken Promise.

Mother tells Claudius that Livia is dying and has sent for him.

Caligula is with Livia. Livia wants confirmation of the promise from him to make her a goddess. But Caligula cruelly tells her that he doesnít need her anymore. She will stew in hell forever and ever. He leaves.

Claudius comes in to see Livia, who is crying. He tells her not to cry. Livia says Caligula was just here and told her she will stew in hell forever. Claudius assures Livia: "Youíll be the Queen of Heaven!"

Livia tells Claudius to go on playing the food. She then asks Claudius to stay with her until she is dead. Claudius stays with her. She dies and Claudius says to her: "Goodbye, grandmother."

 

Episode 8. 

Part 1.  Reign of Terror.

"With the death of Livia, the last restraint on Tiberius was removed.  He handed the running of the empire over to Sejanus and retired to Capri.  A reign of terror had began.  No one was safe.  Sejanus arrested Agrippina, her eldest son Nero and countless others besides.  His ambition was limitless.  He divorced his wife Epicarta and became my sister's lover, hoping to marry her.  My mother remained curiously innocent of much that was going on until one day Epicarta came to visit her.  Sejanus had taken their children with him and she wanted them back.  She feared my sister would harm them, once married to Sejanus.  Now she demanded that my mother speak to my sister and enlist her help."

Epicarta asks Octavia to asks Livilla to persuaded Sejanus to return her children to her.  Octavia says no because since the death of Livilla's husband Castor, they are not even on friendly terms.  Mother says that she despises both Sejanus and she despises Epicarta for she married Sejanus fully knowing what he was like.  Not only that, mom says that it's people like them that have virtually ruined Rome with their "greedy ambition and petty selfishness". 

Epicarta is angry at this outburst and she says her daughter murder her husband  Castor.  Furthermore, she now threatens Olivia to to go Tiberius with this story, which will ruin their family name. Octavia can't believes it, saying:  "You're lying!"  Epicarta shoots back that she has slaves that will talk about what happened.  she knows that if she goes to Tiberius it will cost her her life, because Sejanus will kill her, so that will be her last resource.  She adds:  "Without my children, I am nothing."  Epicarta leaves.

Octavia doesn't believe Epicarta.  She asks Claudius if he believes her and he says no, that she is just unhinged.  He does know, however, that his sister has done some terrible things.  She connived to banish Postumus.  But, Livia forced her to do it, he says. 

Part 2.  No Consent from the Emperor. 

Livilla's daughter Helen is very upset because she can't marry Nero.  Octavia is going think of someone else she can marry.  Octavia decides to confront her daughter Livilla directly.  She asks her if she intends to marry Sejanus?  Livilla says that she is in love with the man.  Mother tells her that the man is just using her.  Then she wants to know what will happen to the children of Sejanus because Epicarta desperately wants her children back.  Livilla cruelly and selfishly says:  "What's that to me?"  Octavia warns her daughter that one day it may mean a great deal to her. 

Tiberius talks with Sejanus on Capri.  He tells him frankly that he cannot allow him to marry Livilla.  If he married Livilla, he would have to raise Sejanus to "the most exalted state" and he will not do that.  He has a different suggestion.  What about marrying Livilla's daughter Helen?  That is much more politically acceptable to the Emperor. 

Fliesty Agrippina speaks with Tiberius.  She basically tells him off saying that Sejanus rules in Rome, not Tiberius and when the last of her boys is dead, he will know Sejanus rules in Rome.  Tiberius has now had it with Agrippina.  He is going to send her to the the isle of Panadoria where her mother Julia was sent.    Her son Nero will go to Panza, and even smaller island.  Agrippina spits in the Emperor's face.  Tiberius orders her to be flogged.  He is given a palm branch.  Tiberius ties her to a post, pulls down her dress in the back and flogs her. 

Part 3.  Unraveling Plans. 

Sejanus is swamped by people requesting help.  He breaks away to go see his children, who beg dad to let their mother come and see them.  Dad makes no promises.  Livilla arrives and asks Sejanus if he asked Tiberius about their marriage.  Sejanus tells her flatly that he refused permission.  He then says they may have made a mistake in even asking Tiberius.  It has made the Emperor more suspicious than ever.  He mentions that Tiberius suggested that he marry Helen instead.  This remark infuriates and enrages Livilla who now screams at Sejanus:  "You monster!"  She tries to strike him saying:  "I'll kill you!" 

Sejanus tries to calm Livilla by saying that he loves her and warns her not to spoil it for them both.  He will work to get Drussus sent away to exile.  Then Tiberius will have no one beside him and he will have to turn to Sejanus.  He asks Livilla to trust him. 

In the Senate there is a great outcry against sending Drusus into exile, but in the end the Senate approves.  Drussus is thrown into jail.  Later The protest leader Assilius Gallus asks Claudius if his book is finished? No. 

Part 4.  Going too Far. 

While speaking with Claudius, Assilius Gallus is arrested for inciting enmity between the Emperor and his commander of his guard Lucius Eliu Sejanus.  Claudius is shocked. 

Sejanus tells Gallus to sign a confession written for him that accuses him with conspiracy with Drussus to subvert the armies of the Rhine. Gallus refuses to sign, so the guards start slapping him around.  Then they beat him until he goes unconscious. 

Claudius tells his mother that Sejanus has had Gallus arrested.  Octavia is upset, but she has bigger worries.  A servant discovered some of Lavilla's letters and it is clear that she murdered Castors and now she want to kill Tiberius.  It should be easy to kill Tiberius for every guard owes his allegiance to Sejanus.  Mom says her daughter is wicked and even worse:  monstrous.  Furthermore, she is convinced that Livilla is poisoning Helen because of her obsession with Sejanus.  Mom tell Claudius to go to Capri with the purpose of dedicating his book to Tiberius.  He will give a copy of the galleys of the book to Tiberius personally and within the container, she will include Livilla's letters. 

Part 6.  Cleansing Rome. 

