Episode 1 - A Touch of Murder
Episode 2 - Family Affairs
Episode 3 - Waiting in the Wings
Episode 4 - What Shall We Do About Claudius?
Episode 5 - Poison Is Queen
Episode 6 - Some Justice
Episode 7 - Queen of Heaven
Episode 8 - Reign of Terror
Episode 9 - Zeus, by Jove!
Episode 10 - Hail Who?
Episode 11 - Fool's Luck
Episode 12 - A God in Colchester
Episode 13 - Old King Log

I, Claudius - Episode 1
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1 - A Touch of Murder
Narrator Claudius:I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, oh, this-that-and-the-other... who was once, and not so long ago, better known to my friends and relatives as Claudius the Idiot, or that Fool Claudius, or Claudius the Stammerer. Am now about to write this strange history of my life.
Claudius:Are you there?
Narrator Claudius:Yes you're there, I can feel it. I can feel your presence. Yes. I knew you would come the moment I began to write. Yes. It was inevitable. It was prophesied by the Sybil.
Narrator Claudius:Spies. Spies everywhere. Spying on me. In my bed. At my prayers. On the street.
Claudius:Even in the lavoratory. Spies.
Narrator Claudius:I'll cheat them. Every one.
Narrator Claudius:It was prophesied by the Sybil. I went to Cumae many years ago to consult her. She was most famous. Her prophecies had achieved worldwide renown and she did not consent to see everyone. Unexpectedly she consented to see me. I was terrified. "Oh Sybil", I said, "I've co-co-come to question you about Rome's fate and mine". "Hear me Cla-Cla-Claudius", she answered, mocking my stammer. "Apollo speaks to you through me. Listen closely."
Sybil:What groans beneath the Punic curse and strangles in the strings of purse before she mends must sicken worse. Ten years, fifty days and three, Cla-Cla-Claudius shall be given thee a gift that all desire but he. But when he's done, and no more here, nineteen hundred year or near, Cla-Cla-Claudius shall speak clear.
Narrator Claudius:Yes, that's what it means. In nineteen hundred years from now they'll hear me.
Claudius:Not before.
Narrator Claudius:No.
Claudius:A box. I need a box.
Narrator Claudius:I'll put all it all in here. My story. My history of the family. Yes. And the end of the Republic. Yes. And when I've finished, I'll seal it up and bury it where no one will find it.
Claudius:No. No one.
Narrator Claudius:Not for nineteen hundred years or more. And then it will turn up. Suddenly. People will read it. They'll know the truth. My voice, as the Sybil said, as she prophesied. For them. Not for these fools in Rome. But for them, out there, in remote posterity.
Claudius:Yes, for you. Yes, it will all be in here. Sealed. You will find it. I promise you.
Narrator Claudius:I, Claudius am now about to begin this strange history of my life, of my family, of Livia my grandmother, of Augustus Caesar, of Marcus Agrippa, yes, and his hatred for Marcellus...
2 - Dinner Conversation
Augustus:Excellent! Excellent! Thallus... See they're well taken care of, they were splendid, really.
Thallus:Yes Caesar.
Augustus:And see they're properly fed. Don't give them the scraps and the leftovers.
Thallus:They'll eat better even than the kitchen staff, Caesar.
Augustus:Well, there's no need to go that far. Better than us will be quite sufficient.
Augustus:You know Marcus, I like to eat sparingly. There's too much gluttony in Rome especially at festivals. But this one day I think is very special. I'd like to make an exception. And I've got a surprise for you. Two as a matter of fact. Thallus.
Thallus:Yes Caesar.
Augustus:Bring in the cake.
Thallus:But Caesar it's for the end of the meal.
Augustus:I can't wait. I want the family to see it.
Augustus:Do you know what else I've got? Aristarchus of Athens is in Rome. Oh Marcus. They say that he's the greatest orator of our time and I've asked him to prepare an oration to mark the seventh anniversary of the Battle of Actium.
Marcellus:Oh no!
Augustus:What's a matter, is it too boring for you?
Marcellus:Well, we had one last year.
Augustus:That was last year and anyway the speaker was very dull. This man they say he's wonderful.
Marcellus:"Seven years today, sank Antony and all his hopes in the harbor of Actium".
Augustus:You see how the young mock the battle scars of their elders.
Marcellus:Battle scars?
Agrippa:A lot of good men died in that battle. And a lot of good men got scared. I don't think it's right to make light of it.
Augustus:Oh, he's just being provocative.
Marcellus:Not really. I just think we exaggerate its significance, that's all.
Augustus:Now, now, now, Marcellus let's not argue. Marcus...
Agrippa:No, no just a minute. Let's hear what the young genius has to say. Well.
Augustus:Look! Here is the cake.
Julia:Do we get one each.
Augustus:Julia, for heaven's sake. There Marcus, do you recognize it?
Agrippa:Yes. It's my ship.
Augustus:Yes, it's the one that you made your headquarters.
Agrippa:She was a fine ship.
Marcellus:Ah, that must be you Marcus, the candied cherry in the prow.
Augustus:Hahaha. Now Marcellus please, now these things mean something to us.
Marcellus:Oh, don't you think we're taking ourselves a little seriously tonight.
Agrippa:Not seriously enough it seems to me.
Augusutus:Livia, isn't that a wonderful cake?
Augustus:What do you mean wonderful? Don't you like it?
Livia:Why don't you bring in the Greek? If you keep him waiting much longer, he'll need a shave.
Augustus:As a matter of fact, he's bearded.... Thallus, bring in the Greek.
Julia:Leave the cake.
Augustus:Take the cake... You know Marcus, they say that he writes a sort of prose hymn. What can that mean? It's a form that I've never heard of. One of these new Greek inventions. They're always inventing something. Why are they so clever?
Marcellus:If they're so clever, why are they a province of ours instead of vice versa.
Augustus:Ah, Aristarchus, welcome.
Aristarchus:Hail Caesar.
Augustus:I hope we haven't kept you waiting too long. Come, we're ready now... Give us your piece.
Aristarchus:Give me your peace Caesar, and I shall gladly give you mine.
Augustus:Yes, of course, I'm sorry. Thallus.
Thallus:Caesar calls for silence!
Aristarchus:What a voice. Perhaps we should change places? Only the Romans can afford ushers with a voice like that. Did you have it trained?
Thallus:I was an actor, sir.
Aristarchus:Oh, that explains it. Resting, are you?
Thallus:No sir, I've given it up. Everyone's an actor in Rome, there just isn't enough work to go around.
Aristarchus:And what there is, goes to friends and relatives. It's the same everywhere.
Thallus:The theatre isn't what it was.
Aristarchus:No, and I'll tell you something else. It never was what it was.
Livia:We'd be glad Thallus if you'd discuss your personal problems in your own time.
Aristarchus:Today is a day to drink and dance. Let us rival the priests of Mars with feats to deck the couches of the gods. Seven summers past. The wild queen Cleopatra, dreaming her dreams of ruin on your lovely empire, sailed her hopes into the harbor of Actium. And there with noble Antony spat curses on the ships of Caesar and cried "sink Rome and all her minions. Egypt's not for conquest". Ah, but words do not kill and curses sink no ships. Before the wind had changed so she could catch her scented breath, mighty Agrippa...
Narrator Claudius:Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, old friend and commander of the armies of Augustus. Emperor of Rome, a most remarkable man. But even more remarkable who was Livia, his second wife. If Augustus ruled the world, Livia ruled Augustus. Octavia, Augustus' sister, mother of Marcellus. And next to him Julia, his wife, Augustus' only daughter. Augustus was now clearly preferring Marcellus over Agrippa. And Agrippa knew it...
Aristarchus:And Antony. Once proud Antony, fearing to be last, chased her to the very gates of heaven. Romans, remember them. Their fateful deaths grace your lives today with living legend. Your names and theirs, in history, will be forever intertwined.
Augustus:Wonderful. Wonderful. What a gift you Greeks have. Incidentally, the battle, you know, it wasn't like that.
Augustus:No, not at all. But you describe it poetically. I understand that. Use poetic license. I'm used to that. As a matter of fact, I write a little poetry myself. Could I show it to you sometime?
Aristarchus:I'd be honored Caesar.
Augustus:Oh, it's nothing professional like, but well it's not bad, though I say it myself. Ah, Thallus has found a place for you. There, we'll talk some more later... Wasn't that beautiful?
Agrippa:He doesn't know much about naval battles.
Marcellus:Well, it wasn't that much a battle was it?
Agrippa:I beg your pardon?
Marcellus:Well, one wine soaked lover and his Egyptian whore. I could've put up a better show myself and I was only a child.
Augustus:Now, now, now Marcellus.
Marcellus:Come, let's not fool ourselves just because we fool the public.
Agrippa:You know a great deal about it do you?
Marcellus:Yes, I do. I've studied that battle and I'm not impressed. You talk about it as if it was some kind of famous victory, when in fact the result was a foregone conclusion.
Augustus:Look, why don't we all watch the acrobats...
Agrippa:No, just a minute. I'm getting a little tired of being taught the arts of war by kids who've only just learned how to piss in a pot. When you've actually done something lad, instead of just studied it, come back and talk to me again. You'll excuse me.
Augustus:Oh, Marcus, it's early.
Agrippa:Seems late to me. Too late. But perhaps that's because I'm such an old man.
Augustus:Thallus! Oh, get rid of them. Marcus... Marcus...
Narrator Claudius:My grandmother Livia. Her mind always turning. Always scheming. And I - Claudius? You ask where am I? I am not yet born but will be, soon. But now I must continue with the story of the rivalry between Marcellus and Agrippa.
Livia:Yes? Yes?
Pylades:Caesar is asking for you lady.
Livia:Yes, I'll come soon.
Pylades:He says at once. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa is with him.
Livia:[Tiberius] You'd better come down and wait outside...
3 - Marcus Makes a Request
Augustus:I don't understand you. You want to leave Rome but you won't say why.
Agrippa:I told you why. You don't need me here anymore.
Augustus:Let me be the judge of that.
Agrippa:I'm of no use to the empire. Appoint me governor of Syria and I'll deal with that Parthian king. It's about time someone dealt with him.
Augustus:He wants to leave Rome.
Livia:Why, Marcus?
Agrippa:I told him why. He doesn't need me in Rome anymore.
Augustus:That's not the reason. You're not being straight with me.
Agrippa:Not straight? Oh no. Oh no, don't say that to me. If there's one man been straight with you, that man is Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa.
Augustus:Is it Marcellus?
Agrippa:Marcellus? Oh, what's he got to do with it?
Augustus:I don't know. I thought perhaps you objected to my appointing him City Magistrate.
Agrippa:It's got nothing to do with Marcellus. Except of course he's such a capable young man, he's just another reason why you don't need me here.
Augustus:Look Marcus, we're old friends. We've shared a lot of campaigns together. If Marcellus has upset you...
Agrippa:Oh lady, talk to him. He thinks I resent Marcellus. I'm very fond of the boy.
Livia:We all are.
Agrippa:If his friends get a little high handed, well I was young once too and had friends. Ah yes, the greatest friend a man ever had.
Agrippa:I admit it. Why shouldn't I. I'm not a man to hide my feelings.
Augustus:You know I feel the same.
Agrippa:Of course I do. I'd have gone long ago if I hadn't thought that. That is why I can say to you now that I've got nothing against Marcellus. Nothing. He's a very gifted young man. If you've advanced him a little ahead of his years, well that's only natural too.
Augustus:Well, I'm very relieved to hear it. I know there's been friction. Oh, I mean not between you and him, but between his followers and yours.
Agrippa:Followers? Who has followers? Oh, he may have followers, I don't know about that. Such things don't even come within my notice. But me? I have followers? Show me where are my followers. Lady, do you see any?
Augustus:No, no, no. Not followers, you know, but people they like to make factions. And that can make bad feeling quicker than boiled asparagus.
Agrippa:There's no bad feeling.
Augustus:Well, you've put my mind at rest. If you feel that you have to leave Rome.
Agrippa:I don't feel I have to leave, I just think I could be more use in the East... Of course, if you feel you really need me in Rome...
Augustus:No, no, no, no, no. I'm sure you're right. You usually are. Your instincts are always very sound. When will you leave?
Agrippa:In a few days.
Augustus:Then we'll have all Rome and Ostia to see you off. For the Senate and the people of Rome eh?
Agrippa:For the Senate and the people of Rome!
Augustus:Goodbye old friend.
Agrippa:Goodbye. [Agrippa exits]
Augustus:Damn him. Who does he think he is?
Livia:We know whom he thinks he is. Your successor.
Augustus:He's too old. I need to groom a younger man.
Livia:We can't do without Marcus Agrippa. Give him four or five months then call him back.
Livia:Do it my dear. Better to call him back when you don't need him then have to humble yourself when you do.
Augustus:No! I know what I'm doing.
Livia:My son is waiting outside to pay his respects and take his leave. Will you see him?
Augustus:Yes, of course...
Augustus:Ah, Tiberius. You're off to join our troops in Germany?
Tiberius:Yes Caesar.
Augustus:Yes, well I'm sure you'll do well for us. And remember that we need good generals. The empire won't hold together without. Now, write to me, tell me all what's going on. I like to have views from all sides. It helps me to make up my mind about things. Yes. And now I have things to do. Yes, yes, many things. Well, the best of luck go with you and all the muses... [Augustus exits]
Tiberius:I could have saved myself the trouble.
Livia:Oh, you're so keen to save yourself trouble. Did that cost you so much - a hail and farewell?
Tiberius:He doesn't like me.
Livia:Well. We can't all be lovable, though we can all try a little harder.
Tiberius:Well, it's my nature and I can't change it now.
Livia:And wouldn't if you could, I suspect. You've a mighty high opinion of yourself on the equite didn't you.
Tiberius:No wonder you didn't transfer your hopes to my brother.
Livia:I might have done that long ago, if he didn't share the same idiotic hopes your father had of the return of the Republic. Besides, I took the auspices when you were born and they were very favorable.
Tiberius:Oh, not that old chicken story again.
Livia:You may sneer all you like, but I marked a Zodiac on the floor of the hen-house and a chicken came down and rested on your birth sign. I took its egg and warmed it in my hands and it hatched - a young cock chick, and it already had a fine comb on its head... You haven't much patience, have you? You want everything at once. Twenty years ago, Augustus ruled with Mark Antony, but I could see that wouldn't last - I could see that soon one man would be king. So I divorced your father and married Augustus and waited. Now where would I be now if I'd wanted everything at once, eh? And by the same token where would you be?
Tiberius:Well, where am I now? For all your patience and your prophetic chickens?
Livia:You are my son and I am Augustus' wife - that's where you are. And in the long run, that's better than being anybody else, even Marcellus or Marcus Agrippa... And, Now you may kiss me and take your leave... Remember my prophetic chickens and have patience, hmmm. Do well on the Rhine. Your brother is covering himself with glory in Illyricum. We mustn't fall behind.
Tiberius:Well, have I ever?
Tiberius:No. When it comes to the less imaginative arts, you are certainly to be relied upon.
Narrator Claudius:And now my grandmother's mind turned more and more towards the removal of Marcellus.
4 - Plans for Marcellus Appointment
Livia:Who've you been weaving that for?
Antonia:For Uncle.
Livia:He's got enough cloth upstairs to outfit the army.
Antonia:He likes the way I weave, doesn't he mother? He says I have a very tight hand.
Livia:Why didn't you weave something for the rest of us? Is Augustus the only one who wears clothes?
Augustus:Antonia, come here?
Antonia:Coming Uncle.
Augustus:Look at this little creature. Now, you tell me what it is?
Livia:She's very pretty. She looks like her father. He was very pretty.
Octavia:Too pretty.
Livia:Oh, I don't know. Pleasant I would think if he's your husband.
Octavia:It was no great pleasure being Mark Antony's wife.
Marcellus:Good day, Mother... Oh, you look a little piqued. Are you feeling well? ... Lady.
Octavia:I slept badly last night. There seems to be so much noise in the streets at night. Can't we do something about it?
Marcellus:Well, the traffic must move sometime. Would you have it moving during the day and congest all the streets?
Julia:There's too many people in Rome. They keep on coming in and coming in from everywhere. Syria, Gaul. Germany.
Marcellus:But they're the life blood of the city Julia. They make Rome what it is.
Julia:Noisy, garish and uninhabitable! I should be glad to get away and it will be even worse when the Games begin.
Augustus:Look at that! Isn't it a beauty.
Marcellus:Off your tree?
Augustus:Of course. You know, you should eat more pears, Livia, they're very good for the skin.
Livia:Well, how can I eat them? You pick them all.
Augustus:Well, I can have some more sent up from the country... Marcellus, we must talk about these games of yours.
Marcellus:Yes. Now I want to do something new.
Augustus:Oh, that sounds familiar.
Marcellus:Well, if I'm to celebrate my appointment as City Magistrate, I want people to remember it.
Augustus:And, what earth quaking innovations are we to see? Giraffes? Riding elephants?
Marcellus:I want to tent in all the theatres and hang them with tapestries. I want to turn the whole marketplace into a gigantic multi-colored marquee. Cover it.
Augustus:That's all?
Marcellus:No. I have an idea for a pitched battle between 50 Germans and 50 blacks from Morocco.
Augustus:Yes. And who's going to pay for all this?
Octavia:I am, for part. And so are you.
Augustus:Yes, that's what I thought. Come on. Would you consider 20 Germans against 20 black Moroccans?
Octavia:He spoils him.
Livia:It would be hard not to. He has such winning ways.
Julia:Oh, yes, he has winning ways all right. People are always falling over themselves to do things for him.
Octavia:I must go in. It's too hot. Come, Antonia, I think you should lie down.
Antonia:Coming, Mother.
Julia:I gather there was some opposition in the Senate to Marcellus becoming a City Magistrate.
Livia:Oh, nothing to speak of. Some friends of Agrippa that's all. Ha. They're always ready to remind your father there are no kings in Rome.
Julia:I don't know why he bothers to put up with the farce of the Senate at all.
Livia:Well, your father observes the forms. It's very important. Romans like to believe they govern themselves.
Julia:Oh, the older ones do perhaps, but I don't think it matters to us. You should hear Marcellus' friends talk.
Livia:He's very popular, isn't he?
Livia:With you too?
Julia:Why do you ask?
Livia:Well, there are no children yet.
Julia:There's no issue between you and Father and you've been married for 20 years.
Livia:True. Still. I'm very happy with your father.
Julia:And I am with Marcellus.
Livia:Well, I'm very pleased to hear it. There's no substitute for a happy marriage you know.
Julia:No... Mind you, they seem to be few and far between these days. I always thought Tiberius was very lucky with his Vipsania.
Livia:Yes. Yes, they are very much in love. You know, when I first married your father, you were a little girl and Tiberius was a little boy and you used to play together. Do you remember that?
Julia:Yes, I remember.
Livia:And then when you grew up, you seemed so fond of one another. I once had hopes...
Julia:Yes, I used to adore him. How foolish one is when one is young.
Augustus:[at Games] I wish to await the arrival of Marcellus... My dear, you're not going to read letters and petitions during the performance?
Livia:I see no reason to sit here doing nothing while we wait for the games to begin.
Augustus:Oh, it looks so bad.
Livia:Shish. These are urgent stop fussing.
Augustus:My great uncle Julius used to do it and the crowd never liked it... Oh... Wait till you see what Marcellus has arranged. He's got a rhinoceros.
Livia:What's that?
Augustus:Well, it's an extraordinary beast. It's got a horn on its nose.
Livia:So has Scipio's wife. He could have used her.
Augustus:Ah, Marcellus. We've been waiting for you. Julia. Octavia... Marcellus!
Augustus:[crowd roars] I told you he was popular.
Marcellus:Let the Games begin!
Augustus:[in hallway] Are you all right?
Livia:I have a headache.
Augustus:What a shame. The games are wonderful. Can't you come back?
Augustus:Marcellus is a huge success.
Livia:Yes. Yes, I could see that.
Augustus:Yes, well... I'll go back to the Games... You're not worried about me leaving, are you? You'll have Marcellus. He can do all my work.
Livia:How long will you be gone?
Augustus:About four or five months. I haven't been to the Eastern provinces for years, it's time I did.
Livia:Will you see Agrippa?
Augustus:No, why should I? He never got any further than Lesbos. He sent his deputy to govern Syria. He's got a nerve. Well. I can manage without him now. He can see that. Now let him stew. I don't need him... Are you sure you're all right? ... Well. I'll, I'll go back to the Games.
Pylades:[knocking on Livia's door]
Livia:Yes... Are there any letters from the Emperor?
Pylades:No, Lady, but one has arrived for my lord Marcellus.
Livia:Ah, now when you take that to him, ask him would he be good enough to come and see me before dinner? There are some names on this citizens role I want to discuss.
Pylades:He already has the letter, but it seems my lord Marcellus is in bed and has been seeing no one today.
Livia:Oh, what's the matter with him?
Pylades:Oh, a chill on the stomach that's all... It's a pity his wife and mother went away.
5 - Marcellus Falls Ill
Slave:Yes? ... The Lady Livia has called, master.
Marcellus:Ask her to come in... I can't stay in bed all day, I've got too much to do.
Musa:If you get up now, you'll be in bed all tomorrow, I promise you.
Livia:Wise, Musa, wise... Marcellus!
Marcellus:Oh, it's nothing, Lady. It's a summer chill that's got on the stomach. I've worked through worse than this.
Livia:Have you eaten?
Musa:He can't keep anything down. It's natural. Perfectly natural.
Livia:Well, it's natural if the food doesn't agree with him. I nursed Augustus all last summer, do you remember? And he ate everything I prepared for him. Everything.
Marcellus:I'll, I'll be well tomorrow.
Livia:These summer chills can be dangerous. Augustus was nearly carried off by one.
Marcellus:I'm not so easily disposed of.
Livia:I'd never forgive myself if anything happened to you.
Marcellus:What can happen to me? I wouldn't think of it. My mother and Julia will..
Livia:Exactly. Your mother and Julia. And how, tell me, should I face them if anything did happen? Oh, there, there, there... I shall move my room next to yours and I shall prepare all your food myself. You'll see what dainty little things can be served up to tempt a weak appetite.
Marcellus:But it's a chill. Nothing more. Musa assures me.
Livia:I wouldn't pay too much attention to Musa, if I were you. He thinks he cured Augustus with his potions, but it was my nursing that did it. And I shall nurse you.
Livia:No. No arguments.
Marcellus:But why go to all the trouble?
Livia:I insist.
Marcellus:It's very good of you.
Livia:No, no, no, my dear. Goodness has nothing to do with it.
Musa:[knocking on Livia's door] It's Musa, Lady. He's getting worse. Much worse.
Livia:Yes. I'll come soon.
Musa:We ought to inform his wife and his mother. They should be here.
Livia:No. You exaggerate. Things have to get worse before they get better.
Musa:But he keeps nothing down. Nothing.
Livia:Yes, that is worrying, isn't it?
Musa:He's bringing up green slime. I've never seen anything like it.
Livia:[opens door] Green, you say?
Musa:Yes. Yes. Have you see it before?
Livia:No. No, I've never see green before. Well, perhaps it's a good sign.
Musa:Forgive me, Lady.
Livia:[in Livia's Study] You're thinner... But you look better. The life of the legions agrees with you.
Tiberius:Have I ever complained about the life of the legions? Frankly, I'd be as soon be in camp on the Rhine as here.
Livia:I had to call you back. Augustus is still in Greece touring the provinces and Marcellus...
Tiberius:How is he?
Livia:I think he may die.
Tiberius:Has Augustus been told?
Livia:Well, yes, of course. As soon as it began to look serious.
Tiberius:When did he fall ill?
Livia:About a month ago. Musa said it was just a chill on the stomach but I could see it was more serious than that, so I decided I'd nurse him myself... Well. His wife and mother were away. I've been at his side day and night. I prepare all his food myself and I see that he eats it.
Tiberius:Frankly, I wouldn't have thought you'd care whether he lived or died.
Livia:Oh, I care very much whether he lives or dies.
Tiberius:Have Julia and his mother been told?
Livia:Yes, of course. They're with him now. They returned at once. Julia is being hysterical, of course, And his mother never stops praying.
Tiberius:Well, let's hope that her prayers are heard.
Livia:Yes, indeed. And mine too... Tell me... What do you think of Julia?
Tiberius:Nothing. Why?
Livia:Nobody could accuse you of being devious. She thinks very well of you.
Tiberius:What's that supposed to mean?
Livia:Nothing. She likes you, that's all. Always has.
Tiberius:Mother, I'm a happily married man. Julia doesn't interest me. She wouldn't interest me if you hung her naked from the ceiling above my bed.
Livia:She might even do that if I asked her!
Tiberius:Aren't you forgetting something? She's still married to Marcellus and Marcellus is not dead yet.
Livia:When I start to forget things, you may light my funeral pyre and put me on it. Dead or alive.
Tiberius:Well, don't ask me to divorce Vipsania because I won't do it.
Livia:Oh, what a lover we have here! Did you bring back a pocketful of poems from the Rhine?
Tiberius:You may scoff all you like. Vipsania's the only thing in the world that means anything to me.