Claudius is now in Capri waiting on the reaction of Tiberius.  The Emperor comes out  saying that he has received evidence that his son Castor was poisoned by his wife with the help of Sejanus and now they plot to assassinate the Emperor.  Now he ponders how he will get rid of Sejanus.  He comments that Castor had tried to warn him about Sejanus. He comes up with a plan.  Setorius Macro is second in command to Sejanus.  He will turn to him with a long list of traitors.  Rome will be purged!

Sejanus is told that the Emperor is coming with a message.  The usurper will be told that he is to be promoted by the Emperor.  Sejanus appears on the steps of Rome waiting for the appearance of Tiberius.  Suddenly Macros changes the guards form those loyal to Sejanus to Tiberius.  A message is read to the senate.  The message is of the conspiracy of Sejanus to assassinate Tiberius.  All of Sejanus' supporters quickly leave the senate.  The order is given for the arrest of Sejanus and all those connected with him. 

Part 7.  Blood Bath.

Macro has an order to kill the children of Sejanus and Epicarta.  The guard assigned to the task tells Macro that he can't kill the children.  Macro sends him back into the children after a little scolding and talk to complete the deadly dead.  Guards are let into the cell of Sejanus and they stab him to death. 

Livilla is screaming, crying and kicking the locked door that imprisons her in her mother's house.  Claudius is very upset for the welfare of his sister, but his mother tells him that Livilla will stay locked in there until she dies.  Claudius is devastated and breaks down crying for his sister.  He runs away. 

The estranged wife of Claudius, pregnant by a lover, comes screaming to him to save her.  She begs him not to let them take her for people are being executed all over Rome.  She screams:  "I'm your wife, you must protect me."  She tells Claudius that the killed the children of Sejanus and Epicarta.  They even raped the girl before killing her.  Claudius cries saying:  "Rome, you are despicable!" 

An elderly Claudius says that his alliance with the Sejanus family could have cost him his life.  He divorces Elia and sends back her entire dowry. 

 

Episode 9.

Part 1.  Zeus, by Jove!

The elderly Claudius says he found in that box.  He will tell everything in his book.  About the last five years, he says, the leas said the better.  Tiberius remained at Capri given over to his perversions. 

Caligulus is very eager for Tiberius.  When he thinks him dead, Macro takes off the Emperor's ring to give to Caligulus.  He goes out to talk to the senators.  He says Tiberius is dead and that with his dying breath he gave the young man his Emperor's ring.  Caligulus says he fell to his knees . . . He is interrupted by Macro who says that Tiberius is not dead yet.  Caligulus goes with Macro, telling the senators he will go check on Tiberius personally.  Marco places a pillow over the head of Tiberius and smothers him until he is dead.  Now Caligulus can return to the senators with the news that the Emperor is dead.  they will take the corpse back to Rome.  The senators shouts:  "Hail, Caesar!"

Part 2.  Drunk with power. 

Herod visits Octavia and Claudius.  He meets Octavia and Tiberius' grandson Gamellus. 

Caligula gives the order to burn all the information about people gathered by Sejanus.  He then appoints Claudius his colleague.  The Emperor says that Claudius will have a suite of room in the palace.  And he has a personal matter he wants Claudius to handle.  He is having two statues made of his brothers:  Drussus and Nero.  He wants Claudius to oversee the project.

One person who really irritates Caligula is the boy Gamellus.  He constantly is coughing and it gets on the Emperor's nerves.  He talks about it very often and tells the boy to control himself, but the boy can only say that it is not easy to control the cough. 

Caligula complains that his headache is getting worse.  His sister Drusillus tells him to come to her room to rest.  But Caligulus wants to know from Lentulus how much is left in the treasury.  Only about eight to nine million.  He says Tiberius had a lot of debts that had to be paid off.  Caligula falls to the floor from the pain in his head. 

Part 3.  Birth of of God.

Caligula goes into a coma.  He awakes from the coma, but then relapses back into it.  Drusillus comes running to Claudius crying that Caligula just tried to kill her.  He accuses her of not loving him. 

Caligula tells the court that he is undergoing a metamorphosis.  He then  puts a sword to the throat of Claudius.  To save himself, Claudius butters up Caligula saying that the man has become a god.  He claims that Caligula's face shines like a lamp.  Caligula likes this.  He says by the age of ten he had already killed his father and this because he stood in his way.  He says he frightened his father to death in Antioch.  He also says he killed Tiberius.  Caligulus says he has always been divine.  He says Drusillus is a god too.  The Emperor ends by telling Claudius that he was thinking of killing him, but changed his mind. 

Part 4.  A Madman.

Claudius and others learn that Caligula thinks he is Zeus.  It is claimed that the Emperor has undergone a transformation to a god.  A couple of people laugh quietly at this statement.  The Emperor and Drusillus are announced.  Caligula sees Lentulus in the room and reminds the man that he would give his very body if the Emperor survived his coma.  So, says the Emperor, Lentulus shouldn't be here, should he?  Lentulus is dumb-founded.

Octavia wants Caligulus dead.  She says for taking his sister for a wife, the both of them will rot in hell.  Claudius says sadly:  "I've got a mad nephew I can't kill." 

Part 5.  Vanity.

Caligulus walks with Drusillus.  He talks to a statue of Jove.  Drusillus says that she has chosen to bear the child of Zeus (that is, her brother) to rule the universe. 

Claudius goes to the statue maker, but the statues are not ready.  Nero is done, but not Drussus.  Drussus will be ready in a week.  Claudius is not at all happy about this news.  Now he has to go tell Caligula.  He tells the Emperor that there is bad news about the statues.  But Caligula only gives the order to collect all the god statues and replace their heads with head of Caligulus.  And they are to put Drusillus' head of the statue of Venus.  Claudius tells Caligula at the statues won't be ready.  Caligula is furious at Claudius.  They are interrupted by Macro bringing in the severed and bloody head of the grandson Gamellus.  The boy's coughing will never bother Caligula again. Claudius feels sick from the sight of it.  Caligula tells the older man that he is not consul anymore. 

Part 6.  Goodbye.

There are few people at the funeral of the grandson of Octavia and Tiberius.  Octavia says goodbye to Herod.  She tells Claudius that she is going to join his father.  She plans to kill herself.  Octavia says to Claudius that he was a big disappointment to her.  She also speaks of the "crazy world" by which she finds herself surrounded.  Claudius start crying.  She tells her son that he may kiss her and he does so.  Claudius continues crying.  Octavia kisses him on the head. 

Later a servant comes to Claudius to tell him that his mother is dead.  She cut her wrist.  While dying she called out to her husband Drussus.  Her body is now covered with a sheet.  The servants sees how upset Claudius is and tells him:  "Don't be sad, master, she wanted to go." 

Part 7.  Immortal?

Drusillus is looking for Zeus, her husband.  Claudius sees her and tells her that it was her grandmother's funeral today.  Couldn't she have come?  Drusillus says only that gods don't go to funerals.  She comments to Claudius that he plays the clown and she plays the goddess.  "We're all afraid.  Even he is."  One of the things he is afraid of is the fetus in her womb, who he sees as a possible rival. 

Claudius tells the unstable Caligula a story about Zeus cutting out the fetus of a possible rival and eating it.  This impresses Caligula, for he, dressed like Zeus, comes to Drusillus saying he wants her to drink a potion.  He asks her:  "Do you trust me?"  Caligulus tells her that there will be no pain.  Drusillus doesn't know what he's talking about.  She asks:  "What are you going to do?"  He stabs her in the belly.  She screams bloody hell.  Aroused, Claudius bands on the door asking what's happening?  Caligula, with blood at the corner of his mouth, comes out warning Claudius not to go into the room.  But Claudius does stick his head and part of his through the doorway to see.  He sees all right and is horribly shocked by the sight he sees. 

 

Episode 10. 

Part 1.  Hail Who?

Caligula is advertising a brothel in the palace.  It is staffed by his sisters and cousins.  And now he wants Claudius to take money at the door.  Claudius says he will never agree to that.  Furthermore, he is forcing the women of the nobility into prostitution at his brothel.  The woman who keeps Claudius close company, Calpurnia, was and is still a prostitute. 

Part 2.  Filling the Coffers.

Claudius works taking the money at the brothel door.  Inside an orgy is taking place.  Senator Sabinus comes in with his wife.  He pleads with Claudius to help him.  His wife just gave birth six weeks ago and he would like a room where she could stay away from the prostitution/orgy activity.  Claudius says there is nothing he can do about it, he has to bring his wife in.  A madam comes to help bring the wife in.  She tells the wife that she has her first customer ready.  The guy comes and grabs the wife to ravish her. 

Claudius sees the fellow acting like an animal to the wife and he decides to intervene.  He grabs the fellow and throws him out.  He now tells the wife to go home!  Claudius goes  back in to take down another man.  Caligula comes in at this moment and starts laughing his head off at the sight of Claudius on the ground wrestling with another man.  He is truly tickled to find Claudius in this demeaning situation. 

Caligula tells everyone that he swore to fight a war with the Germans.  Now he orders Cassius to order up the necessary military detachments.  Caligula's wife Caesonia has given birth to a girl.  Claudius asks about how Caesonia is doing. 

Caligula goes himself to Germany.  The Emperor informs the Senate that he has found a vast conspiracy against him in the army of the Rhine.  Six corps commanders and the army commander himself have bee executed for treason.  The senate is sending Claudius to Caligula with two ex-consuls to congratulate Caligula on the suppression of the uprising.  Claudius speaks to Caesonia who herself wonder why Caligula chose her for his wife?  She assures Claudius that the Emperor is more afraid than any of them. 

Part 3.  A Madman's War. 

Claudius and the two ex-consuls arrive.  They have arrived at the tent headquarters ahead of the wagon train that is coming by road.  They themselves traveled by water.  This absolutely infuriates Caligula and he tells his guards to thrown Claudius in the river.  The guards take Claudius out.  Caligula rages on about how dare the Senate send that idiot, that imbecile "to felicitate me!"   He then tells the two ex-consuls, who are prostrate on the ground, that he had a quarrel with Neptune.  He asks the men on the floor how dare they ride with Neptune?  The Emperor also accuses them of having plotted with Claudius on the way here. The men deny this firmly. 

All of a sudden, Claudius comes into the tent all covered with mud and leaves.  Once again, Caligula starts wildly laughing.  He thinks it's so funny to see Claudius in this state.   He laughs and tells the ex-consuls that Claudius has saved them.  He gives Cassius the watchword for the day:  "Give us a kiss!"  Cassius is not happy with this impudent watchword.  He tells the ex-consuls that what happened to them could happen to anyone at any time with this Emperor. 

Caligula is so happy with Claudius that he invites him into the personal part of the tent.  He tells Claudius that he assigns these crazy, whacky watchwords just to annoy Cassius and the other.  He has fun just imagining the commander Cassius having to tell the guards to:  "Give us a kiss."  He laughs heartily. 

Caligula gets serious.  He asks Claudius if he thinks he is showing any signs of madness?  Wisely, Claudius says no.  But Caligula tells him that sometimes he does think he is going mad.  Claudius butters him up with:  "You set the standard of sanity for the whole world!"  Caligula says:  "It's very hard to be a god!"  He tells Claudius to come with them on the military expedition.

Part 4.  Seeds of Discontent. 

Back in Rome, Caligula tells those gathered before him:  "Your Emperor is amongst you once again.  Victorious!"  And yet, he says, there were no cheering crowds to greet him.  In fact, the streets were empty.  One of the senators calls him Jove and says he order not triumph to be held in his honor.  Caligula says in disgust:  "And you took me at my word."  He goes no to another subject.  On the sea he fought a tremendous battle with Neptune and won.  He has his men show the senators the plunder they have taken.  Trunks of plunder are spilled out onto the floor.  "Seashells?"  says one of the senators in amazement.  Yes, and Neptune won't be fighting the Emperor soon again. 

The senators say they have built a new temple for him on Palantine Hill.    Caligula and Caesonia work on Caligula to convince him not to kill the senators.  Cassius tries to recruit one of the senators for his plans on an uprising. 