Livia:I always thought a boy's mother meant something.
Tiberius:Well. You do mean something, but so does she. So don't ask me to push her aside.
Livia:I may ask more than that before I finish.
Tiberius:Anyway, where does all this get us? There's not only Marcellus, there's Agrippa too, and Augustus prefers both of them to me.
Julia:[screams] No! No!
Tiberius:Ye gods! What's that?
Livia:It sounds as if there is now only Agrippa.
Julia:He's dead!
Julia:He's dead!
Livia:Julia! Julia! Julia! Control yourself! That's no way for a Roman woman to behave!
Julia:But he's, he's, he's dead. He gave a great cry and, and, and then he rolled over and then, and then he fell off the bed. He's, he's dead!
Livia:Yes. Come along.
Julia:He's dead!
Livia:Wait here.
Julia:He's dead.
Livia:Tiberius, take care of Julia. This is very grave. We must send to Augustus at once. Tiberius! I said take care of Julia!
Julia:Oh, no!
Musa:[in Marcellus' room] I did everything I could. Everything. I did everything I could. Everything I did for Augustus I did for him, but it made no difference.
Livia:He's dead? You're sure he's dead?
Octavia:My son is dead. You can be sure.
Livia:Poor Augustus. His heart will break.
Musa:It must have been food poisoning.
Livia:What do you mean, food poisoning?
Musa:Well. The summer's been so hot. These things happen.
Livia:Yes. Yes, of course. Well. There has been a lot of it about.
Musa:I thought it was a chill. But I was wrong. Wrong! It must have been something he ate.
Octavia:[Octavia exits]
Musa:There ought to be an inquest, I suppose.
Livia:No. There's no need of that. We know what he died of.
Musa:Do we?
Livia:Food poisoning! Well, you said so yourself!
Musa:Yes. I couldn't swear to it.
Livia:No... but I could.
6 - Riot in the Streets
Livia:Tiberius, take Julia to her room and comfort her... Stay with her a while... I'll send word to your wife what keeps you... "My dear Augustus... a most unfortunate and tragic thing has happened... Marcellus, your adopted son has unaccountably died after a short illness. No one is certain of the cause, except that an attack of food poisoning is suspected... I must say that does seem to me the most likely explanation."
Angry Mob:[shouting]
Narrator Claudius:Rome erupted into fury. The suspicious death of Marcellus led to renewed demands for a return of the Republic, the last thing my grandmother wanted.
Tiberius:They're rampaging through the streets, they're breaking the statutes, they're looting the shops. All the City Watchmen are out there dealing with them.
Livia:They're no use! Turn the Guard out on them!
Tiberius:If we draw blood, I won't answer for the consequences.
Livia:Oh, you drooping lily! Do you want us all to be murdered in our beds? Well, go and talk to them, then.
Tiberius:Are you mad?
Livia:No. And I'm not frightened of that rabble either. Out of my way! ...
Angry Mob:[shouting]
Livia:What do you want? A Republic? The Republic was all humbug! Do you want civil wars all over again? Do you want famine in the streets? Do you want Gauls and Huns knocking on your doors? You're all crying for the moon! Go on back to your homes and... Rabble! You call yourselves Romans? You wait till my husband gets home!
Tiberius:I wish, just for once, you would behave like a normal woman!
Livia:To be a normal woman you need normal men around you. Ahhh... We must get Agrippa back to Rome. He's the only one who speaks their language if you can call it that. Whatever Augustus thinks, he must patch up this quarrel and get Agrippa back at any price. I'm going to write to him at once. Meanwhile, order the Guards onto the streets!
7 - The Price for Marcus
Augustus:Marcus. Marcus! Ha-ha. Oh, it's been too long, too long.
Agrippa:Not my doing Caesar. I wouldn't have had it so.
Augustus:Oh, Marcus, what silly things get in the way of friendship. How could we let them? How?
Agrippa:You could have come to me sooner. You knew where I was.
Augustus:Oh, how could I have come? Everyone knew how it was between us.
Agrippa:I'd have come to you. One word. Just one word. A hint, that's all. Would I have stayed away if I'd been sure of my welcome?
Augustus:It's pride, stupid pride... Did you have a good journey?
Agrippa:The sea was rough, but I didn't really notice it. I was thinking of you and me and how it was in the old days when we were young together.
Augustus:Oh let's not think of that, it's too painful to think of one's youth. We've come a long way together since then.
Agrippa:Not always together.
Augustus:Marcus, there was never a time when you were out of my thoughts.
Agrippa:Forgive me but it wasn't always obvious. No, no, no, be just with me. There were times, oh, I can remember them, when that young man, and I'm sorry he's dead... When that young man went out of his way to insult me with never a word of reproof from you. From my old friend, not a word.
Augustus:Marcus, he was like a son to me. Now you have children. You know what it's like. Oh, perhaps I was foolish. Perhaps I did indulge him. But it seemed like high spirits, that's all, a little horseplay. Haven't we all been guilty of it?
Agrippa:Maybe. Yes, I'm sorry he's dead. I wouldn't have wished it, though he was no friend to me.
Augustus:Yes... I need my old friend again.
Agrippa:Now Marcellus is gone, you need Agrippa.
Augustus:No, no, no, no, no, you must believe me. I'd already made up my mind to come and see you. Would I pass Lesbos without calling in? It's unthinkable. No. No, Marcus, I need you back in Rome.
Agrippa:Well, I don't know. I don't know if I'm up to it anymore... Things are bad there, so I hear.
Augustus:Oh nothing much, there's been a little trouble. But that's not why I want you back. I want you back Marcus because that's where you belong. My old friend should be in Rome with me. I need that strong right arm again... What do you say?
Agrippa:... It's yours!
Agrippa:But uh...
Agrippa:Let's seal this bond tighter than it's ever been before.
Agrippa:What's closer than a family tie? To be related by blood and marriage as a public declaration of what we mean to each other.
Augustus:You're thinking of your children?
Agrippa:No, no, no, they're alright. I'm thinking of myself. You probably know that I don't get on with my wife.
Augustus:No, I didn't know that.
Agrippa:Well, I don't. We haven't slept together for years. Of course, I'm speaking a little soon, I know, and one must observe the decencies, but Julia's a young woman. She'll get married again soon. Well. Why not to me?
Augustus:To you?
Agrippa:Well. Why not? Don't tell me I'm not good enough for your family.
Augustus:... Why not? It's a deal. You'll be my son-in-law, have you thought of that?
Agrippa:I've thought of nothing else since I got your letter.
Livia:[in Augustus' Study] Why? Why did you agree to it?
Augustus:Because he wanted it. It was his price.
Livia:His price!
Augustus:Well, what could I say?
Livia:You could have said no!
Augustus:No, I could not have said no! I saw no reason to say no. I understood why he wanted it.
Livia:Ha. So could anyone!
Augustus:And what would you have done?
Livia:I could've handled him.
Livia:I would have reminded him that he's a man of no background and that to assume to enter the Julian family shows the want of modesty.
Augustus:Ha. And you would have lost him!
Livia:I would not have lost him. I know very well how to deal with Marcus Agrippa!
Augustus:You'd have lost him as quick as boiled asparagus. You'd have lost him.
Livia:That is the most foolish expression. I wish you'd stop using that.
Augustus:Well, it's my expression! I'll use it whenever I like!
Augustus:And, why are you so opposed to this marriage? I see no reason for you to be.
Livia:It gives him more than he deserves.
Augustus:That's not the reason. There's some other reason. What is it?
Livia:There is no other reason! Except... Except... You might have consulted Julia first. Are we now to ignore the wishes of our children and sell them on the market as if they were slaves? Have you no feelings?
Narrator Claudius:But she got her way in the end. Yes. She waited nine years but she got her way. Wicked woman... What was that? Wind? I wonder. They're trying to get rid of me. Yes, they're poisoning me, I know it. Must get it all down, quickly, before they finish me off. Haven't much time.
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 2
Back To Index
1 - Family Affairs
Narrator Claudius:My grandmother, Livia, could certainly be patient. Nine years passed before Agrippa's services could be spared, then he died. Poisoned, by Livia. Tiberius divorced his wife and married Julia. Oh yes, my grandmother always got her way in the end... Wicked woman.
Drusus:You're getting soft. You wouldn't last a five-hour march if you were in the army now. Now, throw it! Oh, come on! Throw it! Antonia throws harder than that.
Tiberius:Shut up! Throw the ball
Drusus:Of course, if you lost some of that stomach of yours...
Tiberius:Now we'll see who's hard. [wrestling]
Drusus:HaHaHa... Death or surrender?
Tiberius:Oh, get off.
Drusus:Ha! I never thought I'd see my brother in such a pitiful condition.
Tiberius:You spend ten years in Rome and see how you feel.
Drusus:Hey... What's this, huh? Sulks?
Tiberius:You're lucky. You're going back to the army tomorrow. That's the only decent life for a Roman. Marching, fighting, building forts. Those were the best years of my life.
Drusus:You made the army's life bloody hell.
Tiberius:Oh, I marched them hard and I drilled them hard, but I was fair. I'll bet they say I was fair.
Drusus:Do you know what they really say about you?
Drusus:They say that your drills were bloodless battles... and your battles were bloody drills.
Tiberius:Is that what they say? Really?
Tiberius:HaHa. You know, Drusus, that army I took across the Alps, they were men. You never had men like that.
Drusus:Hey, we've won some victories ourselves, you know, you didn't win them all.
Tiberius:I know, I know. But those two legions...
Drusus:The twelfth and the sixteenth, I know.
Tiberius:You'll never see their like again. Nothing bothered them - the heat, the cold... the marching. Ah, I cursed them and I flogged them, but I cursed and flogged their officers too. And if there weren't any tents for the men, I slept out in the open with them.
Drusus:Well, you'll have to take the field again.
Tiberius:He won't let me.
Drusus:Who, Augustus?
Tiberius:He keeps me here as his work donkey. Says he can't spare me. I'm his chief errand boy. I spend my time investigating the level of unemployment... Or reorganizing the city fire brigade. Added to that, there's that bitch Julia they made me marry.
2 - Sibling Rivalries
Julia:[at spa] Oh, he's just impossible. You know, he sometimes he doesn't speak to me for days.
Antonia:Well, he was always very broody, according to Drusus, even as a child. But Drusus says that he could always make him laugh.
Julia:Drusus. Drusus only knows him as a brother. He ought to be married to him. You know, Antonia, I'm very easygoing... Do you want that toe to drop off?
Slave:There's a stiffness in the joint.
Julia:There wasn't before you started to work on it. They daydream, you know. They'd stand there all day massaging the same toe if you let them.
Antonia:She's probably in love.
Julia:Hmmm. I hope she has better luck than me. What was I talking about?
Antonia:About Tiberius. He never wanted to divorce Vipsania, that was the trouble.
Julia:That wispy stalk of a thing? I don't know what he saw in her. There's nothing of her. She's as thin as a stick. He used to spend half of every night in bed looking for her!
Julia:No, it's true. If the sheets got a bit crumpled in the night, she disappeared until morning. He was lucky if they found her when they made the bed.
Antonia:She's not as thin as that!
Julia:Well, I don't know what you call thin, but I saw old Valerius two days after he starved himself to death and he looked better than she looks now!
Antonia:Well, I must say that I could never see the attraction and after ten years of marriage, I'd have thought he'd be quite glad to see the back of her.
Julia:That's the trouble. He was always too glad to see the back of her.
Antonia:Julia, what on earth do you mean?
Julia:Well, he's very strange. But you're much too sensitive a person for me to go into details.
Antonia:Julia, he doesn't...?
Julia:Oh, I could put up with that. I'm not like you, Antonia. I could probably teach him a thing or two. But it's the coldness. I can't get near him. Even snow will melt on a warm day, but not him.
Antonia:I had no idea.
Julia:And he hates Gaius and Lucius. Now, I mean, how could anyone hate my boys. They're sweet, huh?
Antonia:They're very sweet.
Julia:And to think I was once mad about him. What fools we women are.
Antonia:I blame Augustus for it. He should never have insisted on the marriage.
Julia:Don't blame my father. Blame Livia. If anyone insisted, she did. She tried the same thing ten years ago when my first husband died, but Agrippa got in before her.
Antonia:I didn't know that.
Julia:No, you were too young... That's all right. I've had enough... When Marcellus died, she had everything planned. Oh, she was very clever. She knew how I felt about Tiberius and she was determined that he should marry me, but Agrippa had the same idea, and, at that time, Augustus needed him more than he needed her son, so she had to wait. And can she wait! Ye gods, time means nothing to her! Poor Marcellus.
Antonia:That must have been terrible for you.
Julia:Well, to tell you the truth... Leave us. I'll call you.
Antonia:Off you go. Go.
Julia:To tell you the truth, it's often crossed my mind that Livia might have had a hand in that.
Julia:Well, I might be wrong, but he was a strong, healthy man, and he never had a serious illness until she got her hands on him. I often wonder about that woman... Ah, Antonia, you're so innocent!
Antonia:Hah! Not so innocent. Ask Drusus.
Julia:HaHa. I might just do that one of these days if I get him into the right mood! He's very attractive, your husband... Why is it that when I come in here with you, I always cover myself up, and if I come in here with anybody else, I don't bother?
Antonia:Well. you should. I don't approve of all this nakedness.
Julia:Oh, Antonia! I shall miss you when you leave tomorrow.
Tiberius:[in spa] Not so hard.
Drusus:The dirt's ingrained in the skin.
Tiberius:It goes deeper than that.
Drusus:Woh, your gloom is magnificent.
Tiberius:Not so hard all the same or I'll get my men to do it. I can't think why you won't let them do it anyway.
Drusus:A man should keep himself clean, not have slaves do it.
Tiberius:How's he supposed to scrape his own back?
Drusus:He gets his brother to do it.
Tiberius:If he hasn't got a brother?
Drusus:Gets his son.
Tiberius:If he hasn't got a son?
Drusus:Gets his friend.
Tiberius:If he hasn't got a friend?
Drusus:Then he should go and hang himself.
Tiberius:I've tried it. It's better to have a slave scrape your back... You know, I shall miss you. You don't have any dark thoughts.
Drusus:Oh, nonsense. We all have them.
Tiberius:Not like me. Not like me.
Drusus:Oh come on, you're no worse than the rest of us.
Tiberius:I'll tell you something, Drusus. Sometimes I so hate myself, I can't bear the thought of me anymore. You don't know anything about darkness, do you? Inside darkness. Blackness.
Drusus:Ah, stop bragging! I could match you black for black.
Tiberius:Not you. Not you. The say the tree of the Claudians produces two kinds of apples - the sweet and the sour. That was never more true than you and me.
Drusus:And what of our mother, which is she?
Tiberius:They say a snake bit her once and died.
Drusus:Hey. Hey, that's no longer funny.
Tiberius:I've only cared for three people in my life. One was our father.
Drusus:Yes, he was the noblest of us all.
Tiberius:Yes. The other was Vipsania.
Drusus:I was sorry about that. Why? Why did you divorce her?
Tiberius:Livia insisted on it. Julia wanted it. Augustus insisted on it.
Drusus:Yes, all the same, you were so happy, you might have refused.
Tiberius:Do you think the monarchy will survive Augustus?
Drusus:No, I don't. Rome will be a Republic again, I promise you that.
Tiberius:Then perhaps I did it all for nothing.
Drusus:Is that why you did it? Is that really? But there are Julia's sons that come before you. My poor brother. So ambitious.
Tiberius:Our mother makes me so. Oh god, I miss her so. Vipsania. What did they make me do?
Drusus:Oh, Tiberius... What's done is done.
Tiberius:Yes. Yes, it's done. I must forget her.
Tiberius:Vipsania was the second, and she's gone. You're the third.
Drusus:Well, you know I feel the same way.
Tiberius:You know, you should have my nature and I yours.
Tiberius:I'm the elder, I'm supposed to protect you.
Drusus:Well, we'll protect each other. I don't know what from?
Tiberius:There are many things you don't know. If anything should happen to you...
Drusus:Ahh, what could happen to me, hmmm?
Tiberius:Well, you could be killed in battle. Or you could fall sick and die.
Drusus:And you could cut your throat shaving or choke on a plum stone... Tiberius, none of us is guaranteed a time.
Tiberius:No... You're my lifeline into the light.
Gaius:[at Palace] Six again.
Gaius:One, two, three, four, five, six.
Augustus:Hmmm. Now what will you do?
Gaius:I'll put two legions in the port and stop the corn supply.
Augustus:Not bad. Rome can't live without corn but you've got your back to the sea and that's not good. Still, that's your decision. Lucius, your turn.
Augustus:Oh, these dice have got nothing but sixes.
Lucius:One, two, three, four, five, six. Belgica. Belgic's mine.
Augustus:Ahhh. Go on throw again.
Lucius:Two... One, two. I'll take Britain.
Augustus:You can't, you've only got three legions left.
Lucius:Hmmm. Julius did it.
Augustus:He didn't stay long though, did he...
Augustus:Oh yes, what is it?
Slave:Caesar, your stepson, the noble Drussus Nero begs to take his leave of you.
Augustus:Oh, yes, yes. You can come with me.
Lucius:Can't we finish the game first?
Augustus:Later. We have a duty to perform and duty comes before pleasure. Now, come and say goodbye to the man who commands all our armies in Germany. Now, come one, come on, come on. And no sulks, that's not the Roman way.
3 - Secrets
Augustus:So, you're leaving us.
Drusus:Yes, Caesar.
Augustus:And glad to go, I daresay.
Drusus:I go where I'm sent Caesar, but if you ask me, yes I am glad to go.
Augustus:Haha. I don't blame you. When I was your age, I wanted to be with the army too. Look, I brought Gaius and Lucius to say goodbye. We've been playing Empire. I've already lost Egypt and Syria.
Lucius:May I ask Drusus a question?
Augustus:Yes, go ahead.
Lucius:How many legions would you need to invade Britain?
Drusus:Ah. Hmmm. Four. Yes, and a great deal of auxiliary cavalry as well.
Lucius:Couldn't you do it with three? They're very uncivilized.
Drusus:It's not worth the risk. You see, on a fresh venture, you must hit hard and quickly. And if you have to send for reinforcements, it just gives the enemy breathing space.
Gauis:I'll do it one day.
Drusus:Well, I doubt it's worth it. There's nothing of value there and the people make very poor slaves.
Augustus:Now say goodbye and wait for me upstairs.
Gauis:Goodbye then.
Drusus:Goodbye... You should read Julius' commentaries on his campaign in Britain.
Gauis:I've already read it. Twice.
Lucius:So have I. Goodbye.
Augustus:And don't move the tokens while I'm gone. I know where they are... They're good boys. We'll have need of them one day. Come and... Come and walk with me in the garden then. Is Antonia travelling with you?
Augustus:Will that be alright, I mean in her condition?
Drusus:Oh, yes.
Augustus:I didn't realize she was expecting again. Julia told me. It's a bit close to the others.
Drusus:Yes, well, what can you do?
Augustus:Yes, true. Anyway, we need more children, especially among the nobility. People aren't getting married earlier. Yes, I must do something about that... Have you... Have you said goodbye to Livia?
Drusus:Well, she knows that I'm here. She's with the Parthian ambassador.
Augustus:Oh, yes, yes. She works so hard for me. Your mother is a very fine woman. I'd have given up long ago if it weren't for her.
Drusus:It is an immense burden to place on the shoulders of just one man.
Augustus:Yes, it is, it is. It's really too much. Oh, I sometimes have a longing, you know, to be just a private citizen again. But it's been 20 years now since Mark Antony died. And I took it all on my own. And I blame him, you know. I mean, what a fool that man was. The whole of the Eastern empire was his. If he'd been a proper husband to my sister, things would've been very different.
Drusus:Is it too late?
Drusus:Is it too late to lay down the burdens of office?
Augustus:And let the Senate rule?
Augustus:You're just like your father. Always wanting the Republic. He was my enemy too at one time.
Drusus:I'll never be that.
Augustus:No, no. I didn't mean that. Be like him. You couldn't do better. I did him wrong once, you know. Oh yes, yes, yes. I took your mother from him. And that has weighed with me over the years... Still... We're a family and we all work together for the greater good of Rome.
Drusus:My Brother...
Augustus:Yes, yes, yes... Tiberius... Oh, he's a puzzle to me, like the Sphinx. He's like having a large dog lying about the house all day, watching everything and saying nothing.
Drusus:He wants to leave Rome.
Augustus:Yes, I know, I know. He never stops telling me. But I need him here and that's a fact. I mean, what would I do without him until the boys grow up.
Drusus:Yes, still an unwilling horse...
Augustus:Yes, yes... Is more trouble than walking on foot. But we're not horses. We can't all do what we want. And frankly what does he want? He wants to sit on a rock all day, Rhodes, or Capri, and throw stones at the sea. Why, I don't know. No, no, no, no. We can't have it... Ah, here's your mother.
Livia:So, you're off again.
Drusus:Yes, mother.
Livia:You read the dispatches that came from Germany yesterday? The Cherusci are giving trouble again.
Drusus:Well, I'll give them trouble enough, don't worry.
Augustus:Shall we ever civilize these Germans, Drusus?
Drusus:HaHa. I doubt it.
Augustus:Well, you know how I feel. When we conquer a people, we must be temperate. But when agreements have been broken, punishments must be severe... What did the Parthians want?
Livia:They want a Roman god to worship. They want to dedicate the temple to you.
Augustus:No, no, no. I won't have it. I've said so before.
Drusus:We've abolished kings in Rome, mother. Would you now give us living gods?
Livia:They won't be in Rome, Drusus. They'll be in Syria. What harm is there in a temple built in your name with primitive people may come and place a few offerings.
Augustus:No, no, no. It makes me uneasily. I feel in my heart it's, it's not right. I mean, we may offend those gods that already look after us and oversee our destiny.
Livia:But these people.
Augustus:No! You must tell them no... Well, I must get back to the boys and finish the game. Now look after Antonia. No accidents. Who knows what great Roman she may be carrying... gods go with you... I shall ask the boys to dine with us today. They can listen to the discussion with the ambassador. It'll be good for them.
Livia:Leave him alone. Don't encourage him to step down from office.
Drusus:Now, Mother, do you really want us to drift into an hereditary monarchy, become sinks of corruption like Eastern potentates.
Livia:Rome will never be a Republic again.
Drusus:Well, we needn't quarrel about it. Come let me kiss you and say goodbye... You know, you mustn't mind if you dislike me. A mother can't love all her children.
Vipsania:[in Vipsania's house] You shouldn't have come here. It's wrong. It's wrong.
Tiberius:Don't send me away. Please, Vipsania.
Vipsania:Do you want to make trouble for me?
Tiberius:No. No.
Vipsania:Then go away. It's dangerous.
Tiberius:Open the shutter. Let me look at you here.
Vipsania:Please! Please, go away!
Tiberius:Is it true?
Vipsania:Yes. Yes, it's true.
Tiberius:Getting married again?
Tiberius:I won't have it! I won't have it! I'll kill you! You're mine! You're my wife!
Vipsania:I am not your wife. You divorced me!
Tiberius:Don't. Don't.
Vipsania:Please, you must leave me alone. We mustn't see each other again.
Tiberius:Do you love him?
Vipsania:Do you love her?
Tiberius:No. No, I hate her.
Vipsania:He's very kind to me.
Tiberius:But why must you marry again!
Vipsania:Because I must put an end to your following me! You're coming to see me. Your mother's spies are everywhere.
Tiberius:I don't care about that!
Vipsania:You're married to Augustus' daughter. You can't treat her as if she were no one.
Tiberius:Don't get married again. I beg you. I couldn't bear it.
Vipsania:And am I to spend the rest of my life alone?
Tiberius:You wouldn't be alone. I promise you.
Vipsania:Tiberius, it was not my doing. I didn't divorce you. You divorced me.
Tiberius:I didn't want to. They made me do it.
Vipsania:They couldn't have made me... Oh, I'm sorry I didn't mean that. I didn't mean that. Oh, it was hard for you, I know. I know it was harder for you than it would've been for me.
Tiberius:I shouldn't have done it. I should've killed myself first.
Vipsania:It's done now. There's no going back.
Tiberius:Let's die together. Let's kill ourselves. Let's go into our bathroom, open our veins, and when they find us, our blood will be mingling and caressing in the water.
Vipsania:Oh, my baby, my baby. It's too late. It's too late.
Tiberius:Lost. Lost. I go from darkness into darkness.
Vipsania:You'll come through it and so will I.
Tiberius:But how will I come through it, Vipsania? I'm afraid of what I'll become without you.
Vipsania:Why should you be afraid?
Tiberius:Because of your sweetness.
4 - Tangled Webs Are Weaved
Livia:We had a deputation here, six months ago from Palmyra.
Senator:And Augustus refused, I remember.
Livia:Hmmm. The thought of deification makes him uneasy.
Senator:It might make us all uneasy.
Livia:We're not all worthy of it.
Senator:No, no, of course. But his mind is made up?
Livia:Yes. But so it mine. I cannot allow his natural modesty to interfere with his political judgment. I know that if the Senate were convinced that his deification were politically useful, he would not be displeased. But he, himself will exert no pressure and, of course, he would not be present at any of the debates.