Part 5.  A Dancing Fool.

Claudius and the two ex-consuls are called before Caligula.  They are worried that it could be something very bad for them.  They nervously fidget while waiting for the Emperor.  All of a sudden Caligula appears dressed in a costume more befitting a belly dancer.  He dances for the men in a blonde wig.  He plays the role of a female to a male dancer.  As part of the dance the Emperor chases out a couple making love.  When the performance end, Claudius goes crazy with praise and flattery.  Caligula is pleased.  He says it was only a rehearsal.  Claudius mentions that the woman dancer was pretty.  Caligula calls him an old lecher and says he is going to marry her to Claudius tomorrow.  He laughs and laughs.  The woman's name is Messalina.  The Emperor adds that they can live in the palace.  Messalina is brought in and the matter discussed.

After the Emperor leaves, Claudius says he's sorry for this.  But Messalina tells him:  "I'll be very happy to be married to you.  I'll fell save being married to you."   Claudius is pleased and thell her he thinks he's in love with her already. 

The next day the wedding takes place.  A special senator is invited to the wedding.  It is a huge white horse.  Caligula says he just recently appointed him senator. 

Part 6.  The Death of Caligula. 

Cassius wants to kill the emperor as planned.  Marcus says it's too risky.  The German guards never leave the emperor's side.  This does not deter Cassius and he asks if the senator will help them? The senator asks when and where.   Tomorrow is the final day of the games.  There is a covered way at the end of the imperial box.  It will be the task of Marcus to make sure that the Emperor uses that exit. 

Caligula is not doing well at a game of dice and he is very upset.  Claudius recently receive a gift from Herod of four die that always come up with the number six.  He gives the die to Caligula and urges him to use them.  Caligula immediately starts winning and says:  "By Jove!  These die were made for me!"  He starts winning and greedily taking everyone's money.  Meanwhile, Cassius has dismissed the palace guard.  Marcus starts to walk away and Caligula stops him.  Marcus tell the Emperor that he doesn't want anything to eat.  He leave and talks with Cassius.  He wants to back out, but Cassius just tells him to get Caligula out here!  Marcus goes to tell  Caligula that his anticipated Greek ballet is her.  they are waiting in the rear.  Caligula is pleased about this and he starts walking through the covered way.  The door is suddenly closed behind him and two guards.  Cassius and another man approach him from the other direction.  Someone says:  "This is for our wives, Jove!"  They start stabbing him and then finish him off with a killing thrust. 

Claudius sees the dead Caligula and is very shocked.  Now Cassisus kills Casesonia and her child. 

Part 7.  A New Emperor.

Claudius runs away very fearful of what might happen to him.  The soldiers come into the palace looking for him.  a soldiers finds Claudius hiding behind a drape.  The guard shouts:  "It's Claudius!"  He and another guard start to tease him, but their commander tells them to leave Claudius alone.  Then someone asks why can't they have Claudius become the emperor?  The commander says he would be better than nothing.  He adds:  "Lads, we found an Emperor!" 

The German guard comes in to try to kill Claudius, but the commander stops them.  He tells the Germans that this man is their new Emperor.  Quietly, the commander tells Claudius:  "Smile, sir."  Then up goes the shout:  "Long live the Emperor!"  They march Claudius around on their shoulders hooraying for him. 

 

Episode 11. 

Part 1.  Fool's Luck. 

Senator Appias Salanus urges the senate to return to the sanity of a republic.  But the Praetorian guard has declared Claudius emperor.  There is great laughter about this. 

Part 2.  To Be or Not to Be.

Claudius says he's the prisoner of the Praetorian Guard.  His particular guard tells him:  "No, you're our Emperor."  Claudius tells him that he doesn't want to be Emperor.  The guard finds this strange and a bit funny.  The commander comes in and the guard tells him that Claudius tells him he doesn't want to be Emperor.  The commander urges Claudius to be reasonable.  He tells Claudius that he rose to command through the ranks.  There are 4,000 guards in the command and they all need an Emperor.  After all, without an emperor, none of them will have a job. 

King Herod comes to call on Claudius, who is thrilled and relieved to see his old friend.  Herod helps him by telling him whatever he does, never give up the power.  If he does, it will lead to civil war.  Either that or Claudius is a dead man.  He tells Claudius to accept the reality that is.   

Two senators, messed up by the crowd, come to speak with Claudius.  Claudius is mad that the commander did not provide protection for the senators from the crowd.  The senators want to know the intentions of Claudius.  They want him to come to the senate to explain himself.  Claudius is willing to go, but the guards will have none of it.  They tell the senators that if they want to talk with the Emperor they will have to come to the palace to do so.  Claudius is not going to the senate, period.  Herod warns Claudius again:  "If you don't accept, you won't survive, nor your family."

Part 3.  Taking Charge.

Senators come to the palace.  Claudius and his wife Messalina come in with Herod.  Claudius tells the senators that it seems they have been given an emperor.  One senators objects that it is unconstitutional.   Claudius agrees with him, but the Praetorian guard has decided otherwise.  And, Claudius reminds the senators, the senate was the body that created the Praetorian guard.  Another senator says that Claudius is not fit to be emperor.   He's hard of hearing and he is half-witted.  Claudius says he is a bit hard of hearing, but he is a very good listener.  And he may be half-witted, but he has survived all the others.  He has half his wits, while they have none of their wits as they are all dead.  And although he has little government experience, he has lived with the imperial family through very hard times.  He asks the senators if their experiences are better than that?

The senators leave except for a few like Marcus, and Aspinus.  Sabinus has committed suicide.  Cassius is brought in with irons around his wrists.  Claudius speaks mainly to Cassius, the ringleader.  He says he cannot condemn Cassius for killing his nephew.  But had been decided to only Caligula, but then Cassius took it upon himself to kill Caesonia and her child.  Furthermore, Claudius believes he and his wife would have been killed also.  He condemns Cassius to death.  Claudius finishes with the simple statement that the investigation is closed. 

Claudius has a son by Messalina.  He thanks his wife for the boy.  He says he is so in love.  But Messalina wants something more than praise and thanks from Claudius.  She says she must work along side him.  Claudius agrees to the request.  Messalina, however, has another request.  Her mother really likes Senator Appias Salanus.  He is currently serving in Spain and she wants him brought back to live in the palace.  Claudius agrees to this also. 

Part 4.  Advise from and Old Friend.

Herod chuckles and says: "So Livia is a goddess at last?"  Claudius says yes, he was happy to grant the woman her last request.  He also says that his wife is pregnant again. He tells Herod that his wife wants Senator Appias Salanus to take the advisory role that Herod played for Claudius.  Her mother likes the senator.  Herod laughs and says that in addition to all his other duties, Claudius is now a matchmaker.  He says to Claudius that he lucky.  It's fool's luck, he adds.  He always had it and he always will. 

Claudius tells Herod that he is thinking about writing a book about his family.  Herod asks why would he want to rake all that trouble up again?  Claudius answer that he owes it to the dead and the innocent.  He then then says through his entire life he only had three friends:  Postumus, Germanicus and Herod.  Herod is pleased and gives Claudius a last piece of advice:  "Trust no one, my friend."

Messalina gives birth to a girl. 

Claudius wants a safe winter harbor built.  One of the senators is completely opposed to the idea, it because it would lower the price of corn and he own lots of corn lands.

Part 5.  Separation. 

Messalina comes in to see Claudius.  She tells him that he works too many hours.  Then she asks permission to sleep in a bedroom of her own for awhile.  Claudius asks:  "Do you not love me?"  She just says that she doesn't want to risk another pregnancy.  Claudius says okay, for a little while she can do it. 

Senator Appias Salanus comes in.  Messalina says that they will all meet at dinner. 

The doctor tells Claudius that he works too many hours. 

Part 6.  Plans Revealed.

Messalina talks with Appias Salanus, who tells her she has done him a great kindness.   Messalina gets right to the point:  "I love you.  I've always loved you."  She says every night before going to sleep she  thinks of him.  She has arranged all this so that Appias can be near her.  Appias tells her that these are merely the dreams of a young girl.  He is shocked to think that his marriage to her mother was just a farce.  To make herself appear better than she is, Messalina says that Claudius is a real brute.  He is planning to have sex with the senators' wives.  Appias is disgusted by what he hears, but he still is resistant to Messalina.  He tells her he has a granddaughter nearly her age.  Seeing that things are lost, she tells him that she could have him executed by merely crying rape.  He still refuses to bend to her lwill telling her that he has no intention of becoming the bed time toy of a seventeen year old girl. 

Claudius has in his possession a plan for rebuilding the harbor designed in the time of Julius Caesar.  It would take four years and cost ten million gold pieces, as opposed to the current plan that would take ten years and fifteen million gold pieces.  Then he lowers the boom on the current designers.  He frankly tells them that their surveyors have been taking bribes from their corn factors and this is done to keep up the price of corn.  His trap is spoiled a bit by Appias who tries to kill Claudius.  Claudius gets away from him long enough to call for the guards.  The guards grab Salanus.  Claudius repeatedly asks him why he tried to kill him?  Appias says that Claudius is a tyrant who wants to put him in bed with his wife Messalina.  Claudius, of course, doesn't know what he's talking about.  Salanus says that the Roman emperors are all the same with their disgusting vices. 

Part 7.  Too Blind to See.

Messalina tells her mother that Appias tried to kill the emperor, but mom just wants to know what her daughter has done.  Seeing her mother's profound suspicions, Messalina has to get tough with her.  She tells her mother that she must support everything that she is going to say or else.  Mother tells Messalina that she is monstrous, so Messalina threatens her to get her to cooperate.  They go to see Salanus.  He tells Messalina that he told her husband what she told him.  Again he talks about the necessity of ending this "plague of emperors". 

Messalina now goes on the attack saying that Salanus is sick with for her her.  She also says that the poor deluded man threatened to kill her.  Claudius wants to hear from the mother, but all she does is back up the lies of her daughter. 

There is talk that Salanus has to be executed.  Now Messalina literally becomes panicked, saying that he should be punished, but he must continue to live.   The blind Claudius says only that Messalina has such a soft heart. 

 

Episode 12. 

Part 1.  A God in Colchester. 

Messalina has a new lover, Mnista.  During love, she scratches his back up.  He doesn't appreciate this because he has to perform at the theater and there is a scene where his back is exposed.  He tells Messalina that she is just bored and that she should have gone with Claudius to reassert Roman authority in Britain.  To end her boredom he suggests to Messalina that since she is such a great lover, they should hold a contest.  She will compete with another woman to see how many men they can service without stop.  The woman who goes the longest wins.  He refers to this as the copulation contest.  He has a rival he proposes.  Her name is Scylla and she is a Sicilian prostitute who is widely known in those circles.  Messalina is enthusiastic about the contest.

News arrives of success in Britain.  They have taken 8,000 prisoners and counted 85,000 corpses.  The leader of the British, Caractacus, has fled to the west.  Pallas has taken the 9th Cavalry in pursuit of him.  Rome suffered only 380 killed and 600 wounded.  And Claudius is on his way home. 

Part 2.  A Challenge.

Scylla arrives.  She explains to everyone that she expects to be paid for her work in the contest.  She agrees to receiving three gold pieces for each man serviced.  A soldier gets wind of the contest and starts talking to others to try and stop it.  He is told frankly that Col. Rufius is a friend of the empress and he will probably hang the soldier for making such a fuss over the contest.  In the contest itself, Scylla loses. 

Part 3.  New Problems.

Claudius arrives in the senate.  He has re-established Britain as a province of Rome.  By the time he left Britain, Caractacus was in full flight. 

Old Claudius as narrator says a tragedy is about to unfold.  Marcus Biblius, governor of Syria, has reported that Herod Agrippa is fortifying Jerusalem.  Marcus fears that Herod is plotting a revolt against Rome.  This is bad news to Claudius because Herod is his dearest friend.  Messalina comes in and Claudius tells her that he missed her.  He also asks her if she wants something special. 