Senator:Of course... They'll be some opposition in the Senate. But, uh, I'll take the line...
Livia:I'll tell you what line to take.
Augustus:[at Palace] You were seen! And in broad daylight! You were seen going in and you were seen coming out! I won't have it! And this is not the first time!
Tiberius:I went to congratulate her on her upcoming marriage.
Augustus:Don't congratulate her! Leave her be! And you didn't go for that reason, not at all for that reason! You'll treat my daughter with respect. Respect, do you hear me! I didn't ask for this marriage! You asked for it, and she asked for it, but, by thunder, I won't have it made a mockery of!
Augustus:He's been seeing his former wife, if you please, and it's not the first time!
Livia:My dear, I think you exaggerate.
Augustus:I exaggerate nothing! He met her in the street the other day. Oh, yes you did. I heard about it. I hear everything, everything. Nothing escapes me. He didn't dare speak to her in public. But he followed her all through the city like a moon struck calf for everyone to see! You'll not make a laughingstock of my family or, as quick as boiled asparagus, I'll have you out. Out! ... You listen to me. Mark Antony was twice the man you are. And when he spat on my sister, he learned a lesson that he didn't live long enough to profit from. Do you understand me?
Tiberius:Julia and I don't get on.
Augustus:Damn you, I don't want to hear about it! You'll get on, whether you like it or not! And you'll leave that woman alone!
Tiberius:Well, let me go away. Let me leave Rome.
Augustus:What am I to do with him? Now, tell me, you're his mother now speak to him. It's Agrippa all over again.
Livia:He doesn't mean it. He doesn't want to go.
Augustus:Didn't you hear what he said!
Livia:He's unhappy. He didn't mean it.
Livia:It's not unnatural for a man to see his former wife now and then. They may have things to discuss. After all, I saw his father several times after you and I were married.
Augustus:That was different.
Livia:Oh, not so very different. And you, if I recall, saw Julia's mother from time to time.
Augustus:Yes, but not in secret!
Livia:Well, I didn't remember being present.
Augustus:Oh, you may not have been. But it was not in secret!
Livia:Well, how secret was this? I knew about it.
Augustus:You knew about it?
Livia:Of course. He told me.
Augustus:You never said anything to me.
Livia:Have you so little to occupy your time, that I must keep you informed of the comings and goings of everyone in the household? You're always complaining that you have too much to think about and not enough time to think about it in. Perhaps you'd care to see the laundry list in the future?
Augustus:... Alright, I was hasty. But you understand, I felt I had cause... Tiberius, listen. I'm not blind. I know that you and Julia aren't the most perfectly matched couple in the world. But what can you do? These things happen! But we can't go cutting the knot every time we have a quarrel. Especially us. We have to set an example. Livia, you'll back me on this.
Livia:Oh, but of course. We have duties and responsibilities which far outweigh our private duties.
Augustus:Exactly! Now. Now, Tiberius. You play fair with me, eh? Don't sulk! And if it's a matter of a little thing on the side, here and there - now, I'm not encouraging, mind - who's to know? Between you and me and forgetting that your mother's here for the moment, if that's ever possible. Yes, well we can wink at it between men. But Vipsania, I don't like it. Do you understand? It's not allowed. Now you play fair with me and you'll see, I can be generous too.
Augustus:Good. Good. Ahhh, if there's one thing that I hate, it's a family row. I mean, what does it cost to be kind to one another? To be sympathetic and understanding?
Slave:An imperial messenger has arrived from Germany, Caesar.
Augustus:Send him in.
Courier:A dispatch from Drusus Nero for his noble brother.
Augustus:Tiberius, let's hear what he says, it's news from Germany.
Tiberius:"My dear Tiberius. A period of enforced rest due to a slight head wound has given me much time to ponder and reflect on the state of our beloved Rome."
Augustus:He's wounded, not seriously I hope.
Tiberius:Oh, he says it's slight. "Such was the extent of the corruption and petty place seeking that I found in..." ...
Livia:Go on.
Tiberius:Uh, the handwriting is...
Augustus:Surely, you can read more than that?
Tiberius:Yes, ummm... Well, he goes on to say, uhhh...
Tiberius:Uh, honestly sir, it's not worth reading. I think my brother was perhaps not himself when he wrote it.
Livia:"...the corruption and petty place seeking that I found in Rome, that I have come to the conclusion that it is the inevitable consequence of the continued exercise of supreme power by Augustus. Could we not persuade him, even compel him, to retire? I firmly believe he is ready to do this but for the stubbornness of our mother, Livia, who derives such satisfaction from the exercise of supreme power through him..."... There's more. Do you want to read it? The letter's clearly treasonable.
Augustus:No, no, no, no. No, he feels strongly about it. I understand. He's wrong. But I understand... Then again, perhaps he's right? Perhaps I should retire? I've said so often enough.
Livia:Well, will you allow him to insult me in this fashion?
Augustus:He's your son, not mine.
Tiberius:His wound might have affected him. He speaks of giddiness at the end.
Augustus:Yes... Yes... That's it... He's a little bit deranged. Those German forests, they can affect a man... I'll call him back for a rest... It would be good to see him again.
Livia:Yes, I think you're right. We should have him back. And I'll send a doctor with a letter.
Tiberius:He's got a doctor.
Livia:Ha, army doctors, what do they know? No, no, no, I'll send my own. He'll know how to take care of him.
5 - Drusus' Fatal Fall
Rufus:Easy... That's right... Fetch the doctor.
Guardsman:Which one?
Rufus:Which one. Ours, of course. And tell him to hurry. Lift him onto the bed and be careful. Or by all the gods, I'll make eunuchs of you.
Rufus:You blockheads. Alright, get this away. I'll have the lot of you crucified... It's alright. It's alright. Alright, clear out.
Drusus:Feels terrible.
Rufus:It's a mess. We'll get it cleaned... Hurry up with that water... What happened?
Drusus:My horse fell on me. I couldn't get out. It crushed my leg against a jagged rock and then tore it to shreds trying to get to its feet.
Rufus:The doctor's coming.
Drusus:What did the guardsman mean, which one?
Rufus:One arrived from Rome today. He's your mother's personal physician.
Drusus:Well, that was kind of her. Why, he'll have more to look than just a head wound, won't he? Where is he?
Rufus:We found a room for him. He doesn't look too happy. I think he's already missing the comforts of home... This will probably hurt... He brought a letter with him too, from Caesar.
Drusus:Well, where is it?
Rufus:I have it here. I'll give it to you after.
Drusus:No, you give it to me now.
Antonia:Rufus, what happened?
Rufus:The horse fell and crushed his leg.
Drusus:No, no, no, I'm alright. I've been invited politely back to Rome.
Drusus:I'm not sure but I think I can guess... Ahhh. Ohhh, get out of here. Ahhh.
Rufus:Well, you'll not be moving far on that leg, if I'm any judge of wounds.
Augustus:[in Rome] I don't understand. A simple fall. How could it happen?
Tiberius:They can be bad sometimes.
Augustus:To bring himself close to death's door?
Livia:Well, it's a good excuse for not coming home.
Tiberius:Why do you say that?
Livia:Because I've heard such reasons before. Don't raise your voice to me!
Tiberius:What reason could he have?
Livia:Who knows? We know he has the whole of the western armies at his back. Perhaps he'll come when it suits him?
Tiberius:I must go to my brother.
Augustus:He's 500 miles away. If it's as serious as the letter says, he could be dead even now.
Tiberius:All the same, I must go to him.
Augustus:I'll make a sacrifice and offer prayers... Perhaps he won't be taken from us. Take him our love... Well, go, go, go, go quickly!
Augustus:The Senate today have voted to make me a god in Palmyra. They'll put a little statute to me in the temple. And people will bring offerings to me, asking me to bring rain or cure their father's gout... Tell me Livia, if I'm a god, even in Palmyra, how do I cure gout?
Antonia:[in Germany] What is it, my love? What do you want?
Drusus:[whispers] Fetch the children.
Antonia:Yes. Yes, of course. I'll bring them...
Antonia:He wants me to fetch the children.
Tiberius:[enters] Is he?
Antonia:No. But he's near... [exits]
Tiberius:What is it?
Rufus:Gangrene, It crept slowly up through him and nothing seemed to stop it.
Tiberius:Where's the staff surgeon?
Rufus:He wasn't allowed near him.
Rufus:He took the case out of his hands.
Tiberius:Musa... It was just a simple fall. What happened to your skill?
Musa:I came too late. His condition was too far gone. I came too late.
Tiberius:Get out! [throws Musa out]
Tiberius:Drusus! Drusus, look at me! Drusus, it's I, Tiberius.
Drusus:You and your damned plum stones... She read the letter?
Tiberius:I couldn't stop her. She was there when I got it. I couldn't think you would have anything in it.
Drusus:Rome has a severe mother. And Gauis and Lucius a cruel stepmother.
Tiberius:Drusus. Drusus! Drusus! No! No. No.
Antonia:You didn't wait. You didn't wait. Look, I brought you little Claudius... And you didn't wait.
Baby Claudius:wah
Narrator Claudius:[in his Study] He shouldn't have died, and that's a fact. Somebody blundered, and that's a fact.
6 - Interruptions
Old Claudius:Come.
Servant:Your meal is ready, Caesar.
Old Claudius:Hmmmm?
Servant:Will you have it now or shall I take it away? ...
Servant:[tastes food] Very good, I think the cook's on form today for a change.
Old Claudius:Try that. Ah, unnh, there!
Servant:The garlic's a little overdone for my taste.
Old Claudius:Oh, you're always complaining about the ga-ga-garlic. Po-po-pour...
Servant:[pours and tastes wine]
Old Claudius:Oh look, a good swallow now.
Servant:Yes, I know this one. It's from the north, about 5 years old. We had a very bad summer then. The grapes had a little less sugar in them.
Old Claudius:Oh, stop showing off. Well, fill it up. Then you can go, I'm very busy.
Servant:Another history, Caesar?
Old Claudius:Yes.
Servant:Of the Etruscans again?
Old Claudius:No, of my family.
Old Claudius:Did you ever read my history of the Etruscans?
Servant:No, I got it down from the library once, but I couldn't get into it. Very well written, of course. Oh, very well written... Is something the matter Caesar?
Old Claudius:Ah, the fact is when you know that someone's trying to poison you, nothing tastes right. Absolutely nothing.
Servant:Oh come now Caesar, who would try and poison you? You're beloved of everyone.
Old Claudius:Oh, don't butter me up. You know very well who would want to poison me. My wife, that's who. And that slimy son of hers. Oh, I know you're in league with the pair of them.
Servant:In my opinion, Caesar, the only person likely to poison us here is the cook. I wish you'd let me get rid of him. He's a Greek and the only thing he ever thinks of doing is stuffing vine leaves.
Old Claudius:Will you, will you take it away. I'm not hungry.
Servant:May I ask how the current work is coming?
Old Claudius:Well enough.
Servant:May I ask how far you've got?
Old Claudius:The death of my father.
Servant:Ah, the noble Drusus. A tragedy that one should lose one's father so young.
Old Claudius:Yes!
Servant:Yes. Ah... [exits]
Old Claudius:A tragedy for us all. Yes, and for Rome.
Narrator Claudius:And especially for my uncle. He was never the same again.
7 - Falling Apart
Augustus:Well... Sons of Agrippa, the daylight's fled and stars are out. It's time for decent people to lock their doors and go to sleep. Come. Come on. Ah, you can see me to my bed. And then go to your own. Ah... shoo... go. no, no go... Yes we've eaten well. And drunk well. Too well perhaps. Ahh, Lucius and Gauis... Poor Julia, she can't take the wine as she used to. And even dear Antonia nods a little. What... What were you thinking tonight, my dear? Ah, poor Drusus. Yes, yes, yes, I ... I was thinking of him tonight too. Rome cannot afford such a loss. Ah, I pray to the gods that these boys will be as noble and as virtuous as he was... You mustn't dwell on it. A year has gone by and that's quite long enough for grief. Amore is not the Roman way, you know... Musicians, play us out. Let us have music that takes us to our sleep. [exits]
Antonia:A year. Is that all it is? One little year... Goodnight, lady. [exits]
Tiberius:Pretty sight, isn't she? I must get away from her. I must leave Rome.
Livia:You'll stay. You'll have patience, as I have.
Tiberius:Where has your patience got you? You've lost him, mother. You've lost him to those two boys.
Livia:If you leave Rome, I'll wash my hands of you, once and for all. And shed not a single tear.
Tiberius:That's not surprising. I saw you shed none for my brother.
Julia:[wakes] Have they all gone? Ummm, Tiberius, I was having such a beautiful dream. Tiberius... sleep with me tonight. I'll be sure to... Tonight... Don't be. Just tonight.
Tiberius:Let me go, you fat drunken cow!
Julia:Fat! Fat! If I'm fat, I'm fat where a woman should be fat, not skinny like a boy. Go to bed my dear and I'll send you one up. He's very pretty, I promise you. I've had him myself. HaHa... He reminds me of your ex-wife. Not a hair on his body and he's even skinnier behind.
Tiberius:[slaps Julia]
Augustus:There'll be no divorce! None! I don't care what he is. You married him and that's the end of it.
Augustus:Look what he did. Look what your son did to my daughter. Now what kind of man is that, tell me? I've never liked him, never. He's your son Livia, but I have to tell you that I've never liked him.
Julia:I want a divorce!
Augustus:No divorce! You've been married three times already, how many more marriages do you want?
Julia:That's not my fault, I was widowed twice!
Augustus:Well, how a woman can get herself widowed twice is beyond me.
Julia:That's not fair!
Augustus:Well, it shows damn poor judgment, that's all I can say.
Julia:I never asked to be married to Agrippa.
Augustus:You asked to be married to this one and married you'll stay! As for that husband of yours, he can clear out of Rome, I'm finished with him! Tell him to pack his bags and go! I don't even want to see him. I never want his name mentioned in this house again, ever!
Julia:Well, how am I supposed to live, neither married nor divorced!
Augustus:You'll live as befits a Roman matron, that's how you'll live. And heaven help you if you don't!
Augustus:Ohhh! Oh, I don't know. Oh. Why can't they get on? I mean, what do they want from life? I'm supposed to rule an empire, I can't even rule my own family. Well, thank god for these boys, that's all I can say. Well, you'll help me, won't you? I mean, what would we do without these boys Livia, without Agrippa's sons? They're our one hope. Why, in three or four years time, they'll be old enough to take some of this burden off of our backs.
Livia:Oh, they're promising alright. Aren't you, my little beauties? Very promising. Still, you've a long way to go, haven't you? A long, long way. We must take good care of them Augustus. And we shall, I promise you. The very best of care.
Augustus:Ah, that's how it should be. Stay like that a moment. What a picture you make. It expresses the true spirit of the Roman family.
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 3
Back To Index
1 - Waiting in the Wings
Claudius:Where is it? There. Where is it? Where is it? Oh, where is it? No. I had it yesterday. What...? Oh, damned secretaries. No system. None at all. They just shove it anywhere. I mean, what do they care? It's just another piece of paper to them. Oh. I'm sure I had it yesterday. Yes, she wrote him a letter after Gaius died. What was it? "The answer, I'm afraid, is no." Yes, that was it. "My dear Tiberius, the answer, I'm afraid, is no." This is the one! Yes! Yes! Yes! This is it. Yes.
Claudius:"My dear Tiberius, the answer, I'm afraid, is no, which is what I expected... [Livia's voice] ... Augustus refuses to allow you to return to Rome. Refuses even to discuss it. Despite the sudden and unexplained death of his beloved Gaius, and despite my pleading with him, he is adamant that you will stay where you are. He has, of course, never forgiven you for what you did to Julia and frankly I'm not surprised."
Thrasyllus:Hmm? Oh, it's very promising, Excellency, very promising indeed.
Tiberius:You've been saying that for years. Perhaps if you found some disasters there my life might take a turn for the better.
Thrasyllus:But it has, Excellency. The planets are in a most favorable conjunction. For instance, I'm sure that the letter I brought you from Rome contained good news. Am I not right?
Tiberius:You might have known that from my mother when she gave it to you.
Thrasyllus:Excellency, your mother is not the most scrutable of women. One may read her letters, but never her face. I'd stake my life there was some good news in that letter. Come now, my calculations prove it.
Tiberius:I'm to stay here and rot if it has anything to do with Augustus.
Thrasyllus:But there's more. I'm sure there must be more.
Tiberius:Well, she promises now to work for my return.
Thrasyllus:Excellent! I knew it. It's all here. The chart doesn't lie. But it counsels patience too. Nothing will happen overnight.
Tiberius:What else did you learn in Rome?
Thrasyllus:Augustus has taken the death of Gaius very hard.
Tiberius:Is there any more news about how he died?
Thrasyllus:None. It's very mysterious. Unfortunately, the body was burned before an autopsy was ordered. When you die in the East, they don't keep you hanging about long.
Tiberius:I shan't shed any tears for him. What else did you learn?
Thrasyllus:That Augustus intends to appoint your other stepson to command the armies in Spain.
Tiberius:Lucius? He couldn't fight his way out of a harem! What else?
Thrasyllus:Only that your wife's behavior is a scandal known to all except her father.
Tiberius:Suppose you finish that horoscope.
Thrasyllus:Of course, Excellency. Is there anything to drink? My mouth is quite dry. It's such a long climb up this hill
Tiberius:It'll be a lot shorter on the way down if you don't find something to my liking in that chart of yours... Why do they all hate me so? What have I done to them?
2 - A sign from the Gods
Julia:You could stay a few more days. What's the hurry?
Antonia:Oh, no hurry, really.
Julia:Rome is like a sewer in summer.
Antonia:I wasn't going back to Rome. I was thinking of taking the children down to the house in Ostia.
Julia:What for? The sea is the sea, one wave is like another. You might as well stay here.
Antonia:Well. I thought perhaps you might like to be on your own for a while.
Julia:When have I ever wanted to be on my own?
Antonia:Well, that's what I meant, really.
Julia:Oh! No, you don't put me out. I have to behave myself when the children are around. Well, up to a point. You're always sewing or weaving or doing something. Why don't you let the slaves do it for you?
Antonia:They never do things properly.
Julia:You know, that's quite true. They don't want to work, they eat you out of house and home, and then they can't get up in the morning.
Antonia:It's not easy to buy good slaves anymore. You need to be a very good judge of character.
Julia:Do you pick your own?
Antonia:Yes, of course. Don't you?
Julia:I used to when I lived with Tiberius. It was one of those things I felt I ought to do. You know me. I was all right with the girls, but when it came to the male slaves I used to pick all the good-looking ones and then I ended up doing the work myself!
Antonia:Oh Julia, how could you?
Julia:Well, living with Tiberius was not the fulfilling experience I'd expected...
Julia:...I was seldom filled and never full.
Agrippina:Mother! Mother!
Julia:What is it?
Agrippina:Look what he did. Look what he did.
Julia:Who did?
Agrippina:Germanicus. He threw sand all over me. It's in my face, on my hair, it's everywhere.
Antonia:Germanicus, how could you?
Germanicus:I was only teasing. She threw it in mine. Oh, come on, Pina. I'm sorry.
Agrippina:You did it on purpose. I'll never speak to you again.
Julia:Now, come here and let me wipe it off and stop being so dramatic.
Antonia:Germanicus? You mustn't be so rough.
Germanicus:I'm... I'm sorry.
Julia:She's perfectly all right.
Antonia:How's Claudius?
Germanicus:He's alright. He's looking for shells.
Antonia:Well, make sure the slaves keep an eye on him and don't leave him out of the games.
Germanicus:We won't. Oh, come on, Pina. I'm sorry.
Julia:And don't be too long down there! It's time you came in out of the sun! ... They'll be getting married soon.
Antonia:What worries me is who's going to marry Claudius, with his foot and his stammer.
Julia:There's always somebody.
Antonia:To tell you the truth Julia, I find it very hard to be affectionate to him. I suppose really I ought to love him more because of his afflictions, but I don't.
Julia:I think he's sweet.
Antonia:You're not his mother. It's not easy living with a child who's so stupid. Everything you tell him you have to repeat half a dozen times. What Drusus would have made of him, I don't know.
Julia:Ah, Drusus. You had something wonderful there, my dear. Tell me, did you never wonder about his death? I mean, did it never strike you as odd that it happened when Livia's personal physician was looking after him?
Antonia:You said something like that to me once before.
Julia:I said that I thought that Livia had a hand in it, and I still think so. And I know that Tiberius thought so.
Antonia:I can't believe that.
Julia:People say that Tiberius didn't mind being banished because he was glad to get away from me. But that wasn't all of it. I think he was pleased to get away from his mother. She used to invite him to dinner too often!
Antonia:Julia, don't joke.
Julia:I'm not! I've seen his face often enough when she's poured wine for him. I tell you, I don't dine there happily myself.
Antonia:You've upset me, you really have. It's a terrible thing to accuse someone of poisoning without proof.
Julia:Well, she accuses me of all sorts of things without proof!
Antonia:Make sure she doesn't get any then.
Julia:Are you leaving, Lucius?
Lucius:Yes, Mother. If we leave now, we'll be in Rome before nightfall.
Plautius:It's been so pleasant here. I love your house.
Julia:Well, you must come again. I've got a little present for you in my study. A memento of your visit. We shan't be long.
Lucius:Nothing for me, Mother?
Julia:You don't deserve anything leaving so soon!
Antonia:When are you leaving for Spain?
Lucius:In a few months.
Antonia:Augustus must have great confidence in you.
Lucius:Yes. Yes, I think so.
Julia:Deserter. I shall be here all summer. Oh, I could eat you.
Antonia:Here comes your brother.
Lucius:Postumus. I'm leaving. Hey, what's the matter? Have you lost something?
Postumus:No. Are you going back to Rome?
Postumus:May I come with you?
Lucius:You'll have to ask Mother, but I'm sure she'll say no.
Antonia:What's the matter?
Lucius:He's had a quarrel with Livilla I should think.
Postumus:Oh, shut up.
Antonia:I don't know why you children quarrel so much. Why can't you be nice to each other?
Julia:Look who's called to visit us. Gnaeus Domitius.
Domitius:I was on my way to Formiae. I felt I must call upon you, Lady.
Julia:Do you know my son, Lucius?
Domitius:Ah, an honor, sir. I took the auspices for your brother Gauis before he left for Syria. They were most favorable. I've never seen the liver of a ewe so clear. One could almost see through it. His death is inexplicable to me.
Julia:And to us all. My youngest, Postumus.
Lucius:We must go, Mother.
Julia:Yes. Take care on the journey.
Postumus:May I go with them, Mother?
Julia:Whatever for? Certainly not.
Lucius:Goodbye, Antonia. [Postumus] Go and make it up with Livilla, you'll feel better.
Postumus:Oh, shut up.
Lucius:Come, Plautius, we'll make a start.
Germanicus:Eagles. What are they fighting for?
Julia:Here come the children. Let's go into the house. It sounds as if they've been quarrelling again and I don't think I could stand it.
Germanicus:Eagles! They're fighting! Postumus, look at the eagles!
Agrippina:What are they fighting for?
Castor:Oh look. One of them's got something! See, in its claws there. It's a small animal, [screeching overhead]
Agrippina:Mother, Mother, the eagles are fighting!
Castor:They're fighting over something. Look out!
Livilla:What is it, Claudius?
Castor:It's a wolf cub.
Germanicus:Mother, it dropped right from its claws.
Livilla:Let me have him! Let me have him!
Antonia:Leave it be! It fell to Claudius, leave it be!
Julia:Look at the blood. Ye Gods, what does it mean? Domitius, tell us what it means.
Domitius:Lady, I...
Antonia:You know what it means, I can see from your face. Tell us, I beg you. Children, go into the house.
Domitius:No! Let them stay. The sign was given to you all, and given now, perhaps, because I am here to read it. But they must be sworn to secrecy. Who are the gods that watch over this house?
Julia:Jupiter and Mars.
Domitius:Then do you swear, all of you, by these your gods...that no word of what you are about to hear shall ever pass your lips?
[all]:Yes, we do.
Domitius:The wolf cub is Rome. No doubt of it. Romulus was suckled by a wolf as her own cub, and Romulus was Rome. And look at it. All torn about the neck and shivering with fear. A wretched sight. Rome will be wretched one day. But he will protect it. He and no other.
Livilla:[laughs] Claudius as protector of Rome! I hope I shall be dead by then.
Antonia:Go to your room! You shall have nothing to eat for the rest of the day!
Julia:Children, come in. Come inside.
Claudius:May I k-k-keep the cub, please, Mother? Please may I?
3 - Setting the Trap
Livia:Well, is it true? Have I heard right? Are you having my daughter-in-law? Come, you can be frank with me. As a matter of fact, it would be better for you to be frank with me.
Plautius:She... She took a fancy to me.
Livia:I'm sure she did.
Plautius:Well, what could I do? She is, after all, Caesar's daughter.
Livia:You were wise not to refuse her. Would you do as much for me? I am, after all, Caesar's wife... Quite a stud, aren't you? You find me utterly repulsive, but you'd try all the same. I like that. I like a trier.
Plautius:You're a very beautiful woman.