Messalina says that what she wants is for Claudius to speak to Mnista.  Lately, he has been very rude to her and has not put on the plays that she has requested.  Claudius tells her that he will speak with the actor.  The narrator Claudius comments that he was Messalina's slave.   He tells the actor to do what Messalina wants him to do. 

Messalina has gone on to a new lover, Gaius Scillius.  Tiberius had killed the man's father. 

Claudius talks about his belief that a messiah is to come to Jerusalem.  He asks about this man that the Greeks call Jesus.  Herod has killed Jesus and is now looking for his disciple Simon.  It is said that Herod himself believes that he is a messiah who will free the Jews from Rome.  Claudius sadly comments:  "My friend has become my enemy."

Part 4.  Going Too Far.

Messalina is having a statue taken down so it can be sent to Scillius.  Her mother complains that she has lavished far too many gifts on the man and all of Rome knows about it.  Messalina defends herself by saying that Scillius is divorcing his wife for her.  The narrator Claudius says that he heard nothing of this and that they were still laughing at him behind his back. 

News arrives.  Herod Agrippa is dead.  He died within five days time.  Claudius receives a letter written by Herod to him.   He asks Claudius to forgive him.  Herod also admits that he has failed in his endeavor to free the area of the Romans.  He says farewell to Claudius and reminds him to trust no one.  The narrator Claudius says:  "I was alone for the first time in my life.  Those friends of my youth were all gone."

Claudius foolishly allows Messalina to use his royal seal.  The narrator Claudius remarks that his ignorance was soon to come to an abrupt end. 

Part 5.  A Fatal Mistake.

Messalina becomes bored again.  Her latest lover Gaius Scillius tells her to divorce Claudius and marry him for he is tried of waiting for her.  Gaius suggests that while Claudius dallies in Ostia with the port work, they will marry in Rome.  The two actually marry in Rome.  The narrator Claudius says:  "I was the only man in Rome who knew nothing of it."   Messalina left a document about the divorce in the chamber of Claudius. 

Pallas and his friend Narcissus talk about the turn of events.  They think the divorce is probably not legally valid and therefore the empress has committed bigamy.  They both agree that Claudius must be told, but they wonder how.  The problem is that the emperor won't believe a word against Messalina.

Part 6.  The Truth Be Told. 

In Ostia Claudius talks with his old friend the prostitute Calpurnia who sent him a note about the existence of a grave threat.  He pleads with her to tell him the nature of the threat.  She is reluctant to talk for fear that Claudius will have her tortured.  Slowly it comes out that Messalina has just married Gaius Scillius, her lover.  Claudius says that he doesn't believe Calpurnia.  In fact, he refuses to believe it.    Pallas and Narcissus, however, back up Calpurnia.  They tell him about the copulation contest and say that if he went over to the new husband's house, he would find that all his treasures are there.  In short, Claudius is divorced.  They all urge Claudius to act now before Messalina's new husband comes to control all of Rome.  Calpurnia urges Claudius to hurry back to Rome and arrest all those involved in this treachery. 

There is a virtual orgy at the wedding reception for Gaius and Messalina.  All of sudden someone sitting atop a wall says that there is a troop of guards coming toward them with their swords drawn.  The cry goes up that the guards are here to arrest them all!  Panic ensues and the guests all start to run away. 

At the palace the talk is of the arrest of 200 of Messalina's supporters.  Messalina herself has not been found as of yet.  All of a sudden Messalina arrives at the place.  She is told that Claudius does not wish to see her.  Instead, she is told that they will escort her home and expect her to wait there.  Messalina screams in realization that she is in extreme jeopardy.

Part 7.  Final Solution.

Pallas and Narcissus come in to get Claudius to sign the "charge sheets".  He is drunk and doesn't really know what's going on.  He signs the sheets.  The two aides urge him to go to sleep.  He does so. 

At her place, Messalina sends her boy and girl to their father with a note to him.  The children go. 

Some Roman soldiers arrive and Messalina asks them what do they want?  The answer is:  "Your life!"  They offer her a dagger.  Messalina is very frightened and does not act.  But if she doesn't take her own life, it is clear that the soldiers will take it.  Mother urges her to take the dagger and use it.  So the soldiers prepare to cut her head off.  Now Messalina panics with fear screaming:  "No, no, he wouldn't do that!"  She tries to use the dagger, but cannot.  So, one soldier grabs her head by the hair and another soldier swings his sword to cut off her head as Messalina screams bloody murder:  "No, not my head!" 

Claudius says he will see his wife now.  Pallas and Narcissus inform him that his wife was executed last night at the Emperor's orders.  Claudius is so shocked that he is stunned.  A dispatch arrives from Britain.  It says the British will worship Claudius as a god.  He will be worshipped as such in the Temple of the God of Claudius in Colchester.  Claudius cries.    

 

Episode 13.

Part 1.  Old King Log.

Agrippinilla and her son, who recently took the name of Nero, find that Claudius is dead.  Nero is ecstatic about becoming the next Roman emperor.  His mother tells him to stop celebrating and help her find the man's will.  They go into the study to find it.  They find what turns out to be part of the book that Claudius was working on.  The last passage is:  "Write no more Claudius, write no more!"

Part 2.  A Marriage of Duty. 

Flashback.  Claudius reads the children a story about a frog in a pond who is made king and called Old King Log because the frog was deaf, blind and wooden as a log.  The narrator Claudius says that he did too good of a job as emperor and actually reconciled Rome to monarchy, instead of preparing Rome for a republic. 

While watching a belly dancer, the drunken Claudius keeps repeating the phrase:  "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud, hatch out!"  Meanwhile, Pallas and Narcissus want Claudius to remarry.  They know that his three previous marriages ended in tragedies, but Narcissus says he has a new candidate for him.  They recommend Lollia Polina.  Pallas asks Narcissus if he has gone crazy?  He says he has a far better candidate.  And the person is very close to the Emperor.  He recommends Agrippinilla, the daughter of Agrippa.   Narcissus reminds everyone that Agrippinilla is the Emperor's niece.  Yes, but Pallas says, she is very intelligent and the daughter of the late Germanicus.  Nero is his Claudius' grandnephew.  Pallas and Narcissus now argue so long and so bitterly with each other that Pallas tells Narcissus that their friendship is an at end.  He leaves.  Narcissus warns Claudius that a marriage to Agrippinilla will be the Messalina fiasco all over again for the woman is Messalina with brains.  Claudius only says:  "I will marry my niece."