Livia:I'm an old one. Still, that wouldn't stop you, would it, if you thought I could do something for you. Well, perhaps I can. Yours is a noble family, but poor, I believe.
Plautius:They've been unfortunate.
Livia:But not in you, clearly not in you. No, no, no. In you I would say they have been very fortunate. Come closer. How long have you known my daughter-in-law?
Plautius:Not long. A month or so.
Livia:And did you meet her through her son, or her son through her?
Plautius:I was Lucius' friend first. I stayed at the house in Antium for a few days.
Livia:What a lovely time you must have had. Have you been there since?
Livia:And tell me, does Lucius know you're plowing his mother's furrow with such ferocious skill and energy.
Plautius:Well, I ... I don't know. Perhaps he... Perhaps he...
Livia:Guesses? Yes, well, that wouldn't be hard, would it? I would imagine all Rome apart from her father guesses. How much does Lucius mean to you?
Plautius:He means more than I can say.
Livia:Oh, not more than you can say, surely? Try.
Plautius:I am his best friend.
Plautius:Lady, what do you want of me?
Livia:I want to help you in your career. You'd liked to be helped, wouldn't you?
Plautius:Of course. And what must I do in exchange? Stop seeing the Lady Julia?
Livia:Oh, you've a mighty high opinion of yourself, haven't you? Do you imagine that I would stoop to buying you off when I could swat you like a fly if I wanted to?
Plautius:Sorry, I meant no...
Livia:Hold your tongue. I will tell you what I want and you will provide it. I want a catalogue of my daughter-in-law's activities. I want names, dates, places. And far from breaking with her, you may encourage her all you like.
Plautius:Well, she needs little encouragement.
Livia:Less work for you, then, isn't it? Yes, I can see the attraction. You should go far, if you manage to keep your head. You may go now. Oh, Plautius? You need not, of course, include your own name on that list... for the moment.
Augustus:Praxis, look at this. They've just delivered it. It's a bust of my late adopted son, Gaius.
Praxis:What a beautiful face, Caesar. Such a noble brow. What a tragic loss for Rome.
Augustus:Thank you, Praxis. Thank you.
Praxis:Caesar, the representatives of the Noble Order of Knights are here.
Praxis:You asked to see them in here to address them on the subject of the marriage laws.
Augustus:Oh, yes. Yes. I'll see them out there..
Augustus:Hey! Hey! Boy! Boy, come here! Come! Come! Stay with me. Here. I've called you here because I'm sick and tired... Look, look, up, up. ...of the constant complaints that I've been getting from you and others about the severity of the laws that I've made against bachelors. Do you know what I say to that? I say stop complaining and get married! Because your complaints, they don't impress me that much. And who in Hades do you think you are, Vestal Virgins? You make me sick, the lot of you! Look at that. Do you know what that is? That is a child. A Roman child. And how in Hades do you think he got there? By a Roman man and a Roman woman coming together in the same bed. That's how. That is a fine product of a proper Roman union! Look, can't you stop that twitching?
Claudius:I ca-ca...
Augustus:Oh, never mind. Oh, I hear some titters. You can do better, can you? You murderers of your own posterity! Well, damn well go and do it, now! Quick as boiled asparagus, or, by thunder, I'll bring in some laws you won't like, I can tell you! And that's all I've got to say to you! And don't think you can get round it by getting engaged to nine-year-old girls. I know that dodge. A radish may know no Greek, but I do. Now, which one are you?
Augustus:Oh, yes, Drusus' boy. Hey, hey, hey, shouldn't you be at your lessons? Don't you like your lessons? No, I didn't think you did, I don't like mine but you can't do nothing all day.
Livia:What are you doing here child? Get back to your lessons at once.
Augustus:Oh, he's been helping me tell the knights a thing or two. I used him as a model.
Livia:A model of what? Idiocy?
Augustus:No, no. Oh, never mind, off you go.
Livia:That child should have been exposed at birth.
Augustus:Yes, well we don't do that sort of thing anymore.
Livia:No, more's the pity. He twitches, he stutters and he limps. He's an embarrassment to everyone. Even his mother can't stand him.
Augustus:Well, we can keep him out of the way. He's quite harmless.
Livia:He gets on my nerves. I bump into him in corridors. He talks to himself and irritates people. I want to talk to you.
Augustus:Oh, what about?
Augustus:Oh, that's just what I've been talking about. You know, there's not enough of it.
Livia:Which is why the family should set a good example. Now you remember how early Gaius and Lucius were betrothed, and Tiberius too. On the subject of Tiberius...
Augustus:Livia, leave me alone on the subject of Tiberius.
Livia:My dear, what harm would it do if he came back to Rome as a private citizen?
Augustus:Listen, I know he's your son. I understand your feelings, they're natural in a mother. But we've had this out before and so many times. After what he did to Julia, I shall never forgive him.
Livia:Perhaps the fault was not all on one side? Perhaps he was provoked?
Augustus:No. I can't accept that. I know what you're going to say, I'm her father, she can do no wrong. But be fair, if she's done wrong, let someone prove it. Black and white, as they say, chapter and verse, and not sly backstairs gossip. Let's not talk about it again. On that subject, my mind is closed. Now, on the subject of marriage. What do you suggest? Agrippina and Germanicus, That's obvious.
Livia:Yes. We should arrange the betrothal ceremony as soon as possible. And Castor and Livilla too.
Augustus:Castor and Livilla? Are you sure? I thought Postumus.
Livia:Oh, he's a little monster. Besides Livilla can't stand him.
Augustus:Well, if you say so. She's a bit of a flirt, then. She teases him a lot.
Livia:That's natural in a girl
Augustus:Yes, I suppose so. What about Claudius? Who's going to marry Claudius?
Livia:I'll find someone. It won't be easy, but I'll find someone. Most women marry fools, but it takes them a while to find out. Unfortunately, with Claudius, it's as plain as the nose on his face.
Julia:Plautius, why didn't you save me from this beast?
4 - Turning a Son on His Mother
Julia:So Father asked me to see his own personal physician, and just to please him, I did. And do you know what he told me? He told me not to eat so much. He said if I stopped eating so much, the palpitations would disappear. Now, I mean, I ask you, am I a big eater?
Julia:I mean, I can't live on a lettuce leaf. I'm not a caterpillar.
Claudius:Hello, Aunt J-J-Julia.
Julia:Hello, dear. Who's that you've got there?
Claudius:His name's Herod. His grandfather is King of the J-J-Jews.
Julia:Really? And what's he doing here?
Claudius:He's been sent to be educated in Rome and he's been put in my class.
Julius:Well, how nice. He's a handsome lad, isn't he?
Herod:Thank you Lady. Do I have the honor of addressing the former wife of the great Agrippa?
Julia:Yes, dear, you do.
Herod:My name is Herod Agrippa. I was named after your illustrious husband Marcus Agrippa.
Julia:Really? Well, wasn't that nice of your father to do that?
Herod:No. It was my grandfather who did that.
Julia:Well, it was nice of him, then.
Herod:He's not very nice, Lady. He had my father executed soon after I was born.
Julia:Oh, dear. I am sorry.
Herod:Yes, so was my father.
Claudius:This is my m-m-mother.
Herod:The great Lady Antonia, daughter of Mark Antony and wife of the noble Drusus.
Antonia:My, you do know a lot about us.
Herod:I have studied you all. You are all known throughout the world. You are very famous.
Antonia:Well, you may come and visit us whenever you like. Have you introduced him to Germanicus and Livilla yet?
Claudius:Not yet. C-c-come on, Herod.
Herod:Thank you for receiving a mere provincial so generously.
Antonia:What a polite boy! And how well he speaks Latin. Julia, not another fig.
Julia:Figs are good for you. You sound just like Lucius.
Antonia:Well, I suppose you'll miss him when he goes to Spain.
Julia:Mmm. I shall miss that good-looking friend of his even more.
Livia:What a collection! It certainly doesn't lack variety, does it? I hope these names will stand up to examination?
Plautius:There's nothing there that can't be verified.
Livia:Who, for example, is Gershon?
Plautius:One of the house slaves... from Africa.
Livia:Scandalous. Are there any other slaves on this list?
Plautius:One or two. But the rest are mainly Romans of good birth and family.
Livia:Not quite good enough, it appears. You've done well.
Plautius:Thank you.
Livia:You've no qualms about betraying your friend's mother?
Plautius:In matters of state, I...
Livia:Oh, you do learn fast, don't you? And what about your friend, as distinct from his mother? You are ambitious.
Plautius:When you tell Caesar Augustus about...
Livia:Oh, I shan't tell him. He wouldn't appreciate it coming from me. You see, he would question, in his mind, my motives. No, no. I must find someone else to do that. But you needn't worry, your name won't be mentioned. I may have another little assignment for you.
Plautius:If I can be of service.
Livia:It may not be quite so enjoyable.
Plautius:One can't always combine business with pleasure.
Livia:No. And, usually, it's better not to. You may go now.
Livia:You knew about it! You knew all along, but you did nothing. Nothing!
Lucius:But what could I do, I'm not her keeper?
Livia:You could have gone to Augustus.
Lucius:But... But I thought that like everybody else he knew and had just closed his eyes to it.
Livia:Shame on you! Shame that you should think him such a man when he thinks so highly of you!
Lucius:She's my mother. Would you have me inform on her?
Livia:You could have come to me! You could have come to me! Do you think if I'd known, I'd have stood by and done nothing? Don't you think I'd have tried to save her, for her own sake? And now it's too late to save either of you.
Lucius:Gods. I should have told you, it's true.
Livia:You should have told him, that's what he'll say. But it's not for that alone that he'll condemn you. That you did nothing is bad enough, but you did more. You aided and abetted...
Lucius:No! No.
Livia:You acted as her pimp and her procurer!
Lucius:That's not true!
Livia:Liar! Do you deny that you introduced your friend Plautius to her for that purpose.
Livia:Do you deny he's been her lover? Do you deny he was the chief organizer of her disgusting orgies at the house in Antium and here in Rome? And he's not the first of your friends to have wound up in her bed!
Lucius:Oh, you must believe me. It may look that way to you but...
Livia:How will it look to Augustus? Like mother, like son, that's how it will look. Oh! What a blow this will be to him. Not enough that his daughter is revealed as the town prostitute, but that her son, whom he groomed for the highest office, has connived with her, encouraged her and even supplied her with lovers.
Lucius:What can I do?
Livia:Nothing! There's nothing you can do. Between you and your mother, you will have destroyed the two dearest things in his life. And to think that I, his wife, should have to expose the corruption in his own family.
Lucius:Let me do it! Please! Give me this once chance to make good. It's not as it seems, I swear it.
Lucius:Please. My sin was one of omission, nothing else. Give me this chance to redeem myself. Give me the list.
Livia:Very well, let it be your doing and not mine.
5 - A Father's Pain
Augustus:You, Aelius Sextus Balbas. Is it true? Have you slept with my daughter?
Balbas:Caesar, I...
Augustus:Answer the question.
Balbas:Yes, Caesar.
Augustus:And you, Marcus Volunsius Saturnius? Have you slept with my daughter?
Augustus:Just answer the question.
Saturnius:Yes, Caesar.
Augustus:And you? Have you? And you, Publius Norbanus Flaccus?
Flaccus:Once, Caesar.
Augustus:Ah, only once? That's all?
[another]:Not slept, Caesar.
Augustus:Not slept? You mean it happened standing up, perhaps? Or in the street or on a bench? Not slept?
Augustus:Is there anyone in Rome who has not slept with my daughter? Take them out! I'll decide what to do with them later!
Augustus:No, no! I'm all right. This must have been hard for you. Terrible. It's a wonderful thing you've done coming to me like this. I'm proud of you...
Augustus:I shall banish her! Banish her for life. Don't tell me where she's gone nor ever mention her name. But let her...! Let her be all alone. All alone until she dies! She's not fit for human company!
Julia:[screaming] Father! Father! Please! Please let me in! Let me talk to you! Let me explain! Father? Father! Please! Please don't send me away! Please, please, please don't send me away! I couldn't bear it! I couldn't bear it! Not alone. Please! Plea-ea-ease! Please! Please, Father! Please let me talk to you! Father, please! Please. Give me another chance. Please. Please.
Julia:This is your doing, isn't it? Don't think I don't know. You think you're very clever. You think that by discrediting me, he'll bring your son back from Rhodes. You're so transparent. You want that precious son of yours to follow him when he dies so you can come into your own. But I have two sons, and they both come before yours. So make your mind up to it, Livia. When my father dies, you won't be wanted anymore. So take my advice and climb on the funeral pyre with him!
Livia:So, you've come out of your room at last.
Augustus:I'm cursed, Livia. I'm cursed. First Gaius, then this. What have I done to deserve this?
Livia:Yes. It's a hard thing to see a child banished. Don't I know that? But how much harder, my dear, when one knows the banishment is undeserved? Have you thought of that? Have you thought how I have felt all these years? Yes. You must let my son come home. With Lucius in Spain, we need him here in Rome. And besides, can't you see now what has been plain to me for so many years? That it was her wickedness that drove him away.
Augusutus:I'll never bring him back. Never! He drove her to it! He was the one that set her on that road. None of this would've have happened but for him! I'll never bring him back! Never! He can stay there and rot!
6 - Good News in the Horoscope
Thrasyllus:Excellency, there's a ship in the harbor.
Tiberius:I know, I've seen it.
Thrasyllus:I believe it comes from Rome. I'm sure it will bring important letters for you. In fact, I thought they might have already arrived before I got here.
Tiberius:No, Thrasyllus, nothing has arrived.
Thrasyllus:What do you see in your horoscope? It must be good news.
Tiberius:I'm not looking at my horoscope, Thrasyllus. I'm looking at yours.
Thrasyllus:At mine? You must be joking. If there's good news on that boat, you'll find it in your horoscope, not in mine.
Tiberius:Mine has been so indecisive lately, I thought I thought it would make more sense if I examined yours.
Thrasyllus:But why? What could that possibly tell you?
Tiberius:Let me put it this way. I decided this morning that if nothing pleasing came off that boat, I would have you thrown down the face of the cliff into the bay.
Thrasyllus:That's very funny. Very funny. What... What exactly does it say? Can you see anything?
Tiberius:Oh, yes, it's very clear. It confirms my worst fears for your safety. Extraordinary how accurate these things are, isn't it. Who would have thought that I could have made a decision about you this morning and seen it clearly reflected in the chart this afternoon?
Thrasyllus:Perhaps... Perhaps you've cast it wrong.
Tiberius:Not as wrong as you've been casting mine.
Thrasyllus:Excellency, there's news coming from that boat. I'm sure of it. Didn't you see the eagle perched on your roof this morning?
Tiberius:There are no eagles in Rhodes.
Thrasyllus:Exactly! Yet why was it there? The whole town was pointing at it. It can mean only one thing, good news.
Tiberius:Alas, but not for you. Sentor.
Thrasyllus:Excellency, let me look at the chart. A man's destiny is not so easily read, believe me.
Tiberius:Yours is. I wrote it myself this morning. Sentor, escort my friend down the cliff path. And take care, I have a terrible feeling he may slip. His stars speak of nothing but disasters.
Sentor:Yes, master. An imperial courier has arrived with dispatches.
Tiberius:Show him out. My friend can wait a while.
Thrasyllus:You see, Excellency, a horoscope, like the heart of a man, is not so easy to read.
Tiberius:Let's see what the dispatches say, shall we? Your prophecies haven't inspired much confidence lately.
Courier:Imperial dispatch from Augustus Caesar for the noble Tiberius Claudius Nero.
Tiberius:Lucius is dead. I am to return to Rome.
Thrasyllus:HaHaHa... Dead?
Tiberius:Dead. HaHaHa...
Courier:Sir, all Rome is drowned in grief.
Tiberius:Well, of course they are. That's only natural. HaHaHa. What happened?
Courier:It was terrible. A boating accident.
Tiberius:A boating accident? HaHaHa. Where?
Courier:In Marseilles. He was on his way to Spain. He and his friend.
Tiberius:His friend?
Courier:Caius Plautius Silvanus. They were travelling together. They were waiting for the boat to take them to Spain. And while they waited, they went out fishing.
Tiberius:Fishing? HaHaHa.
Courier:I don't understand. Why are you laughing?
Tiberius:Well, it's... It's nervous laughter. Umm. Go on with your story. HaHaHa. Well. go on, go on.
Messenger:The boat overturned.
Tiberius:Overturned? HaHaHa.
Courier:Yes. Shall I go on? Plautius behaved like a hero. He swam for two miles holding on to his friend in a desperate effort to save him, but when he got to the shore, his friend was dead and he himself in a state of total exhaustion.
Tiberius:What a terrible thing. Gaius and Lucius within 18 months... and their mother banished in between. You know, that family is beginning to resemble a Greek tragedy. Is your ship returning to Rome?
Courier:Yes, sir. Tomorrow.
Tiberius:We'll join it. You may go now. HaHaHa. Curious the fates are. My exile ended and you predicted it. Brave Thrasyllus. I never lost faith in you.
7 - Turning of the Tides?
Augustus:So, you've come home?
Tiberius:Yes, Caesar. I am here to do whatever you want.
Augustus:Hmmm. Well, let bygones be bygones, eh? Families quarrel. They make it up. That's in the nature of things. My two grandsons are dead. My daughter... People say, "Bring her back". They shout at me in the street. Do you know that? "Wicked!" they say. "Bring her back." But no, no, no, no. She's not my daughter anymore. I've forgotten her. Anyway, we'll talk later. There's a lot to be done. Trouble in Germany. The Parthians are at it again. That king of theirs always stirring up trouble. I've got his son as a hostage. I swore I'd execute him. But he's such a likeable little chap. Anyway, we'll... We'll talk later. Later.
Livia:That likeable little chap he talks about is, in fact, now the king who's causing all the trouble.
Tiberius:His mind is going.
Livia:Yes. But mine isn't. You'll dine with me tonight and we'll talk.
Tiberius:Yes, Mother.
Claudius:Ch-ch-cheer up, Postumus. Come and play nuts. What's the m-m-matter?
Herod:Oh, sir, be cheerful. Caesar has adopted you into his family and made you his heir. That is an honor. It means you'll succeed him.
Postumus:Yes, Herod. But he's adopted my stepfather too... and we both can't succeed him, can we? I'm frightened. I want my mother. I want my brothers. Where are they? Where are they?
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 4
Back To Index
1 - What Shall We Do About Claudius?
Horace:"Thaw follows frost, hard on the heels of spring, treads summer bound to die..."
Narrator Claudius:Myself when young - not a pretty sight.
Horace:"...for hard on hers, comes autumn with his apples scattering. Then back to winter tide again where nothing stirs. But, oh, what're the sky-led seasons mar, Moon upon moon rebuilds it with her beams..."
Narrator Claudius:Postumus, Agrippa's sole surviving son, and my best friend. His mother, Julia was banished you may remember, and his two elder brothers died mysteriously.
Horace:"...Come we where Tullus and where Ancus are, and good Aeneas, we are dust and dreams. Torquatus, if the gods in heaven should add the morrow to the day, ..."
Narrator Claudius:The golden-haired Apollo is Germanicus my brother - already a great soldier.
Horace:"...Feast then thy heart, for what thy heart has had, the fingers of no heir will ever hold. When thou descendent once the shades among, the stern assize..."
Narrator Claudius:And if you wait a moment, you will see a creature of a different kind - Livilla my sister. Yes there she is tormenting Postumus as usual when her husband is away.
Horace:"...and equal judgment o'er, Not thy long lineage nor thy golden tongue, No, nor thy righteousness, shall friend thee more."
Augustus:Oh, beautiful. Beautiful. Horace, my dear fellow, such language. Wonderful. Wonderful. Weren't they lovely poems? Exquisite. Now, that's what I call poetry. Ovid? I mean there's no comparison. It's better than Ovid. I don't care what they say! I've never liked that man. Alright, his poetry's very beautiful, but it's also very smutty. A lot of it's downright indecent. Frankly, I wouldn't have him in the house. Thank you. People say that he has a lovely voice, but I say what does he do with his lovely voice? Talks a lot of smut, that's what he does!
Augustus:Write poetry, yes, but write about nice things - things you'd like your children to hear. Now, I want a copy of the book when you publish.
Horace:But, of course, Caesar.
Augustus:And before you go, I've got a good present for you.
Horace:Oh, but Caesar...
Augustus:Oh, it's nothing. It's a little gold statue I found, Etruscan, I think. It's solid gold, but you'll appreciate it more than anyone.
Horace:You go too...
Augustus:No, no, no. Err, Praxis? Praxis, where are you?
Praxis:Here, Caesar.
Augustus:He knows where it is. Now, wait till you see it, really. Yes, you must come again sometime.
Horace:Any time.
Claudius:[*knocks cup over*]
Livia:I was wondering how long it would take you to knock that over.
Antonia:Claudius, how can you be so clumsy?
Livia:Oh, leave it alone, for heaven's sake. If you want to do the clearing up, we'll find you some work in the kitchens.
Germanicus:Pina, wake up. It's time to go home.
Antonia:It's time we all went home.
Augustus:What? Are you leaving?
Antonia:It's late. It's two hours after dark already.
Augustus:Yes, yes, you're right, and there's a lot of work to do tomorrow. A sleepy head's a foolish one. What a poet that Horace is, eh? Well, Livilla, the whole family was here tonight except your husband. It won't do, you know.
Livilla:What can I do? Castor hates family dinners.
Augustus:Oh, I don't understand that. Tiberius, you must talk to that son of yours.
Tiberius:You talk to him, he doesn't listen to me.
Agrippina:Goodnight, Uncle.
Augustus:Goodnight, my dear.
Augustus:Goodnight Germanicus. Goodnight Pina.
Claudius:G-G-Goodnight, Grandmother.
Livia:That's my foot you're treading on.
Domitia:Are we going?
Antonia:Claudius, do come on.
Augustus:Ah, Postumus, I'll come and see those troops of yours tomorrow. How are they shaping up?
Postumus:Very well. There's some good material there.
Postumus:Goodnight, everyone.
Augustus:Goodnight, Domitia.
Domitia:Goodnight, Grandfather.
Augustus:Ah, goodnight, Livilla. Now, you tell that husband of yours... Oh. You know what to tell him.
Livia:Goodnight, my dear. You looked very lovely tonight.
Livilla:Thank you. Goodnight, Uncle.
Claudius:G-G-Goodnight, Grandfather.
Augustus:What? Oh, yes goodnight, Claudius. Ah, what a wonderful evening. They're such good children. I think they liked their little presents, eh?
Livia:What are we going to do about Claudius?
Augustus:Claudius what? What? In the matter of what?
Livia:In the matter of the games to be held in his father's honor.
Augustus:Oh, I don't know. I mean, must we think about it now?
Livia:Well, how much longer can we leave it? Is he to sit in your box at the games or is he not?
Augustus:Well, it might look a little odd if he doesn't.
Livia:It might look odder if he does. Do you want to sit next to a twitching idiot all day?
Augustus:Oh, let's think about it tomorrow, eh? Goodnight, my dear. Now don't you worry about Claudius. I'll have him to dinner a few times and I'll see how he gets on. If we could just stop that twitching.
2 - Bad News
Praxis:Caesar! Caesar, forgive me, but a courier has just arrived from Germany.
Augustus:Are you mad? Do you expect me to read dispatches this time of night?
Praxis:But it's urgent, Caesar, Urgent! There's been a terrible disaster.
Augustus:Send him in...
Praxis:Come in, come in.
Augustus:Is this the way you present yourself? Couldn't you have taken a bath first?
Courier:Forgive me, Caesar. I've ridden for four days, I would not have presumed...
Augustus:Which legion are you with?
Courier:I was with the 19th.
Augustus:Was? Have you been transferred?
Courier:No, Caesar. The 19th legion does not exist anymore. Nor does the 17th, nor the 18th. The whole army of Quinctilius Varus was massacred in the Teutoberg Forest. Nothing stands between the German tribes and our provinces in Gaul.
Augustus:What are you saying to me?
Courier:There is no army in Across-the-Rhine Germany. Troops and orderlies... auxiliaries and general staff... massacred to a man. Those who survived the battle were hunted down, killed.
Tiberius:Where is Varus?
Courier:Dead. When he saw that all was lost, he killed himself.
Augustus:Three legions?
Courier:Three legions, Caesar. There's nothing left.
Augustus:Send for Germanicus and Postumus. Hurry!
Augustus:Come with me to the study. Come with us!
Courier:They caught us here and here. We were on a punitive expedition because we had news that a tax collector and his staff had all been murdered.
Augustus:He sent three legions on a punitive expedition?
Courier:Not at first, Caesar, no. But we'd suffered some early defeats and raids, so he sent back for the rest of the army.
Tiberius:What happened to the loyal Germans?
Courier:They betrayed us, sir. They led us into the forest and vanished.
Augustus:But weren't you warned?
Courier:Many times, Caesar.
Augustus:Go on!
Courier:We'd... We'd had a mass of intelligence warning us that things were happening in the villages.
Augustus:Go on.
Courier:The ummm... The commander ignored it, sir.
Augustus:Oh, that stiff-knecked fool! I should never have appointed him! Oh, go on, go on.
Courier:We were advancing along a forest track. We didn't even put out advance guards or flank guards. Our progress was slow because we were constantly felling trees and this gave the tribes time to gather. Then it started to rain. The archers couldn't keep their bows dry and their shields became soaked and too heavy to carry. And our carts got stuck in the mud. When the Germans attacked, we were in a hopeless position.
Germanicus:What's happened?
Tiberius:The army east of the Rhine has been destroyed. All of it. Nothing stands between the Germans and our provinces in Gaul.
Germanicus:How did you get out?
Courier:Only one officer kept his head - Cassius Chaerea. He formed up about 120 of us and we cut our way out and back to the fort. The others are still there.
Germanicus:All right. Did the Germans take any prisoners?
Courier:Yes. They put them in wicker cages and burned them alive.
Praxis:Lady, I can't find Postumus Agrippa. He's not in his room.
Livia:Well Praxis, did it occur to you he may have visited his wife's room?
Praxis:Naturally I tried there. But he wasn't there either. I then spoke to one of the palace guards, who said he'd seen him earlier walking along the corridor towards your grand-daughter's apartments.
Praxis:Yes. Naturally, I didn't enquire further because...
Livia:Because her husband has not yet returned.
Tiberius:With the men Postumus has been training on Mars field, it brings the number up to about a legion.
Germanicus:It will do. It all depends then on whether the Germans have seized the Rhine bridges.
Augustus:They won't have taken them. They're barbarians. They'll go for plunder and end up fighting each other.
Germanicus:Then we'll have to secure the bridges. Fast!
Tiberius:Well, I'll take a company and start tomorrow.
Germanicus:I can raise the rest and bring them on.
Augustus:No. Germanicus stays here. When news breaks tomorrow, there'll be panic here. I'll need him to deal with it.
3 - Not the Fool
Livy:Well, it was here. It was years ago, but I saw it.
Pollio:Then it's been stolen probably. Ah, here is someone.
Livy:There's a book we want to look at. It's by a Greek called Polemocles. And it's a commentary on Polybius' Military Tactics. It's not in the catalog but it was here.
Librarian:I'll see if I can find it.
Livy:Why, it's young Claudius, isn't it?
Claudius:Yes, it is, sir.
Livy:You seem very studious. What are you reading?
Pollio:Romantic rubbish, I'll be bound. That's all the young use this library for. What is it that you're reading?
Claudius:It's your own History of the C-C-Civil Wars.
Livy:It's rubbish, all right.
Pollio:So you know who I am?
Claudius:Oh, yes, sir. Asinius P-P-Pollio. One of our g-greatest historians.
Pollio:One of them? What do you mean, one of them?
Claudius:One of the t-two greatest.
Pollio:And who is the other one?
Claudius:L-L-Livy, of course.
Pollio:Well, there can't be two greatest. That's just shilly-shallying, apart from being an abuse of the Roman tongue. So, you will have to choose. Which one of us would you rather read?
Livy:Oh come Pollio, that's not fair.
Pollio:Nonsense. The lad's obviously intelligent. So, speak up, boy. Which of us would you rather read?
Claudius:Well, it d-d-depends, sir.
Pollio:Ah, intelligent, but cowardly.
Claudius:No. I mean, it depends on what I'm reading for. For b-beauty of language I would read L-Livy, and for interpretation of fact I would read P-P-Pollio.
Livy:Now you please neither of us and that's always a mistake!
Claudius:I wasn't t-trying to please, just to tell the truth.
Pollio:He might make an historian after all.
Librarian:The book isn't here. Perhaps you read it in the Octavian library?
Livy:I'm not so old young man that I don't know what library I'm in when I'm in it!
Claudius:Umm. umm. Excuse me. Um, um, the book you want, it's on the t-t-top shelf, fourth from the window right at the back. I had it out the other day. Only the t-t-title is Dissertation on Tactics and it's by P-P-Polemocrates, not Polemocles, and he was a J-J-Jew, not a Greek.
Livy:You'd better be right, boy. For I don't take kindly to that many corrections in one day!
Claudius:Have I upset him?
Pollio:Yes. It'll do him good. Do you like history?
Claudius:Yes, sir.
Pollio:But who the devil are you? Livy called you Claudius.
Claudius:I'm T-T-Tiberius Claudius D-Drusus Nero Germanicus.
Pollio:Oh, that Claudius! They told me you were a half-wit.
Claudius:Well, my f-family's ashamed of me because I s-s-stammer, and I'm lame and my head twitches.
Pollio:Yes, I've noticed that. Can't you stop it?
Claudius:No. The doctors said I might g-g-grow out of it.
Pollio:Why were you reading my History of the Civil Wars?
Claudius:Oh, I'm gathering material for a life of my f-f-father and g-g-grandfather.
Pollio:Oh, I remember them.
Claudius:They both believed in the Republic.
Pollio:I know they did. That's why they died.
Claudius:I beg your pardon?
Pollio:I mean, that's why they were poisoned.
Pollio:Sh! Not so loud. Look, I won't mention any names, but I'll tell you this. You say you're writing a life of your father? They won't let you finish it.
Claudius:Who won't?
Pollio:Never mind. Look here, Claudius, I'll give you some good advice. Do you want to live a long and useful life?
Pollio:In that case, exaggerate your stutter and your limp. Let your wits wander and play the fool as much as you like. Do you understand me? It's a pleasure to talk to you, my boy. I must find Livy.
Augustus:Taste that.
Augustus:You know, there's nothing quite like a piece of food picked fresh from a tree, or a field or a stalk.
Postumus:It's very nice, but you didn't ask me here to taste the figs.
Augustus:Did you ever think how fortunate we are? I mean, that we weren't born in a wattle hut on the banks of the Rhine, or in a grubby little tent in Syria. Did you ever think what Rome means? Do you understand the effort that has gone into making this little place master of the world? Do you understand the work and dedication needed to maintain it?
Postumus:Are you displeased with me, Grandfather?
Augustus:Sit down. Listen, Postumus. We can't afford to sleep, you know. Other people, they think only of their bread and their circuses, but us, now, we have to provide them. I hear nothing but complaints about you.
Postumus:What sort of complaints?
Augustus:Well, all sorts. I mean, you threw a palace guard into the fountain the other day.
Postumus:He was laughing at Claudius.
Augustus:Well, everyone laughs at Claudius. What are you going to do, throw them all in the fountain? And then people say that you're rude and bad-tempered.
Postumus:Who says?
Augustus:Well, Livia for instance. I mean she complains about you all the time.
Postumus:What does she say about me?
Augustus:Well, she says, for example, and I've heard it from others, that you're a bit of a rake. Is it true? You know, the night that the courier brought news from Germany, I sent for you. Yes. You weren't in your room. Your wife complains that you don't sleep with her enough.
Postumus:I never wanted that marriage.
Augustus:Yes but you could sleep with her, couldn't you? She's made the same as any other woman. It's for us to set an example. Now, without proper family life, where will we find people to carry on?
Postumus:Why has my inheritance from my father been withheld?
Augustus:Oh, that's what's bothering you. You'll get it when I think you're mature enough to use it.
Postumus:Do I have to sit an examination?
Augustus:Now, don't be cheeky with me. Now, you listen. Your father was my greatest friend. If anything had happened to me, he would have taken over here. And that's what I look for in his sons. Now, both your brothers are dead and you're all I've left of him. And it's my intention that you should follow me.
Postumus:My step-father may not agree with you.
Augustus:Oh, you let me worry about Tiberius.
Postumus:You made him your adopted son as well me, what am I to think?
Augustus:I did it out of respect for his mother. I mean, she deserved it. She's an amazing woman. But Tiberius, that's something else, we just don't get on. I've never liked him. And anyway, he's not right to succeed me, whatever Livia thinks. Now, I say "succeed", but we are not kings. We have no divine right to rule. Still, after all my years of service to the state, I think the Senate will accept my recommendation. But you must earn it, you understand. You must give me confidence in you.
Livilla:Grandmother? You sent for me. How are you? Grandmother?
Livia:Why do you deceive your husband every time he's away?
Livilla:Deceive? I don't understand.
Livia:Why do you allow Postumus Agrippa into your room at night?
Livilla:But I don't! Who said such a thing?
Livia:Come here. You're not going to lie to me, are you? You're not going to treat me like a fool? Do you think that I who know everything that happens in Rome wouldn't know what happens under my own roof? I've had you watched, child, and Postumus Agrippa... as I had his mother watched - your Aunt Julia. Do you remember her? She was sent to an island called Pandataria. It's a few minutes' walk from end to end. Well, I shouldn't think she walks it much anymore. She's been on it for seven years.
Livilla:Oh, God! I didn't mean it. I didn't mean it! I won't ever do it again. Don't send me away. Please. Please. I won't ever see him again, I swear it. [*sobs*]
Livia:You were always a naughty little girl, you know that, don't you? Your mother never punished you enough.
Livilla:You won't tell Augustus, will you? He'll send me away if you do and I couldn't bear it!
Livia:Well, perhaps that won't be necessary. Oh, come on, dry your tears, come on. There. That's better. Such a beautiful girl. I was beautiful too once, you know?
Livilla:They say you were the most beautiful woman in the world.
Livia:There was one other, but she was in Egypt. And, besides, she didn't last as long as I did. Now, about Postumus Agrippa. You're not in love with him, are you?
Livia:He pestered you, I suppose, and you gave in. Oh, what frail creatures we women are.
Livilla:He always wanted me.
Livia:Yes, and you always enjoyed teasing him, didn't you? Oh yes, you did, I've seen it.
Livilla:I swear to you I won't do it again.
Livia:Yes, well, let's not be in too much of a hurry to swear anything, shall we? My dear, I must talk to you like a grown woman now. Can I talk to you? Can I open my heart to you?
Livilla:Oh, yes, Grandmother, yes.
Livia:Many years ago, you know, before you were born, we all went through the terrible agony of civil war. Rome tottered and shook and nearly fell. I'm afraid that may happen again.
Livilla:And will it?
Livia:I'm sure of one thing. Only a single hand at the helm will keep this ship on course. Now, the question is, whose hand will it be? If there is any doubt, the rivalry will plunge us into civil war again.
Livilla:Is there a doubt, then?
Livia:Not in my mind. But there is in someone else's.
Livia:Yes. And it's my duty to remove that doubt. Through everything I've ever done, that has been my only object. And now it must become yours.
Livilla:How, Grandmother?
Livia:You want your husband to become Emperor of Rome?
Livia:Then his father must become Emperor before him. Tiberius must succeed Augustus, if Castor is to succeed Tiberius. Only then will the line become established. It'll seem easier to accept it than reject it.
Livilla:And Postumus?
Livia:Bravo, my dear, you've put your finger on it. Yes. Postumus. As always, we come back to Postumus.
4 - Making a Decision
Augustus:Nothing! That's what it amounts to, he's done nothing! He holds bridges, but he doesn't cross them. Oh, he's playing some game of his own, that's what he's doing!
Augustus:Oh, come in! ... What's that son of your playing at? Six months he's been out there, and all he's got are the bridges over the Rhine! He just sits on his ass all day!
Livia:What does he say?
Augustus:Oh, what does he say? He says nothing, that's what he says. Or that's what it amounts to. Those damned barbarians have got my eagles! Quinctilius Varus, where are my eagles?
Livia:Leave. [*servants exit*]
Livia:He is cautious, naturally.
Augustus:Damn his caution. I sent him out there to get my eagles back, not to sit on the banks of the Rhine for six months!
Livia:He has an army of raw recruits. Would you have him risk another ambush?
Augustus:Well, if he doesn't risk something he may as well have stayed here! Look, he's playing some game of his own, that's what he's doing.
Livia:That's a very childish thing to say!
Augustus:Is it? Then, why doesn't he send my eagles back?
Livia:He'll move when he judges the army ready to move.
Augustus:He'll move now! And I'll send Postumus Agrippa with an army to make sure!
Livia:I think that wouldn't be wise.
Augustus:I make the military decisions, not you!
Livia:There's no need to lose your temper. I wouldn't dream of advising you on such matters. I'm sure my son would welcome reinforcements. I question only the wisdom of sending Postumus.
Livia:He's unproved and untried.
Augustus:Oh, you always say that!
Livia:Well, if I always say that, it's because it's always true.
Augustus:He's the obvious person to send. He's been training recruits on Mars field for months.
Livia:Training recruits and leading men into battle are not the same thing.
Augustus:Oh! How will he ever learn if he never does anything? His brother was Governor of Syria at 19.
Livia:Gaius was different. You had confidence in him and so did the Senate. Gaius was reliable. He was a statesman. We all loved him.
Augustus:Yes, but Postumus...
Livia:Postumus is totally unpredictable. Besides, if you send Postumus, Tiberius will naturally regard it as a criticism.
Augustus:Good! That's what it's meant to be. I'm not sending him a new army to inquire after his health!
Livia:But there's a history of mistrust and antagonism between Postumus and Tiberius. I mean if Postumus arrives, Tiberius will regard him as more of a spy than a support. He'll think you don't trust him.
Augustus:That's ridiculous!
Livia:Well, haven't you already said you think he's playing some game of his own? If you want to avoid friction between the commanders, then I suggest you send Germanicus.
Augustus:All right, I'll send Germanicus! But I want my damned eagles back!
Augustus:What's this?
Livia:It's a biography, if you please. Well, it's the beginning of one, anyway.
Augustus:A biography of whom?
Livia:By whom is more to the point. It's by my idiot grandson Claudius. Antonia found it in his study and brought it to me.
Augustus:You don't expect me to read it, do you?
Livia:No. I'm going to have it destroyed. It's subversive. I told him on no account is he to continue with it.
Augustus:How is it subversive?
Livia:He praises his father's only fault - his attachment to the Republic.
Augustus:He's harmless enough. You don't want me to punish him, do you?
Livia:No. But I do want a decision on whether or not he is to sit in your box at the Games.
Augustus:The Games are in honor of his father. If we send Germanicus off to the Rhine, neither of his sons will be in the box. I think he should be there, but at the back. Incidentally, I hope you don't think I'm going to pay for these games. I've had a very expensive year.
Livia:If you feel like that about the Games, we needn't have them at all.
Augustus:I don't feel like that about the Games. I just feel like that about paying for them!
Livia:Nobody's asking you to pay for them!
Augustus:Yes, well, as long as that's understood.
Livia:Well, was it ever in doubt? Antonia and I will pay for the Games, and Germanicus and Claudius.
Augustus:Claudius? That's even more reason why he should be in the box. It'll be a very expensive seat by the time it's finished. Oh, while we're on the subject of Claudius. Now, when is he going to get married?
Livia:He'll be married at the end of the year.
Augustus:Oh, you said that last year.
Livia:Yes, but he seemed to get worse last year so I put it off.
Augustus:Are you sure this girl marry him?
Livia:What's it got to do with her? They were betrothed six years ago, and that's that.
Augustus:Well, to be honest with you, I feel sorry for her. What's she like?
Livia:I don't know. I haven't seen her since she was 13.
Augustus:Well, does she know what she's getting?
Livia:Do any of us? Look, you've left these matters to me for the last 30 years. Are you going to start interfering in them now?
Augustus:I was asking a question, that's all. Can't I ask a question anymore? What's a matter with you today? Why are you so bad tempered?
Livia:It's you that's bad tempered! Your temper gets worse by the day. Everybody notices it! I think you could do with a rest! A long one!
Augustus:Quinctilius Varus, where are my eagles?
5 - Family Embarrassment
Antonia:Claudius, not there! Those are the Imperial seats. Sit behind. Here, with Herod... Your nose is running.
Herod:Just look at them all. They can't wait to see the blood start flowing.
Claudius:I've n-n-never seen a swordfight before. I wish Ger-Germanicus was here.
Herod:Look at them! Stuffing themselves with cakes while down below their fellow men are preparing to die for their enjoyment.
Claudius:Oh, Herod! I hope you're not going to s-s-spoil it all.
Herod:My dear Claudius, I'm fascinated. I never cease to wonder at these spectacles.
Claudius:Its origin is r-r-religious. It's a r-r-religious r-r-rite... r-r-really. It's an honor. We render the spirits of the dead.
Herod:By rendering more people dead? How noble!
Claudius:Oh, shut up, Herod. You're a J-Jew. You don't understand these things. Besides, Mother will hear you and you'll make her cross.
Livia:I've a few words to say to you before these games begin. Well, gather round. Now, these games are being held in honor of my son, Drusus Nero, who was worth the whole lot of you put together. It's my intention that these games shall be remembered long after you're all dead and forgotten even by your nearest and dearest. You're all scum and you know it, but you've a chance here - some of you - to prove that you're a bit more than that. And for those whom death doesn't liberate, there'll be plenty of freedoms handed out afterwards - to say nothing of gold plate and coin. But... I want a good show. I want my money's worth! I don't want any kiss-in-the-ring stuff. And I don't want my family watching two grown men pussyfooting around each other for half an hour before one of them aims a real blow. There's been too much of that in the past. And, don't think you can fool me either because I know every trick in the book, including the pig's blood in the bladder to make it look as if one of you is dead. There's been too much of that too lately. These games are being degraded by the increasing use of professional tricks to stay alive, and I won't have it. So put on a good show and there'll be plenty of money for the living and a decent burial for the dead. And, if not, I'll break this guild up and I'll send the lot of you to the mines in Numidia. That's all I've got to say to you.
Claudius:[falls over in chair] Oh...
Livia:Get him up. This is not a comedy theatre.
Augustus:That happened to me once. Do you remember, Livia?
Livia:No, I don't.
Augustus:It did, you know. Which games was it at?
Livia:I don't remember.
Augustus:Or was it at the races?
Livia:The gladiators are saluting you.
Augustus:Eh? Oh.
Claudius:[watching swordfight] Ow.
Herod:Calm down, for heaven's sake.
Claudius:I'm t-trying.
Herod:It's one of them's about to die and they look more relaxed than you do.
Livia:Drusus would have loved this.
Antonia:Yes. I was thinking of him.
Livia:I'm sure he's watching, my dear.
Antonia:Poor Drusus.
Livia:I'm sure the fat one's going to win.
Augustus:How about a little bet, Herod, eh? I'll take the fat man for 20 gold pieces.
Herod:Caesar it would be against my religion to bet on the life of a man.
Augustus:Oh, really? I would've thought it was against your religion to bet on anything.
Herod:Caesar, it's true. The Jews love gambling, but they fear their god more.
Augustus:Which one?
Herod:We have only one, Caesar.
Augustus:I've never understood that. It's quite insufficient. You could have some of ours, you know. Lots of people do.
Herod:Haha. Believe me, Caesar, the one we have is hard enough to live with! [*crowd roars*] But on second thoughts, I'll take the bet.
Augustus:Good man!
Livilla:Finish him! Finish him!
Claudius:[passes out]
Herod:It's all right. I'll see him home.
6 - Framed
Postumus:Where's your husband?
Livilla:Gone out on one of his usual jaunts.
Postumus:Oh, Livilla. It was all I could do to stop touching you at the Games today. I nearly went mad.
Livilla:Oh, my poor darling.
Postumus:Oh! Ow!
Livilla:Murder! Murder! Stop it!
Livilla:Help me! Don't! Stop it! Help me! No, please! No! No! No! Help! Help! He tried to rape me! Keep him away!
Postumus:You bitch! You filthy bitch!
Augustus:What are you? Some kind of animal?
Postumus:It's a lie. Can't you see? The whole thing's a lie.
Augustus:Beast, look at her. She's terrified!
Postumus:She invited me into her room.
Livilla:I didn't! He climbed up on my balcony and attacked me!
Augustus:What, you expect me to believe she'd invite you to her room with her husband a few doors away?
Postumus:She told me he'd be out.
Castor:You filthy pig!
Augustus:Stop it! Now, stop it! Wait outside. I suppose you'll tell me that this isn't your dagger?
Postumus:Yes, it's mine, but she could have got it anytime. She and Castor dine with us often enough.
Augustus:What do you take me for? Do you expect me to believe that she tricked you into coming to her room so that she could falsely accuse you of rape? Well, for what reason? Well, tell me!
Postumus:[looks at Livia] Ask her. Perhaps she knows.
Augustus:I'm asking you!
Livia:He'll incriminate us all before he's done.
Postumus:She hates me and you're so blind you can't see it.
Augustus:Hates you? What do you mean, hates you?
Postumus:She hates me as she hated my brothers and my mother. She hates anyone who might come between you and her precious son!
Augustus:What is going on here? What is he saying?
Postumus:Oh, Grandfather, open your eyes! Throw off the blinkers! For years, everyone around you has either died or disappeared. Do you think it was all an accident? My father Agrippa and before him, Marcellus. My brothers Gaius and Lucius, my mother Julia and now me! Well, can't you see? She's clearing a path for herself! And that other son of hers, Drusus, whose revered memory she honors in those games of hers - ask her how he died! There was nothing wrong with him till she sent her personal physician to treat him!
Augustus:Marcellus? Agrippa? What is he saying? What is he, some kind of raving lunatic? What does he think, that they were all murdered? Are you insane? Or is just that you want me to think you are? Yes! You're very clever. You think that by pretending insanity that I'll be lenient with you. Yes, you think a show of madness will move me and I'll put you away somewhere in the care of a doctor. You're disgusting! You know something, I'd rather clear vomit off the street than talk to you.
Postumus:It's incredible, isn't it? It's too horrific even to think about it. I have to be mad even to mention it. What a joke! What a pathetic joke! Well, can't you see it's not me that's mad, it's her! Look at her, she's a madwoman! She'll destroy us all before she's finished, you included!
Augustus:I could kill you now. Spill your guts onto the floor and give you no more thought than I would a dog killed on the road. But that'd be too good for you. You're going to suffer, like your mother suffers. Living out your life on a rock somewhere in the middle of the sea with nothing but birds for company. And it won't be on any that you'll find on a map because they're all too big for you. But I'll find one, don't you fear, just your size. In ten minutes you'll know every stone and blade of grass. And you'll stay there till you rot. Guard! Take him out, and keep him under arrest! ... Are you all right?
Livilla:I feel unclean.
Augustus:Well, my dear, it's not you that's unclean, it's him. Tomorrow, you and I will go the temple and make a sacrifice together. You'll feel better. [shouting outside] Go on!
Postumus:Sh! They're searching for me in the grounds. They'll find me soon. I haven't much time.
Postumus:Just listen.
Castor:He slipped the guards. They're searching the palace for him.
Augustus:He won't get far. If he runs to the ends of the earth, he'll find a Roman or a friend of Rome ready to give him up. Oh, take your wife to bed! And, Castor, be nice to her. Get in beside her. That's your place. If you'd been there more often instead of carousing around town, none of this might have happened! Oh...
7 - Keep Playing the Fool
Claudius:And you really think my grandmother put Livilla up to it?
Postumus:I'm certain of it. I'll go now. If Livia knows I've been here, your life won't be worth much. But I wanted you to know. I wanted you, above all, to know the truth, and I want Germanicus to know when he returns.
Claudius:I'll tell him. But, listen, stay alive. Don't give them any excuse to k-k-kill you.
Postumus:I'm sorry I won't be at your wedding.
Claudius:Oh, don't worry. It'll be a very small affair. I embarrass them all far too much.
Postumus:Good. Go on embarrassing them. Go on playing the idiot. It's safer that way.
Claudius:You know, somebody else said that to me a while ago. Asinius P-Pollio.
Postumus:Then we're not the only ones who know what's going on here. Goodbye, old friend. [shouting outside]
Livia:[crowd laughs] She grew! She just kept on growing!
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 5
Back To Index
1 - Poison Is Queen
Claudius:Come. Ah, where did you find this one?
Meno:Under a pile of old rubbish in the cellar. I doubt we'll find any more.
Claudius:Ah, that's what you said the l-l-last time we found something. It's incredible - the way people just dump things. You see, it should all be lettered and filed and well, numbered.
Meno:Would you like me to tidy up some of this mess, Caesar?
Claudius:Well, well, no, no! The last time you tidied up I couldn't f-find anything anymore. What is this? "The Last Will and Testament of Augustus Caesar". Augustus' will!
[senate]:[trumpeters and cheering]
Germanicus:Hail. Caesar! The Legions of Rome salute you on their return from the Rhine.
Augustus:In triumph?
Germanicus:In triumph, Caesar! The German tribes are put down. They have sued for peace. Our punishments have been fierce and we have brought back many captives to Rome. The province is peaceful once more and her tribute flows again. Your legions await your further orders. Hail. Caesar!
[senate]:[all cheer]
2 - The Truth Be Told
Germanicus:You'll hurt your eyes reading in this light.
Claudius:It was so hot in my r-room.
Germanicus:Am I disturbing you?
Claudius:No. It's a v-v-very boring book. Where's Mother?
Germanicus:Oh, she and Pina are talking. About children and about what it's like to be a soldier's wife.
Claudius:Oh, she's wonderful, Pina, the way she goes everywhere with you. You're very lucky, you know.
Germanicus:And you, how do you like being a married man? And a father. What do you think of your little boy?
Claudius:I don't like him very much. I think he's horrid.
Germanicus:Oh, Claudius!