Part 3.  Going Mad?

Agrippinilla and Pallas are involved with each other.   Pallas brings her the news that Claudius has agreed to marry her.   The Emperor wants to see her.  Pallas also tells Agrippinilla that Claudius said nothing about the subject of incest.  Pallas now suggests they have sex together before she goes in to see the Emperor.  He is able to convince Agrippinilla. 

Agrippinilla goes in to see Claudius.  He asks her simply:  "Would you like to marry me?"  Agrippinilla says that she will be a very good wife to him and that she will still be able to bear him more sons.  Claudius asks her if committing incest will bother her?  He answers his own question by saying that she has already committed incest with her brother Caligula.  This takes Agrippinilla back a bit, but Claudius tells her not to be offended:  he is marrying her for her head, not her beauty.  He goes on to say that he needs a woman with a good mind who will be able to take some of the work burden off his shoulders.  Agrippinilla warns him that if he gives her power, she will certainly use it.  Claudius says that's what he wants.

Agrippinilla tells Pallas that there's something odd about Claudius.  She wonders if perhaps the Emperor is losing his mind.  The mother of Nero, then says she must keep Claudius alive until her son comes of age.   

Claudius speaks to the senate.   He says that eleven years ago he began the re-conquest of Britain and now that war is over.  King Caractacus is brought into the room with his family.  His entire family prostrates themselves before Claudius, but not Caractacus.  This courage actually wins the hearts of the senators.  He is given a pension and allowed to live out the rest of his life in Rome together with his family. 

Part 4.  A Plan Foretold. 

The narrator Claudius says he has been married for five years now to Agrippinilla.  He says he finds her loathsome and then there's her slimy son, for whom she has great plans.  He is aware of these plans, but Agrippinilla and Nero don't know he knows of their plans. 

There is a lot of friction between Claudius' son Brittanicus and Agrippinilla's son.  Nero only recently changed his name to Nero from the original Lucius Demitius.  Britannicus makes some disparaging remarks about Nero and Agrippinilla tells Britannicus that he should apologize to her son.  Nero says it really isn't necessary, but Agrippinilla insists.  Britannicus refuses, so Agripinnilla asks Claudius to make his son apologize to Nero.  Claudius tells Brittanicus to apologize, but Britannicus tells him:  "I will not."  He leaves. 

Nero adores Octavia, the sister of Brittanicus.  Claudius tells his wife that he will agree to their marriage.  Agrippinilla tells Claudius that Nero is actually very fond of him.  Claudius anticipates her next request.  He says yes, he will make the two young men joint heirs.  He anticipates Agrippinilla again and tells her yes, he will adopt Nero as his son.  This trick of anticipation used by Claudius makes Agrippinilla mad.  She tells him she likes to ask the questions herself, before he answers them. 

Narcissus learns of the new events and tells Claudius that he should have consulted with him before giving such concessions to his wife.  He warns him that Agrippinilla and Pallas are lovers.  Claudius doesn't seem really to care.  Narcissus tells him that he has signed his own death warrant by his concessions.  Claudius says he's going to die soon anyway.  But, says Narcissus, the Emperor has numbered the days of Brittanicus also.  Claudius then says that it has all been foretold.  Nero is to be the next Emperor.  And Nero will kill his own mother.  He adds that Livia gave him the horoscope.  It frightened Augustus.  The horoscope foretold the reign of Caligula. No, he says, Nero will be the next emperor and there is nothing they can do about it.  And besides, Nero will ruin Rome and thereby pave the way for the return of the republic.  He says that it is Britannicus who will restore the republic.  Narcissus adds:  "If he lives." 

Part 5.  Final Speech. 

Agrippinilla is very suspicious of Claudius.  He has been acting peculiarly these days.  She tells Pallas that they must poison him now.  Pallas tells her that Narcissus always watches Claudius and his food.  It will be difficult.  Agrippinilla insists that it be done soon.  They will employ a poison specialist.     

Nero comes into the room.  He is now married to Octavia.   Pallas leaves and Nero tells his mother:  "I don't like that Greek."  To soothe her son, mom asks if she should get him a pretty house girl?  He's not interested.  He repeats he doesn't like the Greek.  And he is determined that he will stop this ongoing relationship between his mother and Pallas. 

Claudius speaks to the senate.  He says that this will be his last time to speak to them.  So this is his farewell speech.  He says he is too old and not well enough to come again.  Claudius suddenly goes into a kind of trance as he thinks about all those he has known who are dead now.  He sees walking before him the emperors Augustus, Caligula and Tiberius.  The previous emperors speak to Claudius.  Two very alive senators come up to Claudius and stare into his blank face.  They wonder if a doctor should be brought in to attend him.  Suddenly Claudius awakens from his reverie.  He walks out, as all the senators stand for him. 

Part 6.  Father and Son. 

Claudius speaks with Brittanicus alone.  He just wants to warn Brittanicus that he has changed his will in favor of Nero.  His son is very bitter about this.  His father assures him that it was all done for a reason.  But this really isn't a good enough explanation.  Britannicus says:  "You have never loved me."  And dad killed his mother.  He tells Claudius that he hates him.  Claudius admits that after learning of Messalina's adultery, he did not love him.  He thought Britannicus was the son of Caligula.  Britannicus asks if any of this was his fault?  No.  He starts to leave, but Claudius tells him he cannot leave.  The Emperor says that he loves his own son more than Nero, but Nero is going to be the successor.  He does have, however, a plan to save Britannicus from Agrippinilla and Nero.  Brittanicus will go to northern Britain and from there farther north to a place where the Romans will never find him.  Nero is mad and he will destroy the Roman emperor.  Then Britannicus can return to Rome as its savior. 