Claudius:What do you think of my wife? She's taller than me.
Germanicus:I know. She's taller than me. Haha.
Claudius:Haha. No, it's not funny. Hahaha. How could anybody grow that tall?
Germanicus:Some people just never know when to stop. Do you sleep together?
Claudius:Now and then. I must admit, it's a bit of an ordeal.
Germanicus:Her face is not unpleasant.
Claudius:Well, I rarely see her face. I never get up that far!
Germanicus:Oh, Claudius! Dear brother. It is good to see you again.
Claudius:I wish I could have come with you. What was it like?
Germanicus:The scene in the Teutoberg forest was terrible when we came on it. No one had been buried. Bodies strewn over acres of land, horribly mutilated, most of them.
Claudius:They're a savage lot, those Germans.
Germanicus:But we avenged them. They'll be quiet for a long time to come. Now, tell me about Postumus. You hinted at things in your letters but you didn't say much.
Claudius:I was afraid to say too much. Letters get intercepted and read by certain parties.
Germanicus:Oh, come, you see plots everywhere. Who would dare to open your mail?
Claudius:Grandmother. She opens everybody's.
Claudius:Sh! How else do you think she knows everything that's going on?
Germanicus:Does Augustus know that she opens everybody's letters?
Claudius:I don't know what Augustus knows, but she knows everything. Postumus thinks...
Germanicus:Thinks what?
Claudius:That night he was arrested, he broke away from his guards and came to see me in my room. He wasn't trying to escape, but he wanted me to know the truth so I could tell it to you.
Germanicus:What did he tell you?
Claudius:That he didn't force Livilla. She invited him into her room - as she'd often done before when Castor was out gambling or... Anyway, when he got there, she started to scream. The guards rushed in and she accused him of trying to r-rape her.
Germanicus:Did you believe him?
Claudius:Yes. I'd believe Postumus before I'd believe Livilla.
Germanicus:Oh, but Claudius, it's an age-old excuse that men have often used when accused of the same thing. "She led me on. She wanted me to do it."
Claudius:It's true. I've thought of that too. One does, even about one's friends. But I believed him.
Germanicus:But why would she do such a thing? What reason would she have?
Claudius:I asked him the same thing. He said... L-Livia had put her up to it.
Germanicus:Ah, our grandmother again. Between reading so many letters and arranging so many rapes, when does she ever sleep?
Claudius:If you're in the mood to listen, I'll tell you what Postumus thinks of her. And what he thinks will stand the hairs up on your head. He believes that over the years she has systematically destroyed his mother, his two brothers and possibly his father, Agrippa. He believes she poisoned Julia's first husband Marcellus, and had a hand in our father's death when he saw what she was doing. He believes that she poisoned our grandfather, and he believes that she will stop at nothing to ensure Tiberius follows Augustus. He believes she's mad. And I said all that w-w-without stuttering. Well, nearly.
Germanicus:Claudius, have you mentioned this to Augustus?
Claudius:No! He takes me for a big enough fool already. It must come from you or no one.
Germanicus:All right. I'm listening.
Claudius:Not here.
Augustus:[cheery whistling]
Livia:If you prune any more of that, there'll be nothing left.
Augustus:What are you now, an expert on gardening? Is that something else you've become lately?
Livia:I'm only telling you. The gardeners all complained you spoiled them last year.
Augustus:Hmm. And whose garden is this?
Livia:You're not the only one that uses it.
Augustus:Incredible! Everyone's an expert suddenly. How long have we been married?
Livia:Don't you remember?
Augustus:50 years. In all that time, you've never known been able to tell one plant from another and suddenly you know all there is to know about pruning. Wonderful!
Livia:I think your brain's going soft, you know that? Nobody can talk to you anymore.
Augustus:Anyone can talk to me.
Livia:No, they can't.
Augustus:Anyone can talk to me any time - except you. You don't talk to people. You bully them.
Livia:This conversation's becoming ridiculous.
Augustus:Wrong. This conversation was ridiculous from the start.
Livia:Your melon's here.
Livia:Is it true you're going to Corsica?
Augustus:Very soon.
Livia:You never told me.
Livia:I don't know what's come over you. You seem to tell me nothing.
Augustus:Haha. Well, you get to know everything anyway.
Livia:Why are you going to Corsica?
Augustus:Because the Corsicans asked me to go.
Livia:What for?
Augustus:In a matter of piracy. They've been complaining for years. They're losing business.
Livia:Couldn't you have asked one of the Consuls to go?
Augustus:Why should I?
Livia:I know how you hate travelling by sea.
Augustus:No. No, it doesn't bother me.
Livia:Will you be stopping off anywhere on the way?
Augustus:Such as where?
Livia:I don't know! You'll be passing the island of your grandson's banishment.
Augustus:Which one is that?
Livia:Planasia. Had you forgotten?
Augustus:I hadn't thought about it. Why should I stop off there?
Livia:Well, I thought you might take this opportunity of inspecting it.
Augustus:Have you tried this melon? They're from southern Spain. Try one.
Livia:I don't want any!
Augustus:You don't eat enough fruit. If you ate more fruit you wouldn't get so many wrinkles.
Livia:Would you like me to come with you?
Augustus:What for?
Livia:It's an arduous journey to make at your age, on your own. You might fall ill and die.
Augustus:Oh, the sea air will do me good. Besides, Germanicus is traveling with me part of the way. I'm sending him to France. What a pillar and support that boy's become.
Livia:I see.
Augustus:That's settled, then?
Augustus:[whistles cheerfully]
Livia:Double dealing, are we?
Livia:Pining after Postumus?
Livilla:No, grandmother, no!
Livia:Then how does he know and what does he know? He knows something. Somebody's talked to him.
Livilla:It wasn't me, I swear it! Why should I?
Livia:Because you're tired of that lump of a husband of yours and you'd like to see Postumus Agrippa back in favor.
Livilla:But how could I? He'd never forgive me anyway!
Livia:Come on, you're cleverer than that. You'd tell him I forced you into it and you'd beg his forgiveness and shed a few tears. I never met a man who could resist that.
Livilla:If he knows something, it wasn't from me. I swear it. I swear it!
Livia:All right. I believe you. Someone else, then.
Livilla:Castor knows. He guessed. I never told him.
Livia:Oh, yes, Castor knows. That's why you got your black eye, wasn't it? It didn't pass unnoticed, my dear. But if Castor knows, he'd keep it to himself. He's got nothing to gain there. No, it's someone else.
Livilla:My brother?
Livia:Germanicus wasn't even here.
Livilla:No, I meant Claudius.
Livia:That fool? His brains are addled. He sees nothing and he hears nothing. No. Well, perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps we should just wait and see.
3 - Making Amends
Postumus:Well, well, well.. What have we here? Tourists? Have you come to see the beast in his cage? Is the rock bare enough for you, Father? Does it conform to your notions of smallness, or have you found a smaller one still?
Augustus:How thin you look. How pale.
Postumus:What did you expect? A fat, jolly man full of laughs and jokes? You must forgive me, Father. It's been four years since I saw a living soul apart from the guards. I wasn't prepared for visitors.
Augustus:This is Quintus Fabius Maximus, an old friend.
Postumus:I envy you, Quintus Fabius Maximus.
Fabius:Envy me what?
Postumus:Why, that you're an old friend of my father's. You're better off than being his adopted son.
Augustus:Leave us. They never told me it'd be like this.
Postumus:I don't expect you ever asked! You've a wonderful knack for not finding out what you don't want to know!
Augustus:Don't, don't, don't say that.
Postumus:Well, what did you come for then? A tour around the island? That would take you precisely ten minutes, as you once prophesied it would take me!
Augustus:Well, then wound me if you must. I deserve it. You have a knife in your hand. I wouldn't blame you if you used it!
Postumus:Oh, it's tears now, is it? I never knew a man cry as easily as you do.
Augustus:Yes, tears come easily to me. I don't deny it.
Postumus:You're wonderful. Wonderful! What's my role now? To feel sorry for you? To cry for you?
Augustus:Mistakes have been made...
Postumus:Mistakes! Is that what you call them? You've made mistakes and you think a few tears will put them right? Well, bravo, congratulations! You still have tears to shed. Well, how many tears do you think you'd have left if you'd sat on this rock, day after day, for four solid years pouring them into the sea?
Augustus:Oh, Postumus...
Postumus:How many? My god, you've come to the wrong place, Father, to show us you've got tears. Even the stones weep here. Now you've heard something, is that it? It's given you pause. It's made you think, perhaps you were wrong, too hasty? Is that why you're here, to tell me it was a mistake? Well, damn you, I don't want to hear it! Leave me alone! Go away and die but leave me alone!
Postumus:What have you done to me? Four years! What have you done with my life?
Augustus:Don't. Please don't...
Postumus:When those guards came in, I thought, "This is it. This is the end that he's planned for me. This is what I've waited four years for. He's sent them now to finish me off."
Augustus:How could you? How could you think such a thing?
Postumus:What else could I think? To die, that's nothing. I'd have given my life for you, for Rome, a thousand times over. But to die like a dog...
Augustus:What can I say? What can I say? A day hasn't passed when I haven't thought of you.
Postumus:And I of you. But not fondly, Father, not fondly.
Augustus:I know, I know, I know. What could I do? There are such liars in the world, such cheats! And nowhere more, it seems, than among my own. I've had to live this long to find that out.
Postumus:They've made a fool of you.
Augustus:There are places where they've made a god out of me, but my own family have made me a fool. And Livia, it seems, more than anyone.
Postumus:She lied to you.
Postumus:How did you find out?
Augustus:Germanicus told me.
Postumus:He wasn't there when it happened.
Augustus:No, no, no. Claudius told him, apparently. What do you make of him, eh? He's a curious chap. I mean, he's a bit of a fool, isn't he?
Postumus:Aren't we all?
Augustus:I've been wrong about a lot of things. Well, I'm here to make amends. And to tell you it won't be long before you're back in Rome.
Postumus:Can't I return with you now?
Augustus:No, no, no. The Senate passed a decree making your banishment permanent. I must get that decree reversed. That will take a bit of time. The moment I set that in motion, it'll cause a few hearts to flutter, believe me, and a few minds to get busy. I want to wait until Tiberius is out of Rome.
Postumus:I'd worry more about Livia if I were you.
Augustus:When you've lived so long with a woman... when she's been more than a wife to you. It's been like having another right arm. It's hard to believe such things.
Postumus:Believe them, Father.
Augustus:I do. I do.
4 - False Pretenses
Livia:Come in.
Praxis:Lady, the chief Vestal, Camilla Pulchra.
Camilla:You look well, Lady, which is a blessing for Rome and for all of us.
Livia:And you, my dear, are as beautiful and serene as ever. Come, let's sit down. I envy you your serenity. I envy all the Vestals. I often wish I could have become one of them.
Camilla:Rome would have been the loser then.
Livia:And you retire next year?
Camilla:Yes. It's 30 years since I took my vows. I must say, I find it hard to believe.
Livia:You came to me some time ago to ask me to use my influence with Augustus to persuade the Senate to rebuild the House of the Vestals.
Camilla:That was a long time ago.
Livia:Oh, my dear, I never forget anything.
Camilla:It's been a dream of mine to leave that House more beautiful than when I entered it. The Senate has promised, many times, to find the money, but they never have.
Livia:Well, I think it's time we did something.
Camilla:Have you spoken to your husband?
Livia:Many times. It's been a dream of mine too to rebuild that house. But, like all men, he makes promises and noises and does very little. But he also likes to surprise me.
Camilla:And has he?
Livia:Well, I think he has, but I'm not sure. That's why I asked you here. I have a feeling he's set aside a sum for it in his will
Camilla:Oh, that would be wonderful! Do you think he has?
Livia:Well, I asked him about it again when he returned from Corsica. "Wait and see," he said with such a twinkle in his eye that it made me wonder if he'd come to you recently to make an alteration in his will.
Camilla:But he did! He came and asked for his will and spent a whole morning locked in a room with it. And when he came out, he handed me two documents instead of one.
Livia:Ah, you see, I was right. Oh, this intuition of mine. Did he bring someone with him to witness it?
Camilla:Yes. Fabius Maximus.
Livia:Oh, the artful one! He's just like a little boy. He has to be so mysterious about everything. He couldn't come right out of it and say, "Well, Livia, you shall have your little present when I die. You shall have your house for the Vestals." No, no, no. He must tease me. He must surprise me. What a dear man he is.
Camilla:You do think then that the alteration is in respect of that?
Camilla:Well, it seems likely. Oh, what a pity we couldn't take it out and have a look at it. Just you and me - two women together - in a tiny little conspiracy.
Livia:Yes, that would certainly set our minds at rest. But it has his seal on.
Camilla:Oh, but that's nothing. I have the use of his seal. I've had it for years. Well, how else do you think official documents get signed when he's away?
Livia:Mmm? I hadn't thought of that. But then, of course, that would be breaking my vows.
Camilla:But in such a good cause. And, of course, if we found the alteration were in respect of something else, why, I would feel bound to find that money myself. Rome owes so much to the sanctity of the Vestals. What do you think, my dear?
Augustus:Aaah! Oh, Montanus. Oh, help me, Montanus.
Montanus:If you'd lie still and let the cold compresses work.
Augustus:Oh, the pain's in my belly, you fool! Not in my head.
Montanus:Here, drink this. It will ease the pain.
Augustus:Oh, it's like a fire in there.
Montanus:It's the ulcer again. I warned you. Too much work and too much worry. Will you follow a diet if I prescribe it?
Augustus:Yes, yes.
Montanus:Eat only milk products and eggs. And give up work for a while or I won't be responsible. When you feel a little better, take a holiday. Go to Capri or somewhere and rest. Paddle in the sea, get a breath of fresh air. I'll talk to the Lady Livia about it.
Augustus:I've had premonitions. Premonitions of death.
Fabius:We all have them.
Augustus:No, no, no. This is serious. Listen, old friend, let me tell you. Two weeks after we came back from you know where, yes, I was in Mars Field giving a libation. A little ceremony. Well, you remember?
Fabius:Oh, I remember, but I wasn't there.
Augustus:Well, nearby, there's a temple built in the memory of Marcus Agrippa.
Fabius:Yes, I know it.
Augustus:An eagle circled my head five times, then flew off and settled on the "A" of Agrippa's name.
Fabius:Well, Caesar...
Augustus:No, no, no, don't lie to me. Don't lie to me. It's clear what it means, let's not pretend. It was telling me that my time had come and that I must give way to someone by the name of Agrippa.
Augustus:Who else?
Fabius:Did you consult an augur?
Augustus:No. I don't need an augur, it's plain. Plain as the nose on your face.
Fabius:Well, there may be some other explanation. You're not an expert on the interpretation of signs.
Augustus:Then listen to this. The following day, lightning melted the "C" on my name on a statue nearby. It struck the "C" off "Caesar". Do you follow, "C"? What does "C" mean?
Fabius:A hundred.
Augustus:A hundred. Exactly! Livia saw it. She went to an augur to find out what it meant. She wouldn't tell me, but I forced it out of her. It means that I have only a hundred days to live. I shall die in a hundred days.
Fabius:Or weeks.
Fabius:Why shouldn't it be weeks? Or months? Why shouldn't it mean that you'll live to be a hundred?
Augustus:Do you think so?
Fabius:Why not?
Augustus:Perhaps she went to the wrong augur. Perhaps he looked at the wrong book.
Claudius:G-G-Good morning, Grandmother. Mother and I would like to know if there's any ch-change in Augustus' health.
Livia:He's improving, which is more than I can say for you.
Claudius:Tha-thank you, Grandmother. It's a gr-great relief.
Claudius:Well, thank you.
Livia:Is it true...? Is it true you've written a book about religious changes during the reign of Augustus?
Claudius:Y-y-yes, Grandmother.
Livia:You intend to give a public reading of it?
Claudius:Yes, Grandmother.
Livia:You'll do no such thing.
Claudius:N-no, Grandmother. It wasn't my idea. Germanicus suggested it before he left.
Livia:I won't have you make a laughing stock of my family.
Claudius:I'm b-b-better when I'm rehearsed.
Livia:So is a trained monkey, but he still looks and sounds every inch a monkey.
Claudius:Yes, Grandmother.
Livia:If that head of yours doesn't stop twitching, I'll have it off and stuck on a pole. That'll fix it.
Claudius:Th-th-thank you, Grandmother. Oh, I beg your... Oh, I'm... I beg your pardon. Oh...
Livia:Leave it alone!
Claudius:Oh, I'm sorry...
Tiberius:That grandson of yours could wreck the empire... just by strolling through it. Augustus is improving. Are you drinking because he nearly died or because he didn't?
Livia:Sarcastic, aren't we this morning?
Tiberius:I was just wondering. I never know whether I read you right. Is something wrong?
Livia:He's altered his will. Oh, what's the matter - cat got your tongue? That took your breath away, didn't it?
Tiberius:How do you know?
Livia:I know. I make it my business to know.
Tiberius:In whose favor?
Livia:Whose do you think?
Livia:Ha! Trust you to get it wrong. I must have been nodding when I gave birth to you.
Tiberius:I sometimes wonder, Mother, whether you ever did anything so natural as giving birth. In whose favor has he altered his will?
Livia:Postumus. Whose do you think? He took a trip to Corsica. Didn't it occur to you he may stop off to visit your stepson?
Tiberius:Well, why should he?
Livia:Perhaps he's changed his mind about him.
Tiberius:Why? What could have caused him to change it? What does he know now that he didn't know then? What could he know? What is there to know?
Livia:He's a senile old man. How do I know what causes him to change his mind? But he has, and so much the worse for you, my baby, if I can't change it back again.
Tiberius:Well, don't bother on my account! I'm sick of it! The gods know I've done my best! He never liked me. Never! Thirty years I've run his errands for him! I've fought on his bloody frontiers, collected his taxes! He's never once put his hand on my arm and said, "Thank you. What would I have done without you?" Now he sends me off to Illyricum and he doesn't even plan a farewell dinner. Not even a goodbye. Just get on your horse and ride! Well, damn him! I retired before and I can retire again! Let his precious grandson run his empire for him. I'm sick to death of it!
Livia:When do you leave?
Tiberius:Very soon.
Livia:I wouldn't travel too fast, if I were you.
Tiberius:Why not?
Livia:Well, you won't have so far to come back if anything happens to him.
5 - Thanking Claudius
Augustus:I... I... I was just going to see your mother. I've heard she's not very well. I wanted to have a few words with you, but I'm dragging you away from your work.
Claudius:N-no, really.
Augustus:Are you sure? I'll only stay a minute, then I'll go.
Claudius:Are you b-better now?
Augustus:Well, you know, I think so. Well, shall we sit down for a moment?
Augustus:They put me on this diet, you know, but I cured myself. You know how? I refused to eat. Oh, a little milk and fruit. I got myself this cow and I milked it myself. And the fruit I picked from the garden, so it was untouched by human hand, you might say, except my own. You never know what gets into food when it goes into the kitchens. The slaves are so careless. Anyway, I'm still here. Yes. I'm going away for a little holiday. First to Capri and then to Nola. I'm a bit tired. Ah, what a pleasant garden this is. I've never been here before... Claudius, do you bear me any ill will?
Claudius:Ill will? Why should I?
Augustus:Oh, it's so funny we can be so wrong about people. I was wrong about you. You see, we judge much too much on appearances. I mean, your appearance is against you. I mean, you know that, don't you? You give everybody the impression that you're a bit of a fool. No point in mincing matters. But you're not such a fool, are you?
Claudius:I hope n-not.
Augustus:Germanicus told me all about you. He said that you were loyal to three things - to your friends, to Rome and to the truth. I mean, that's a wonderful thing to say of a person. I'd be very proud if he said that about me.
Claudius:My brother worships you.
Augustus:No? Do you think so?
Claudius:Yes. He's often told me.
Augustus:Well, well. He's a great man, you know. A fine Roman in the best tradition - even though he is a bit of a republican. What did you think? I didn't know? I'm a republican myself, at heart. I mean, you know that, don't you? I mean, it was never my intention to rule for so long, but...I don't know, things just didn't work out. I kept wanting to retire. Your father wanted me to retire. I don't know. It just never happened. So many things turn out different from the way you hoped. I went to Corsica, you know, and I paid a visit to a certain island and I saw a certain person. Now, none of that would have happened but for you. Germanicus told me everything. Anyway, when I got back, I paid a visit to the Vestal Virgins and I made some alterations to a certain document there that I'd left. Now, no one knows about that - not even your grandmother - so not a word.
Claudius:Oh, you can tr-trust me.
Augustus:Yes. I see now that I can. When I get back, we'll talk again. We'll talk many times, eh? I've found another friend. You see, even at my age, a man finds he has friends he never even dreamed of.
Augustus:Oh... Oh, what luck, Livia! I've thrown Venus three times in a row! Come on, pay up, all of you! Oh, what luck, Livia! You never saw such a... Oh, come and play. I'm winning a fortune.
Livia:Don't you think it's time to go to bed?
Augustus:Oh, no, no. Certainly not. Alright, we'll start again. Odds or evens?
[group]:Odds! Odds! Evens! Odds! Evens! Evens!
Augustus:Junius, Junius, you're not betting.
Junius:Caesar, I have no money. It's all gone.
Augustus:No, really? Oh, come on, have some of mine.
Junius:But you gave us all the money to start with.
Augustus:Well, it's only a game.
Junius:But if we win, we keep it and if we lose, you give it back.
Augustus:Who's complaining? Oh, come on, come on, make your bet. Montanus, have you made your bet.
Montanus:I'm betting odds, Caesar.
Augustus:You'll be sorry. I've been throwing evens all night.
[group]:Evens! Evens! Odds! Odds!
Augustus:Ready. HaHa! What did I tell you? Come on, pay up. Now, who bet odds? Now, come on, don't slink away. I saw you! Oh, what an evening. Evens, get your winnings. Odds, pay up.
Livia:What's the matter?
Augustus:I feel sick... [retches] ... Take me to my room.
6 - The Devil in Disguise
Augustus:No food! Do you hear? I'll eat... I'll eat figs from the garden, nothing else. Nothing! And I'll... I'll pick... pick them myself.
Montanus:Are you mad? Figs from the garden? Aren't your bowels loose enough already? I must give you some medicine.
Augustus:No! Curse it! Nothing that's been touched by human hand, do you hear? Not even Livia's. Nothing. Nothing.
Montanus:It's a very bad attack. He'll eat no prepared food, none. Those are his instructions. Only figs from the tree. Perhaps he's right, I don't know. He cured himself before, perhaps he'll do it again.
Livia:Did he give any reason?
Montanus:None. He has this obsession that it mustn't be touched by human hand, not even by yours. Well, perhaps he's right after all. No matter how many times one tells them, I swear the kitchen staff never wash their hands after they've been to the lavatory. But he's too ill to go to Rome. He'll have to stay here in Nola for a few days.
Livia:Are you feeling better? There's a delegation here from Rome. They're waiting to see you. Eh, you're a fine one. You made yourself worse with all those figs. I never heard anything so ridiculous. I only came on this journey to look after you, and you won't let me or anyone else cook for you. It's very embarrassing, you know. People might think we were trying to poison you. I sent for Tiberius. Fortunately, he wasn't too far away. He'll be here soon. Well, I thought you might want to see him. And he'll do everything that has to be done. Hasn't he always? Of course...you two haven't always seen eye to eye. But that hasn't been entirely his fault, you know that, don't you? You were always inclined to favor one over the other. I've often spoken to you about it. You made fish of one and foul of the other so often that no one knew where he was or what he was. You should have listened to me more. You should have. You know that, don't you? I've been right more often than you have, you know. But because I was a woman, you pushed me into the background. Oh, yes...yes, you did. And all I ever wanted was for you and for Rome. Nothing I ever did was for myself. Nothing. Only for you...and for Rome. As a Claudian should. Oh, yes, my dear. I'm a Claudian. I think you are apt to forget that at times. But I never did. No. Never. No.
Tiberius:How is he?
Livia:He's dead. Augustus is dead.
Tiberius:The earth will shake.
Livia:I must go and see the senators and the consuls from Rome. Stay with him till I return. By the way... don't touch the figs.
Livia:Augustus has fallen into a deep sleep. He willed himself to stay awake until my son arrived and then, comforted by his return, he dozed off. There's no point in your waiting here. Come back again tomorrow. Between now and then, I will post bulletins on the door.
Livia:You are Colonel Sejanus?
Sejanus:Yes, Lady.
Livia:The son of the Commander of the Guard?
Sejanus:Yes, Lady.
Livia:Your father has high regard for you.
Sejanus:I hope you won't find it misplaced.
Livia:You know why you're here?
Sejanus:Yes. I'll leave at once.
Sejanus:Weight it with stones. We'll bury it at sea.
Assassin:Are you Fabius Maximus?
Fabius:Yes. What's the message?
Assassin:It's here.
7 - False Will
Tiberius:Let the will be read.
Quaestor:"This is the last will and testament of Augustus Caesar, formerly Gaius Octavius of the family of Julius, made on the 3rd of April in the year of the consuls Lucius Plancus and Gaius Scillius. For as much as a sinister fate has bereft me of my sons, Gaius and Lucius, it is now my will that Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar become my heir in the first range of two-thirds of my estate, and in the remaining third of the first range, also it is my will that my beloved wife Livia shall become my heir..."
Livia:Come in.
Quaestor:"..and in recognition of her life-long service to the state shall if the Senate graciously permits adopt the name of..."
Livia:What do you want?
Livia:Spit it out, boy!
Claudius:M-m-mother said I might come and offer my ccc...
Claudius:Condolences. Yes, Grandmother. It's a t-terrible tragedy.
Livia:Have you been in the Senate?
Claudius:On the steps. I'm not allowed in the Senate.
Livia:No, neither am I. They won't allow me in because I'm a woman and they won't allow you in because you're a fool. Now, it's strange when you come to think of it because it's full of nothing but old women and fools!
Claudius:They've read the will
Livia:That's what they think.
Livia:Where have they got to?
Claudius:They asked Uncle T-Tiberius to take Augustus' place, but he refused.
Livia:And I'll bet they asked him again, and I'll bet that he said yes.
Claudius:Yes, he did.
Livia:Well, what are they doing now?
Claudius:Debating whether to make Augustus a god.
Livia:Debating, are they? What do you think?
Claudius:I think they should. I think it was f-f-foretold.
Livia:Really, now? And who foretold it?
Livia:Jove, eh?
Claudius:A hundred days ago, he melted the letter "C" on one of Augustus' statues.
Livia:And what does that mean, idiot head?
Claudius:If you strike out the letter "C" from "Caesar", the word "Aesar" is left, and in Etruscan, Aesar means "god".
Livia:Deciphered some Etruscan now, have we?
Claudius:Yes, Grandmother. I've been studying it.
Livia:Oh, you fool. If Jove wanted to talk to us, don't you think he'd talk to us in Latin, not in Etruscan? What'd be the point of that? Hadn't thought of that, had you? All the same, I'd drop a note to your uncle Tiberius, if I were you. It sounds to me as if he could use all the arguments he could get.
Claudius:Will they make Augustus a g-god?
Livia:Oh, yes. He is a god. And so shall I be one day, I prophesy. And here's another prophecy. If Jove ever melts the "C" off your name, what's left will turn out to mean "jackass". Bye-bye, Clau-Clau. Alright. You can go now. Hahaha!
Claudius:You wicked woman! Wickedness! Here, what's this? Eh? Augustus' will! You stole it! His last will! Poison is queen! Poison is queen! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 6
Back To Index
1 - Some Justice
Claudius:[belches] Shouldn't eat so much at night. Mushrooms. Yes. I'm working too hard. Yes. Too much work. I must get it all done though. I must finish. Now, where was I? Augustus died, yes. Uncle Tiberius took his place. But he didn't want it. Not then. Waited too long. Yes. Strange man. Filthy brute. All power corrupts. Only one man kept him in check - Germanicus, my brother. My dear brother Germanicus. Tiberius sent him to Syria to take command and then...
2 - Death of a Martyr
Agrippina:[agonized scream] Let his body be laid in the marketplace at Antioch so that the people may see the marks of poison and witchery on his body. Let word be sent to Rome. Germanicus is dead. Germanicus is dead. Oh, nothing now stands between Rome and her Imperial destiny.
Agrippina:[mournful trumpeting] Thus, my children... does your father come home to you. Ashes in an urn. Look at him! Remember him! Remember all your days how your father returned to you. [crowd murmurs] Take it, Castor! Carry it to Rome. And by the love you had for my dear husband, defend his children and avenge his death! My babies! My babies! What have they done to you? And Claudius, dear Claudius you, I know, loved him.
Claudius:He was dearer to me than anyone. Nobody had such a brother.
Agrippina:Where is the Emperor? And where is Livia?
Herod:Too stricken with grief to appear in public.
Agrippina:And your mother?
Claudius:The same.
Agrippina:Oh, is their grief greater than ours, then? All along the way, in every town and village, the people flooded to pay their respect to his ashes as we passed. The air was filled with cries and lamentations. Look at the faces of these people here. It's as if they've lost a son or a father of their own. Yet the man he called father and the woman who was his grandmother do not come out to greet us! I ask again, is their grief greater than ours?
[crowd]:No! No!
Agrippina:Put the ashes on the hearse and let us journey on to Rome.
Tiberius:[crowd rumbles] A hundred thousand people out there. Mars Field is ablaze with torches.
Sejanus:The funeral will be over soon. The crowds will disperse.
Tiberius:Why did they admire him so?
Sejanus:When you're not the Emperor, you've always got the Emperor to blame.
Livia:My husband was Emperor for 40 years and he was admired by everyone.
Sejanus:Ah, well, I wasn't referring to gods.
Livia:When Augustus died, the troops on the Rhine would have made Germanicus Emperor, if he'd agreed to it.
Sejanus:Germanicus didn't believe in emperors. He'd done better if he had.
Tiberius:There's a lot of bad feeling out there and it's all directed at me! What do they want of me? They always preferred him to me. Why?
Livia:You just don't have a lovable nature. It's unfortunate but even your own son doesn't care for you much.
Tiberius:I think I'm loved by a great many people.
Livia:Well, you're loved alright, but you're not well loved.
Tiberius:And you are, I suppose?
Livia:Well, as to that I couldn't say but unlike you, I don't worry about it.
Sejanus:Well, at any rate, if he's profoundly loved, he's also profoundly dead. There's no harm in loving the dead. Everybody's loved when he's dead.
Livia:I wouldn't count on that, if I were you.
Tiberius:What is it you want, Mother?
Livia:I'm told that your son Castor and Agrippina intend to prosecute Piso and Plancina on charges of treason and murder.
Sejanus:They have no proof.
Livia:Well, I daresay, they could tell a pretty tale.
Sejanus:A pretty tale isn't proof.
Livia:That's a different story from the one you've been telling for the last five years. You've buried more men with your pretty tales than anyone I know.
Tiberius:Where is he now?
Sejanus:My last report said he'd taken ship from Illyria, he was on his way to Rome.
Tiberius:I won't have him tried.
Livia:Better to have him tried and cleared than to live forever under a cloud.
Tiberius:Well, it won't trouble Piso to live under a cloud.
Livia:I wasn't thinking of Piso. I was thinking of you.
Tiberius:Has it ever occurred to you, Mother, that it's you they hate and not me?
Livia:There is nothing in this world that occurs to you that has not occurred to me first. That is the affliction I live with.
3 - Foul Play
Antonia:I can't believe it. Dearly as I loved my son, I can't believe what you're saying. Piso, yes, we all know his record. But Tiberius?
Agrippina:Then why did he appoint Piso Governor of Syria? There were others he could have chosen.
Antonia:Well, it wasn't a good choice, I grant you. But don't ask me to believe that an Emperor of Rome would stoop to such methods.
Agrippina:Oh, those are his methods. He doesn't need to stoop. Yes, I'm sorry, Castor but I will say it even though he's your father.
Castor:Say it. Say it. You can say nothing against my father that I've not already said myself.
Vitellius:It's not for us to accuse the Emperor. We have no proof of his involvement.
Agrippina:Proof! The people won't need proof. The people know. They're not fools.
Castor:I've instructed the prosecutor to prepare charges against Piso and Plancina.
Claudius:On wh-what grounds?
Castor:Treason and murder.
Herod:Is there really proof of murder?
Agrippina:And of witchery.
Herod:Is it possible? Barbarian Jew that I am, I find it incredible that the most sophisticated people on earth believe in witchery.
Agrippina:Oh, scoff all you like, Herod, but you judge for yourself. On our return to Syria from Egypt, Germanicus fell ill and suspected that Plancina had bribed her way into our kitchens and was having his food poisoned.
Herod:But why?
Agrippina:Because Germanicus had dismissed her husband, Piso. So I prepared all his food myself, but he was able to eat very little. He complained that there was a smell of death in the house, and began to believe that Plancina was using witchcraft against him. He made a propitiating sacrifice of nine black puppies to Hecate...
Agrippina:...which was the proper thing to do when being victimized. And the very next day, a slave who was washing the floor of the hall noticed a loose tile. Lifting it up, he saw beneath it the naked and decaying corpse of a baby, its belly painted red with horns tied to its forehead. We made an immediate search of every room and equally gruesome finds were made. The corpse of a cat with rudimentary wings growing in its back. The head of a negro with a child's white hand stuck in its mouth. The skull of an ass with the word Germanicus written across it. Oh, cock's feathers smeared in blood were found among the cushions. The word Rome written upside down. And the number 17. Now, only I knew that the number 17 upset him dreadfully.
Herod:Plancina must have had accomplices at the house.
Agrippina:And I tell you, there could not have been. The woman dabbles in witchcraft!
Vitellius:Go on, Pina.
Agrippina:One of the things that upset him most was the appearance of his name, each day shortened by a letter. It would appear quite suddenly without explanation in rooms to which the servants had no access and where the windows were too small for a man to climb through. He told me he was doomed. But I told him no, not as long as you have the green jasper charm of Hecate with you. He felt under his pillow and he found it and that comforted him because he knew as long as he had that talisman safe, nothing could happen to him. That night, while he was asleep, he felt a tiny movement under his pillow. He turned on his side and fumbled for the charm. It was gone. Tell me, Herod, how did it disappear? Nobody but myself was allowed in that room. Who could have taken it? Who?
Agrippina:Caligula, darling, what are you doing out of bed?
Caligula:I've had a bad dream, Mother.
Agrippina:Oh, my poor baby. Come here. What did you dream?
Caligula:Horrid dream. I dreamt there were bats sitting along the shelf in my room. Then they flew down and sat on me until I was all covered with them and no one could see me anymore.
Agrippina:Oh, my poor baby.
Antonia:You shouldn't eat so much before you go to bed.
Agrippina:Oh, Mother, he's been through so much!
Antonia:He stuffs himself with all manner of things.
Claudius:Perhaps he'd like to sleep with Drusillus? He'd be company for him.
Agrippina:Would you like that darling? Would you like to sleep with your cousin's room?
Caligula:I'd rather sleep with Drusilla.
Antonia:Drusilla? Your sister? A boy of your age? What is the world coming to?
Agrippina:Oh, he doesn't mean anything by it.
Antonia:He's been too long in the East. He should've been left here in Rome. Syria is no place to bring up a Roman child.
Caligula:I don't like it here.
Antonia:Well, you'll have to get used to it then, won't you?
Herod:What was so wonderful about the East, hmmm?
Antonia:Herod Agrippa is talking to you, child!
Agrippina:Oh, it was full of strange and mysterious people and things. Syrians made a great fuss of him, I'm afraid. Half the time we never saw him. He wandered all over Antioch. The house slaves took him everywhere.
Antonia:He had more freedom than is good for him.
Agrippina:Oh, I don't think so. His father was very strict with him. Now, would you like to sleep in your cousin's room as Uncle Claudius suggests?
Caligula:I'll go back to my own room.
Antonia:Yes, I'll take him back. Say goodnight.
Agrippina:He's very overwrought.
Claudius:Now, what about the t-t-trial?
Herod:Do you really think you can prove a charge of poisoning?
Vitellius:We have a witness, a woman called Martina. She's a notorious poisoner, well known in the province. She was seen many times with Plancina.
Herod:Where is she now?
Claudius:On her way to R-Rome. She's being kept hidden in different places along the route.
Castor:We must find a place for her when she arrives. Sejanus' agents are out looking for her even now.
Herod:I know a place. A house of a merchant friend of mine.
Castor:Good. Now, I've applied for permission to prosecute in the courts.
Claudius:Oh, I'm afraid that's n-not a good idea.
Castor:Well, it's better to have it tried in the courts than in the Senate by my father.
Claudius:Your father can f-fix the courts behind the scenes. If he's tried in the Senate by him, T-T-Tiberius will be on trial too.
Herod:Oh, clever, Clau-Clau! He's right. You'll be better off in the Senate.
Castor:Then we'll move for a trial in the Senate.
Piso:In the Senate? Well, I mean, what's wrong with the courts?
Tiberius:I tried to get the case heard in the courts, but my son and his friends pressed for a hearing in the Senate. I couldn't oppose them, I had no grounds.
Piso:Well... Well, I mean, if it's the Senate, it's the Senate. Why should I be concerned? I'm no stranger to the Senate. And if my enemies have friends there, so have I. They'll find that out soon enough. And you will be hearing the case yourself?
Tiberius:Of course.
Piso:Well, then, what better guarantee of justice have we? And justice is all Plancina and I came home for.
Plancina:We've done nothing to be ashamed of, except that it makes me ashamed to have to say so.
Piso:That was very well put. I couldn't have put that better. But that shame, you mark my word, will be theirs in the end. Certain people will come to rue the day they should wantonly accuse Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso and his wife of murder!
Tiberius:They're arraigning you on a charge of treason as well.
Piso:Treason? Oh, it's treason now, is it? What will they think of next? That I caused a plague of moths? Or it is I who am polluting the Tiber? I mean, there was a drought on in Syria when I left, perhaps I caused that as well?
Tiberius:I should prepare your defense well.
Piso:I shall prepare my defense. That will take me no time. But treason! Where is the treason? I mean, I had certain disagreements with Germanicus, but I was not sent there to be his house boy.
Plancina:They were very cold to us, you know - Germanicus and Agrippina. From the very start, they snubbed us.
Piso:Well, naturally, they knew why I was there. They knew I had not been made Governor of Syria to follow like a small dog behind a parade. I was there as watch dog for my Emperor, and they knew it. Oh, the insults we bore at their hands!
Plancina:Even members of his own command were ashamed. At official banquets, we were seated on the third couch, and as for Agrippina, well, she gave herself such airs, she might have been queen!
Piso:And they accuse me of treason. Oh, don't talk to me of treason. Not to me. What has my whole life been but one of service to Rome and to my Emperor? My sons, too. Let the jackals howl. I have nothing to fear. I come home with my head held high. I am ashamed of nothing...
Tiberius:I gave orders not to be disturbed!
Slave:My lord, the Commander of the Guard has an urgent report to make.
Tiberius:Wait here.
Plancina:He says very little. He neither agrees nor disagrees.
Piso:Oh, tell nothing from that.
Plancina:Well, he already plays the judge.
Piso:The judge? How?
Plancina:Well, he listens, but not with sympathy.
Piso:Oh, that's just his way. He's a very cold fish. You can tell nothing from that.
Plancina:I don't like it. It's not what I expected.
Piso:Each one written in his own handwriting. Quote: "I have the utmost faith in you". Quote: "Any steps taken to check disloyalty will be looked on kindly by the Senate and the citizens of Rome". Now, what did he expect me to make of such phrases? I'm not a fool and neither is he. They are his tacit agreement for every move that we made.
Plancina:But they bear his seal No power in Rome will allow a letter bearing the Imperial seal to be read in public.
Piso:I don't need it to be read in public. They will be beside me in the Senate, mute, but eloquent. They will plead our case better than Cicero could've done. There isn't a Senator that won't understand the meaning of those letters and vote the way he believes his Emperor wants him to.
Tiberius:Who is the woman, Martina?
Plancina:Martina, she's the widow of the Roman soldier who settled in Antioch. We knew her slightly.
Tiberius:Did you know she was notorious as a poisoner in the province?
Piso:Poisoner? Has she ever been convicted of poisoning?
Plancina:Anyway, what of her?
Tiberius:Sejanus says that she has been brought secretly to Rome to be a witness.
Piso:Where is she?
Tiberius:His agents haven't found her yet. Do you have anything to fear from this witness?
Piso:Not if she speaks the truth... But if she's to be held incommunicado, I mean, who knows what they may not persuade her to say?
Tiberius:Well, let's hope we find her first then.
Gershom:I loved this room. It was my life.
Herod:But you won't mind letting it to us?
Gershom:Who can afford to keep an empty room? But you've got to pay in advance.
Herod:My friend will pay.
Gershom:Are you taking the room?
Gershom:You'll like it. It's got a very fine view over the river. If you stand on a box, you'll see.
Claudius:It's n-n-not for me. It's f-for my mother.
Gershom:Oh. Well, it's not very comfortable. Hey, woh, woh, woh, woh, what about those soldiers? I'm not letting a barracks!
Herod:No questions, Gershom. She's being locked up here.
Gershom:Locked up? What kind of a son are you? "Honor thy father and thy mother!"
Herod:Do you want us to look elsewhere?
Gershom:Of course, I want you to look elsewhere! It's a disgrace! What do you think I run here? A jail?
Claudius:Is t-t-that enough?
Gershom:If I approved of what you were doing, it would be enough, but since you're offending against the Mosaic law...
Herod:It's Roman law here, Gershom.
Gershom:It's Roman law everywhere. That's the trouble. But one day... With that kind of son, you've got to be lucky with your daughters.
4 - The Trial
Tiberius:Like everyone else, I grieve for Germanicus. But apart from the charge of murder, we must consider the question of treason. Did Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso incite his troops to mutiny and rebellion? Did he bribe them to support him? Did he make war to regain his province? The case against Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso may now be heard.
Castor:If it please the Emperor my father, I have been asked to open the case against the accused. In the matter of murder, we shall be bringing before the House clear evidence of poisoning. In the matter of treason, we shall show that after Germanicus' death, Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso raised the troops in a rebellion against the newly appointed governor of that province.
Caligula:No! Let go of me! Let go of me, you horrid old German woman!
Claudius:What's this?
Caligula:I hate you!
Claudius:What's the matter?
Antonia:He is disgusting!
Claudius:What has he done?
Claudius:What has he done?
Antonia:That child is a monster!
Caligula:I'm not, you horrid old German woman! I'll burn your German house down!
Claudius:Stop it! Stop it! Come here! Come here! Now, what is all this G-German?
Antonia:He calls everything German that he doesn't like it. He is a monster.
Claudius:Well, what has he done?
Antonia:He knows what he's done!
Caligula:I didn't do anything! I didn't! I didn't! Honestly, Uncle Claudius. I didn't do anything, I swear. It was only a game.
Antonia:I found him in Drusilla's bed. Naked, the pair of them! He is revolting and so is she. I've locked her in her room!
Caligula:Well, Mother...
Antonia:You're a blockhead if you believe his lies!
Claudius:Where are you taking him?
Antonia:To the cellar to lock him in.
Caligula:Please don't let her take me. Please Uncle Claudius. I hate the cellar. I'm afraid.
Claudius:Well, you leave him here with me. I'll t-t-talk to him.
Antonia:He needs a good whipping, not a talking to! Oh, Claudius, you're such a fool! I've no patience with you. It should have been you who died, not Germanicus! What use are you to anyone?
Claudius:Now, don't you know that you sh-shouldn't play games like that with your sister? Hmmm? Don't you know how w-wicked it is?
Claudius:Why? B-because it is.
Claudius:Now, now look, don't answer me back or I'll cut you on the head! Now, you listen to me. Now, a sister is a sister and she's not to be p-p-played with, ever, do you understand? You can't p-p-play with her and you can't m-marry her.
Caligula:But she wanted to...
Claudius:I don't care what she wanted! You're disgusting, the pair of you. And I shall talk to Dr-Drusilla later.
Claudius:What's the matter?
Herod:Martina's disappeared.
Agrippina:We took an escort and went to fetch her. She was gone. The guard outside had been overpowered and the room was empty.
Claudius:Oh, Sejanus?
Herod:Who else? That man's spies are everywhere! Thick as flies in summer!
Claudius:We've lost our chief witness, then?
Agrippina:That won't save the pair of them. If Tiberius thinks it will, he's mistaken. What's he doing here?
Claudius:He's been v-very very naughty. Mother was going to thrash him.
Agrippina:Oh, why can't people leave him alone? Hasn't he been through enough already?
Piso:When I heard of the death of Germanicus, I was on the island of Cos. In fact on my way back to Rome to report my dismissal to the Emperor. Yes, and complain about it. I make no bones about that. Now, my accusers say that I entered temples and made sacrifices in an orgy of celebration.
Senate:[shouting] So you did!
Piso:One ewe and a goat! What orgy? And why? To celebrate the birth of a grandson.
Senate:To celebrate the death of Germanicus!
Piso:The living have their rights as well as the dead! You would have done the same.
Castor:But why did you return to Syria? Why didn't you go on to Rome?
Piso:Because I was still Governor of Syria.
Senate:[angry shouting]
Castor:We have... We have the written instructions of Germanicus, ordering you to leave the province. Surtius had been made Governor of Syria.
Piso:Illegally! That governorship was mine! And the man who had unfairly removed me was dead. I had my appointment. I had my instructions. I knew where my loyalties lay.
Senate:Read them out! Read the letters!
Piso:I have no need to read them! My defense will stand on its own merit.
Senate:[angry shouting]
Piso:I said I have no need to read them...
Tiberius:Unless order is maintained in the House, I shall adjourn!
Castor:If Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso's argument is to rely upon instructions, this House has the right to know what's in them.
Senate:[shouts of agreement]
Piso:These letters bear the Imperial seal. No one has the right to read them.
Vitellius:The Emperor may consent to having them read.
Piso:They have no bearing on the case.
Vitellius:Then why produce them?
Piso:They're not produced as evidence. They are merely here among my papers.
Senate:[shouting again]
Vitellius:If it please the Emperor, I move that any instructions received by the accused from Rome be entered as evidence pertaining to his guilt or innocence.
Castor:I second that motion.
Tiberius:Those letters bear the Imperial seal. The seal of the god Augustus himself. There is no precedence for making their contents public. I will not create such a precedent. The motion is denied.
Senate:[angry shouting]
5 - Playing the Field
Piso:Well, they got more than they bargained for, eh? They thought they had a rabbit in the Senate. It turns out they had a tiger. Eh, Plancina? Oh, leave us, my friends. Plancina's tired after such a day. A good night's rest and a little peace and quiet will work miracles, you'll see. Our enterprise will prosper again tomorrow, you'll see. Goodnight, my friends. Goodnight...
Piso:What's the matter, Plancina?
Plancina:Oh, I don't like it. It didn't go the way it should.
Piso:I thought it went very well.
Plancina:And you shouldn't have used those letters. That was a mistake.
Piso:What do you mean mistake?
Plancina:Well, you saw the look on his face. He'll never forgive you.
Piso:We were carrying out his orders.
Plancina:Well, he's not going to thank you for reminding him of it.
Piso:I don't want his thanks, as long as he remembers.
Plancina:He'll never forgive you, never.
Piso:I'm not asking his forgiveness. He should be asking me for mine. That trial should never have taken place.
Plancina:Then why has he allowed it?
Piso:He had to give them a show. Germanicus has powerful friends. He can't just thumb his nose at them. So he gives them a trial. But a trial is one thing, a conviction that's another. That he'd never allow. Because if we're guilty, so is he and so is his mother. He knows that and the Senate does. We did what we were asked to - harass and provoke Germanicus into showing his hand.
Plancina:But did that include bringing about his death as well?
Piso:Yes. Well, that was your idea.
Plancina:My idea?
Piso:Yes. Oh, what does it matter? It turned out to be an additional bonus for them. They're not complaining.
Plancina:What do you mean, it was my idea?
Piso:Well, wasn't it you that came to me and said it could be managed.
Plancina:Haha. Well, that's wonderful! I'm to blame then, am I?
Piso:Oh, of course not.
Plancina:I can just see the way your mind is working. I'm going to be sacrificed, is that it?
Piso:Oh, stop it. What are you talking about? What are you going on about?
Plancina:I am going to be sacrificed at the temple! Well, I won't be! I won't be!
Piso:Stop it! Stop it! Control yourself... Yes, what is it?
Slave:Lucius Aelius Sejanus is here master.
Piso:Show him in.
Plancina:What does he want?
Piso:How would I know what he wants? For heaven's sake, control yourself. I don't want him to see you looking like this.
Sejanus:I came to tell you, sir, that I've had guards placed all around the house.
Piso:Why? I have guards of my own.
Sejanus:Yes, of course. But the crowd is very large and seems to be in an ugly mood.
Piso:Oh, what's their mood to me? I go where I please in Rome. Nobody stops me.
Sejanus:The Emperor requested it. For your safety.
Piso:Well, I mean if it's for our safety, we're very pleased, eh, Plancina? I understand their chief witness against me has, ummm, disappeared.
Sejanus:So it seems.
Piso:Perhaps they never had one in the first place.
Sejanus:Oh, I think they had one, but, unaccountably, she's disappeared. Oh, by the way, the Emperor asked me to ask you for the letters.
Piso:The letters?
Sejanus:Since their documents of state, they should be placed in the archives. After all, they might get stolen or fall into the wrong hands.
Piso:As a matter of fact I was just about to send them around. We were just talking about it, eh Plancina? Here they are. Give them to the Emperor. Tell him I will never forget the things he wrote. I treasure in my mind every word.
Sejanus:Thank you. The Imperial Guard will escort you to the Senate tomorrow. You needn't worry about the crowds.
Piso:Tell... Tell the Emperor I am grateful. Tell him I'm always of service. Tell him Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso is his humble servant and always will be!
Sejanus:You'll have to sacrifice them. The mob will not have them acquitted. They're dragging Piso's statues down to the Tiber now and smashing them. It's as though they already have the meat hooks under his chin.
Tiberius:What are they saying about me?