The problem with Claudius' plans is that he never asked what Britannicus thought.  Britannicus quickly and bluntly tells his father that he will not do it.  He says he can protect himself from Nero.  And, anyway, he doesn't really believe in the republic.  In fact, no one believes in the republic, except his father Claudius.  He tells dad that he wants his chance to rule and asks him to give him the chance to rule.  Claudius sees the young man will not change his mind.   So he tells him:  "You shall have your wish.  May the gods protect you."

Claudius writes:  "Write no more, Claudius, write no more."

Back to the present.  Nero and his mother read those last lines in Claudius' book.  Agrippinilla starts tearing up the scroll.  She tells her son to find the rest of it, so they can burn the lot of it.  Nero lights up one of the scrolls to watch it burn. 

Part 7.  A Story to Be Told. 

Brittanicus asks Narcissus:  "Did they murder him?"  Yes.  He asks Narcissus exactly how they did it?  Narcissus says they were very clever.  They knew he was watching the food for Claudius, so they poisoned some mushrooms and placed them in a dish with other, non-poisoned mushrooms and gave them to a knowing Agrippinilla.  When Claudius finished his dish of mushrooms, he asked for some more.  Agrippinilla offers him her mushrooms.  She takes one out and feeds it to Claudius.  Narcissus says he thinks Claudius knew that the mushroom was poisoned but ate it anyway.  He says Claudius welcomed death.  The Emperor died in the night alone.  He wanted no one to see him die.  Narcissus now tells Brittanicus that he must leave, because they will surely kill him. 

There is a final scene with Claudius and the Sybil.  She says to the Emperor that the poison's all hatched out.  Claudius laughs saying he cheated them again.  Sybil informs him:  "You are dead, you fool."  She tells Claudius that it is time to go.  Nero will kill Brittanicus; Agrippinilla will kill Narcissus; and Nero will kill Agrippinilla.  Sybil tells Claudius that they burned his book, all of it, but then asks isn't it lucky he made a copy of it, which he hid.     

 

Great miniseries with lots of interesting personal tidbits.  It covers the time between the assassination of Julius Caesar, through the rule of emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius, ending at the death of Claudius.  This was the period of transition in Rome from a republic to a monarchy, a critical period in world history.  The movie is interesting because of all the ugly and deadly struggles for power among the emperors and their rivals (including the families of each).  It's a story of a constant struggle to get and keep power in Rome.  There are lots of twists and turns with lots of people being eliminated, their lives forfeited to the struggle for power, status and wealth. 

I don't know if it's true, but Robert Graves, the author of the book from which the film was made, seems to think the powerful Roman women were largely conniving bitches.  Spoiler warning:  This is especially true of Livia, the wife of Augustus.  She herself seems to have wiped out a whole generation and more of possible Roman political leaders.  It's hard to believe that no one would have not only have discovered this, but made it public.  It's hard to swallow, but makes for an interesting story.  There are many other nasty women such as Messalina and Agrippinilla, both wives of Claudius.  (On the other hand, there are both good and bad male characters.)   The bad women just overwhelm the story a bit. 

Some great performances are here, including those of Derek Jacobi (as Claudius), Si‚n Phillips (as Livia) and John Hurt (as Caligula). 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


Historical Background:

10 B.C.  --  born Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Lugdunum [Lyon], Gaul, the son of Nero Claudius Drusus, a popular and successful Roman general and the younger Antonia.  He was the nephew of the emperor Tiberius and a grandson of Livia Drusilla, the wife of the emperor Augustus.

Poor Claudius suffers from multiple ills: ill health, unattractive appearance, clumsiness of manner, and coarseness of taste; so much so that the imperial family considers him something of an embarrassment.  He is left to his own private studies and amusements.

The historian Livy encourages his inclination for historical studies. Becomes a member of various religious colleges. Claudius writes a pamphlet defending the republican politician and orator Cicero, executed by the triumvirs; a history of Rome beginning with the principate of Augustus; some 20 books of Etruscan and 8 books of Carthaginian history; an autobiography; and a historical treatise on the Roman alphabet with suggestions for orthographical reform. All his works are lost.

His first wife, Plautia Urgulanilla, had Etruscan blood. Later divorces Urgulanilla and marries Aelia Paetina; then marries Valeria Messalina, who is his wife at his accession.

37  --  becomes consul only under the reign of his older brother's son Gaius (Caligula) with little cordiality between the two.

41, Jan. 24  --  Caligula murdered.  

41, Jan. 25  --  The Praetorian Guards, the imperial household troops, make Claudius the emperor.  

41-42  --  annexes Mauretania (41-42) in North Africa, of which he makes two provinces (Caesariensis in the east and Tingitana in the west).

42   --  many senators support the ill-fated rebellion of the Governor of Dalmatia. Later, several attempts on Claudius' life involve senators and knights, individuals to which he had been very cruel.

43  --  decides to invade Britain;  his forces cross the Thames and captures Camulodunum (Colchester).

43 --  annexes Lycia in Asia Minor.

44  --  Though he enlarges the kingdom of Herod Agrippa I, he makes Judaea a province on Agrippa's death.

46  --  annexes Thrace.

47  --  makes himself a censor.

48  --  his marriage with Messalina ends; she had conspired against him and even conducted a public marriage ceremony with her lover, Gaius Silius. Messalina and Silius killed.

Claudius marries his niece Agrippina, an act contrary to Roman law, which he therefore changes. To satisfy his new wife's lust for power, Claudius adopts her son Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (later the emperor Nero), to the disadvantage of his own son Britannicus. In addition, Agrippina protects the new commander of the guards, Afranius Burrus.

49 --  Claudius annexes Iturea (northeastern Palestine) to the province of Syria.

52  --  although Claudius supports Roman control of Armenia, he prefers the collapse of the pro-Roman government to a war with Parthia, leaving a difficult situation to his successor.

54, Oct. 13  --  Agrippina poisons her husband Claudius with mushrooms.   Nero becomes Roman emperor. 

 

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