Sejanus:That Piso and his wife had your approval for everything they did. If you let them go now, they'll be convinced of it. But, above all, they praise Agrippina. The glory of her country, they call her, the only true descendant of Augustus.
Tiberius:Did he give you the letters without complaint?
Sejanus:He expects you to save him, but you must not.
Agrippina:I have come to tell you, Tiberius, that I and all of Rome, hold you responsible for my husband's death and will do so until you prove your innocence. We know too that you've taken that woman who was our witness, but it will avail you nothing. Emperor you may be, but justice is emperor over all.
Tiberius:And the fact you are not queen, my dear - is that the greatest injustice of all?
Agrippina:Vengeance, Tiberius! Walk down into the marketplace. The people are crying for it on every corner. Rome will not rest until you give it to them. And neither shall I.
Tiberius:Where is the woman, Martina?
Sejanus:We don't know.
Tiberius:Then find her. Am I to be blamed for everything? How are you going to get a conviction if you don't find her? Find her! She must be somewhere!
Livia:And what other poisons do you use? Have you ever tried aconite, for instance?
Martina:Aconite? Now, what's that?
Livia:Well, the roots look very like horseradish, but it'll do more than clear your head if you eat it.
Martina:Oh, yes, bless you, Lady. I know the one you mean. You mean wolf's bane. Well, that's what we call it. It came originally from India.
Livia:Really? I never knew that.
Martina:I bet you didn't know its antidote either.
Martina:You have made a study of it. Of course, I don't worry too much about antidotes.
Livia:Oh, well, you never know. Sometimes some fool of a slave will get the bowls mixed up.
Martina:I can see you've read a lot. It's a pity, in a way, you don't get a chance to practice. You'd be very good.
Livia:Thank you. Tell me now, what did you use on my grandson, Germanicus?
Martina:Ah, belladonna.
Livia:Ah, that accounts for the red rash.
Martina:It nearly always leaves that mark. That's why I didn't want to use it, but Plancina insisted. I warned her, but she'd been told by know-it-alls how tasteless it was. You know what people are like.
Livia:Amateurs. But you used witchcraft as well.
Martina:Oh, I wouldn't say that. All I did was arrange some apparitions. Your grandson was more superstitious than any man living. I just frightened him to death. If a man believes he's going to die, he'll die a lot quicker than if he doesn't.
Livia:How did you gain access to that house?
Martina:You remember when Germanicus went to Egypt, he took Agrippina with him, but left little Caligula behind as a punishment.
Livia:What for?
Martina:Oh, that child was never out of mischief. You know, he hated his father. They fought like cat and dog. It was he that told me how superstitious his father was. Well, they left him in the care of a tutor, a Greek, whom I knew. He took the child for walks all over the city, and each day he brought him to see me. Oh, that child's a strange one. He told me once he was born a god, and such was the conviction with which he said it, I believed him, and I said I did. It was then I suggested that he played the death game. I said, "A god should be able to frighten a man to death." And he shouted, "Tell me how and I'll show you." So I told him.
Livia:Are you telling me that that child was responsible for poisoning his own father?
Martina:Shocking, isn't it?
Livia:He's not a god, he's a monster.
Martina:You try telling him. Eh....
Livia:What's the matter?
Martina:I don't know, I... I've got a pain.
Livia:Oh, come, it's wind, that's all. I have it all the time. Do you seriously think that if I wanted to dispose of you, I'd stoop to doing it myself?
Martina:What...? What's going to happen to me?
Livia:I don't know. I'll do the best I can for you. It's lucky for you that my agents found you before my son's did. If they hadn't, you wouldn't be sitting here complaining about wind, I can tell you.
6 - A Trump Card?
Tiberius:The trial of Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso and his wife Plancina is now resumed.
Attorney:We understand that the principal witness in the charge of poisoning has not been found. In her absence, the prosecution have no case, and we request that the charge be withdrawn.
Senate:[rowdy outcry]
Tiberius:Request denied.
Attorney:If it please the Emperor, the wife of Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso has asked that from now on her defense be conducted separately from her husband's, and that she be tried independently from him.
Piso:Why...? Why did you do this to me? Don't you see what they'll think? Do you want me to die?
Plancina:They've made up their minds. There's nothing you nor I can say will change them. The Emperor has abandoned you. He's given you up to the mob. There's nothing on earth can save you now.
Piso:What about you?
Plancina:I'll go to Livia. She, at least, stands by her friends.
Plancina:Oh, Piso, listen to me. There's the honor and wealth of our family to be saved. Our sons, our daughters, our grandchildren - what of them? If... If you would take your life now... If you take your life, there's a chance... and a good one, that an honorable death will preserve the family wealth. Well, execution means only one thing - destruction for all we've built.
Piso:Fall on a sword? Is that what you want for me, your husband? Is that to be the end of Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso? No. There is another way. You go to Livia, yes! Tell her I have a letter, another letter. She'll remember the one she wrote. It's in her name and his, but it bears no seal. Tell her no power on earth will prevent me reading in the Senate aloud tomorrow unless I have assurances of acquittal.
Plancina:You're bluffing.
Piso:No. Tell her. She'll remember. Tell her I intend to read it aloud in the Senate tomorrow.
Livia:Why, don't look at me as if I'd just told you I was pregnant! He's got a letter, and it's very incriminating. And he'll read it unless we do something about it.
Tiberius:You wrote a letter, in my name and yours, without even using the seal?
Livia:You were away, and anyway you don't let me use the seal.
Tiberius:Who's Emperor here, you or I?
Livia:I used Augustus' seal. I had the free use of that.
Tiberius:I am not Augustus!
Livia:No, you're not. Otherwise this situation would never have arisen.
Tiberius:I think I shall go mad. You will drive me insane! Will you stay out of my affairs?
Livia:Your affairs? You wouldn't be Emperor if it weren't for me. Well, what's done can be undone. Plancina isn't the only one with letters. I've got plenty from Augustus saying exactly what he thought about you, and don't think I won't have them circulated if I have to.
Tiberius:What do you want?
Livia:I don't want that letter read in the Senate. You'd be a fool if you allowed it.
Tiberius:You want my assurances that they'll be acquitted?
Livia:Of course I do. They should be acquitted. And if you had any backbone, you'd get them acquitted.
Tiberius:I'll tell you what I'm going to do. It's your letter, you stick to it... and if it's read in the House, I'll deny all knowledge of it and excuse you on the grounds of mental incompetence brought on by extreme old age. And you can tell your friend Plancina that there will be no deal!
Livia:What a spineless, miserable, mean-spirited creature you are!
Livia:He won't have it. He won't acquit your husband. There is too much feeling against him.
Plancina:And what about me?
Tiberius:Well, I was a little more successful there. In exchange for the letter, he will allow your husband to take his own life rather than face execution. Then he will see to it that you are spared and that your family and your estates do not suffer.
Plancina:And if my husband refuses?
Livia:Well, I would see to it that he doesn't refuse if I were you. It shouldn't be hard. Appeal to his sense of honor. Men find that irresistible.
Plancina:And what guarantee do I have that your son will get me acquitted?
Livia:Well, you see, I have Martina. But he doesn't know that. Now, his chances of convicting you without her are remote. On the other hand... if that letter is read, I shall be compelled, very reluctantly, to produce her.
7 - Cover-Up
Plancina:He won't help us. He has abandoned us.
Piso:Oh, that... that miserable cur! Well, I shall read this letter. The Senate will see what sort of Emperor they have and what sort of bitch gave him birth and calls herself "Mother of the nation"!
Plancina:No, no, no, wait, wait, Piso, listen to me. We can't fight them. They're too powerful. And, anyway, there's the children and the estates. Is the whole family to be destroyed because of us? Oh, I can't believe it. It's not right. I won't allow it. We've lived together... we'll die together too. Oh, there's comfort in that, isn't there?
Piso:You would...die with me?
Plancina:Well, I couldn't live without you. We'll leave the letter for Livia. She'll help the family when we've gone. I know that.
Piso:Yes, you're right. I'm tired of it all. To have everybody against you when all you've done is your duty. There's no gratitude anymore. No... No honor. To hell with Rome, I've done with it. How shall we do it? Open a vein? Let them find us lying together? Shall we let them find us lying together? ... No, they're bluffing. They wouldn't dare have that letter read!
Plancina:Would you rather have an executioner's sword on your neck like a common criminal?
Piso:It'll never come to that!
Plancina:Oh, you coward! Well, I'm made of sterner stuff.
Plancina:I'll show you how a Roman should die.
Piso:Plancina, they're bluffing. They'll never have that letter read, Plancina, they'll never...
Agrippina:Yes. Piso is dead, but Plancina goes free. And you call that justice?
Claudius:Well, it's s-s-some justice, I suppose. Better than none.
Agrippina:Oh, yes. Some justice!
Antonia:Pina, can't we let it rest now?
Agrippina:I have sons to think about. Their father is dead because Tiberius hated him. Oh, let's not deceive ourselves. And if he hated their father, will he love them any more? I worry about my boys - Nero, Drusus, and dear little Caligula asleep in his bed. What's to become of them?
Castor:It's Sejanus. My father listens to everything he says and Sejanus plays on his fears.
Herod:Can anyone smell burning?
Claudius:I can smell s-s-something.
Slave:Mistress! Mistress! Caligula's set fire to the house! It's burning. The whole top floor is ablaze! Run!
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 7
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1 - Queen of Heaven
Claudius:Beautiful. Lollia! Where did you find her?
Lollia:We saw her first in Antioch a year ago when Titus was on duty there. We thought her so superb that Titus paid for her to tour through the provinces. And now, my dear friends, the entertainment is over.
Claudius:She was w-wonderful. And a b-b-beautiful dinner.
Lollia:Thank you Claudius, but I wasn't inviting a compliment. It's just that I have something to perform. And I've brought you here, as some of our dearest friends, to be with me when I do it.
Titus:What's this, Lollia? A surprise for me too?
Lollia:Yes, my dear, it is.
Titus:She never tells me anything. Very naughty my dear to plan a surprise for our guests and not tell your husband.
Lollia:You know that I love you very much?
Titus:Now I'm really worried. This is going to cost me a fortune! What have you bought? How much have you spent?
Lollia:Nothing. For once, I've spent nothing. You may remember that a week ago tonight, we went to a dinner at the Palace given by the Emperor.
Titus:Of course.
Lollia:You may also remember, though perhaps you didn't notice, that Tiberius was fascinated by our daughter.
Titus:Well, I must admit, I saw him looking at Camilla once or twice.
Lollia:What you don't know is that she received a summons to the palace the next day.
Titus:What? A summons? You never told me.
Lollia:No, I thought it best not to put you in a position where you'd object.
Titus:What is this, Lollia? What are you telling me?
Lollia:A summons to the Emperor is not something to be refused, but naturally I wouldn't let my daughter go alone, knowing his reputation. So I went with her. We were admitted into a room I imagine he keeps for such receptions. I'd never been into that room before, nor met anyone who had. The walls were hung with what I suppose the Emperor imagines is erotic art. They depict scenes of incredible beastliness - not fit for anyone to look at, let alone a young girl
Titus:Lollia, what's the matter with you? Why are you telling me this now in front of all our friends?
Lollia:These are not just friends. They're all, in their different ways, important people in Rome. That's why they're here tonight. He took Camilla up to the wall to show her the paintings and talked about them as if they were works of art. And when I objected and told him he should be ashamed of himself for trying to corrupt a young girl, he simply smiled and said, "And what about an old one?"
Lollia:No, Titus, please. Then he clapped his hands, and a slave appeared from another room carrying a tray of wine. The slave was naked... and while Tiberius spoke to her, he stroked the slave... I suppose, in his twisted way, he thought it might inflame my daughter's passions. But Camilla burst into tears and begged to be allowed to leave. He then pretended to be upset and complained that she'd given him a different impression on the night of the dinner. He then turned to me and told me to go home.
Titus:I won't have you repeat anymore!
Lollia:No, Titus.
Titus:No, enough.
Lollia:Let me finish! If I'd had this with me then, I'd have used it on him. Instead, I begged a moment with him alone. He granted it. And there, I offered myself in my daughter's place. Yes, Titus, my husband... to save my daughter, I offered myself in her place. And he accepted. My dear, that was nothing for me to save her. I took her to the gate... and warned her not to say anything to anyone... and then returned.
Titus:Don't, Lollia, please, please don't go on...
Lollia:I've nearly finished. I said that to prostitute myself for my daughter was nothing. What wouldn't we do to save our children? I should have gone to the gate... into the room, out again... No one would have been the wiser. I did go into that room. I was there subjected to... acts of... such abominable filth... to bestial obscenities... with him and his slaves of both sexes... that mere prostitution seems like a blessed state compared to it.
Agrippina:You must forget, Lollia. You must put it from your mind. You've saved your husband and your daughter. That's enough.
Lollia:No, Agrippina, that is not possible! If there'd been just one part of me befouled by his lust, I should have come home and cut it out! With this knife! But I can't live with the memory of what he did to me. Nor can I get into my husband's bed again. Nor have his arms around me. Nor feel the love he's had for me all these years without... without the memory of that beast... and his beasts, coming between us. If I could... cut... from my mind!
Titus:Lollia! Lollia.
Soldier:Make way, there! Move aside for the Emperor! Don't block the road! Make way, there! Stand aside! Clear the road for the Emperor! Make way!
Livia:Well, well! Is it my son who greets his mother with such affectionate eagerness?
Tiberius:Good day, Mother.
Livia:In a hurry, are you? What is it, another treason trial? Who is it today?
Tiberius:There are no trials today, Mother.
Livia:Slipped up have you? Ran out of people to prosecute? Well, perhaps you'll have more time to spend with your mother.
Tiberius:There is no need to shout, I'm not deaf.
Livia:You've been deaf to me for years. Why did you refuse the ambassador's from Spain permission to erect a temple to me?
Tiberius:I will not discuss such matters in the street. Good day, Mother. Move on. Good day.
Livia:It's my birthday next month! What are you going to buy me? I heard about Lollia! Disgusting! Your brother Drusus was worth ten of you!
2 - Playing with Fire
Tiberius:Thrasyllus! Where is that damned astrologer?
Thrasyllus:Coming, Excellency, coming.
Tiberius:I want you to cast my Mother's horoscope.
Thrasyllus:Your Mothers? What for?
Tiberius:Because I want to know how much longer I have to put up with her, that's whats for.
Thrasyllus:Do you know the exact time of her birth?
Tiberius:Well, of course, I don't.
Thrasyllus:Well, then I can only do a rough calculation.
Sejanus:Why don't you ask her? It's her birthday soon. You could tell her son wants to make a present of her horoscope.
Tiberius:Oh yes, she'd like that. She's had a great admiration for you ever since you prophesied she'd outlive her husband.
Thrasyllus:That was obvious. I could see she had every intention of doing so. Still, I'll go and ask her for an interview. What is she, Leo? That's hopeful. There's a bad time coming up for Leo soon. I'll go and see her.
Tiberius:I wish I'd stayed in Rhodes. I wish I'd never returned.
Sejanus:Someone must govern. Rome is fortunate that she has you.
Tiberius:Yes. And I'm fortunate in you, Sejanus. You're my eyes and my ears. If it wasn't for you to relieve me of some of my burden... What have we here?
Sejanus:Verbatim reports of conversations taken down by my agents. Some are merely vicious. Others are treasonable.
Tiberius:Doesn't anybody in this city ever say anything that isn't either vicious or treasonable? The last two years, we've had more treason trials than in the whole of the previous ten!
Sejanus:There is one I think you should look at.
Tiberius:Silius Caecina?
Tiberius:Wasn't he the corps commander on the Upper Rhine?
Sejanus:That's the point. "Had it not been for the way I handled my four regiments, they would have mutinied too."
Tiberius:He said that?
Sejanus:At a dinner party.
Tiberius:Well, what did he mean by it?
Sejanus:Well, he went on to say that if his regiments had joined the mutiny, Tiberius would not be Emperor now. He implies, of course, that you owe your position to him.
Tiberius:Oh, well, he'd had too much wine. You know what these old soldiers are like. They like to fight over all their old battles after dinner.
Sejanus:I think there may be more to it than that. But perhaps it's not important.
Tiberius:Well, what do you mean?
Thrasyllus:Oh, only that he went on to say, as you'd have seen lower down, that the regiments that did mutiny were that ones that had been under your command for so long. But he probably only said it because Agrippina was there. An after dinner compliment to her late husband whose regiments, of course, remained loyal.
Tiberius:Agrippina was at the dinner? Agrippina!
Guard:The noble Gaius Caligula to see the Emperor!
Tiberius:What do you want? Can't you see that I'm busy!
Caligula:I brought you a present.
Tiberius:A present? What sort of a present?
Caligula:It took me a year to find it. When I heard about it, I said, "That is for my great Uncle Tiberius". Happy anniversary!
Tiberius:What of?
Caligula:Well, what difference does it make? Can't you think of something... That's nothing. Wait till you see the others.
Tiberius:Where did you get this?
Caligula:Elephantis. A merchant I know who travels between Egypt and Rome told me about it and I asked him to get it for me. It cost quite a lot. To tell the truth, it cost so much I had to borrow part of it from Uncle Claudius! It's 200 years old.
Tiberius:It was very thoughtful of you.
Caligula:I knew you'd like it. In fact, I'd like to borrow it myself sometime. I mean, when you're not using it.
Sejanus:I would like you to examine the evidence to see if there's a case for impeaching Silius Caecina in the Senate.
Varro:On a charge of treason?
Varro:For insulting references towards the Emperor?
Sejanus:Why not?
Varro:Well, I agree, why not. But blasphemies against Augustus have been held to be treasonable, but against Tiberius, there's no precedent for it.
Guard:The Emperor's noble son Tiberius Drusus Caesar!
Sejanus:Castor, how nice to see you. Welcome back.
Castor:I'm Castor to my friends, Sejanus.
Sejanus:I had hoped you'd count me among your friends. Perhaps you will one day.
Castor:That seems to me unlikely.
Sejanus:Your father doesn't wish to be disturbed.
Castor:Announce me, you filthy German pig, or I'll have you flogged and sent back to the mud huts from which you came!
Sejanus:Never mind precedent. I want Silius Caecina impeached on a charge of treason.
Varro:He has a great war record and he has powerful friends - the Lady Agrippina for one.
Sejanus:Would you prefer I found someone else to prosecute him?
Varro:No, no, no.
Sejanus:Then you will you take the case?
Varro:Of course. I was, to some extent, just clearing my mind.
3 - Secret Affair
Castor:Germanicus was never your enemy!
Tiberius:I tell you he was my enemy! I know what his ambitions were. I have the proof here in the files. And I know how his widow conspires against me now.
Castor:Proof? From Sejanus?
Tiberius:Yes! From Sejanus. Well, he at least, unlike my son, keeps me informed of what goes on in this city!
Castor:Oh, Father, open your eyes! The man is using you. You know nothing he doesn't want you to know and you see no one he doesn't want you to see.
Tiberius:He is the partner of my labors.
Castor:Yes. And soon he'll be your colleague, but even that won't be enough for him. That man has an apetite for power unknown to you and me.
Tiberius:Envy! Envy! You envy him because for years he worked while you and that Judean friend of yours, Herod, spent your days and nights whoring around the city! He worked to relieve me of some my labors!
Castor:Well, that's true, but if you think he's working for you, you're mistaken. He's working for himself, and how hard he works!
Tiberius:Have you finished?
Castor:No, I have not finished! His statue is now to be seen in Pompey theatre and replicas of it are to be found all over Rome! He's built a network of spies that have spread like an infection through the city. Well, don't you see? He's building a prison here, stone by stone, and one day, when you're gone, we'll all wake up and find the doors locked and the bolts down!
Tiberius:Did you have a report to make on the coastal defenses?
Tiberius:Well, then, make it!
Castor:He's interested in nothing nowadays except treason trials and pornographic books. You know, he had one with him. I think Caligula had bought it for him.
Livilla:They seem to get on well, those two.
Castor:Yes, that young man gives me the shudders. How Germanicus and Agrippina could've ever produced him, I don't know.
Livilla:Did you quarrel with your father?
Castor:We had an argument over Sejanus. I mean, he's blind to that man's ambition.
Livilla:Don't you think you exaggerate?
Livilla:Well, what can he aspire to - a commander of the guard?
Castor:I sometimes think he aspires to sit where my father sits. He doesn't realize how much he's frown to depend upon him. He seeks his advice on everything.
Livilla:Why don't you go to sleep?
Castor:I don't know why I'm so tired.
Livilla:You've had a long journey.
Helen:I came to say goodnight, Father.
Helen:I'm glad you're back.
Castor:I'm sorry I was so tired. I really can't keep awake.
Helen:You'll feel better in the morning. Goodnight, Mother.
Livilla:Goodnight, Helen.
Castor:She's becoming very beautiful
Livilla:Yes. Her skin's not all that it should be though.
Castor:You too are looking beautiful
Livilla:Thank you.
Castor:Why don't you stay?
Livilla:Not tonight. You're tired. You'll sleep better alone.
Castor:Yes, you're right. I really can't keep my eyes open.
Sejanus:Is he asleep?
Sejanus:Is he fast asleep?
Livilla:Yes. Quick, please.
Sejanus:No, wait. Don't be in such a hurry. It's much better if you wait. Did you do as I said?
Sejanus:Put it in his wine?
Livilla:Yes, it worked. He'll sleep till morning. I thought you'd never get here. What are we going to do?
Sejanus:Do? We're going to make love for the last time.
Livilla:Last time?
Livilla:No. No! I couldn't bear it! I couldn't bear it!
Livilla:He'll go away again.
Sejanus:It's too much of a risk. Be sensible. If we go on like this we're bound to be discovered. It's too dangerous. Be sensible.
Livilla:How can you be sensible? I don't think you love me, not really.
Sejanus:I love you too much to risk exposing you to a charge of adultery. Don't tempt me, my darling. Help me.
Livilla:We could still meet.
Livilla:I could do what I did tonight.
Sejanus:Drug his wine? He'll begin to grow suspicious if he falls asleep every night. Besides, his body would grow accustomed to it and it will gradually cease to have any affect. And then, my darling, one night - in your eagerness to see him sleep - you might kill him.
Livilla:Would a large dose really kill him?
Sejanus:What are you saying?
Livilla:I can't live without you. I can't. I can't. I think I'd die if you didn't come into my bed every night. It's such a little step to take from making him sleep at night to making him sleep forever.
Sejanus:Then, you'll need something stronger. Something that can be used in small doses that will never detected.
Livilla:Get it for me.
Sejanus:Are you sure?
Livilla:Yes! Yes! Are you?
Sejanus:If you are.
Livilla:And afterwards?
Sejanus:I'll divorce my wife and we'll get married. And then I'll have you all to myself. No more lovers for you, then. You'll have to behave.
Livilla:And if I don't?
Sejanus:If you don't? Then I'll lock you in a room without any clothes, and I'll visit you three or four times a day.
Livilla:Perhaps you'll be too tired. Perhaps you'll only manage once.
Sejanus:Then I'll send my guards to stand in for me.
Livilla:Would you really?
Livilla:How many?
Sejanus:Three or four.
Livilla:I might not let them.
Sejanus:You'll be forced.
Livilla:Against my will?
Livilla:While you were there?
Livilla:I'd struggle and scream.
Sejanus:But no use.
Livilla:You'd like that, wouldn't you?
4 - All Is Not Right in Rome
Claudius:Herod. Castor?
Herod:What's your hurry?
Claudius:Oh, yes. Look at this. It came this morning.
Herod:"The Lady Livia Augustus expects her dear grandson Tiberius Claudius Drusus to dine with her on the occasion of her birthday. She hopes that he's in good health."
Claudius:Yes, but w-what can it mean?
Herod:What it says, I imagine. I should take your own wine, if I were you.
Claudius:It's no joke, Herod. I'm very nervous. I mean, she never invites me. We haven't even spoken for seven years. You know, the last time she spoke to me was when Caligula burned the house down. Then all she said was, "If you haven't got a bucket, p-piss on it!"
Herod:I remember. Your family are all lunatics, you know that, don't you?
Claudius:Well, in that case, why don't you go back to your own family in Judea?
Herod:Because I prefer lunatics I know to ones I don't.
Castor:Where are you off to now?
Claudius:To find myself a present for Grandmother.
Castor:Well, what about one of these?
Claudius:Hey, I know that face! Who is it?
Herod:He knows that face! Wonderful! Claudius, people know that face better than they know their own!
Claudius:Is it Sejanus?
Castor:It's a replica of the head of the statue they've erected to him at Pompey Theatre. Everyone's buying them.
Herod:Everybody had better buy them!
Herod:Here, have one.
Claudius:N-no, thanks. I've got nowhere to put it. Oh, don't be obvious, Herod. You're very tedious when you're obvious. I must go. Castor, you're not looking well
Castor:No, I don't feel well. I've not been well since I returned.
Claudius:How's my sister? I invited her to a p-public reading of my work while you were away, but she never came.
Herod:Well, Livilla's tastes have never been literary.
Claudius:Well, you never came either.
Herod:Well, that's because mine always were.
Claudius:Herod, you're talented but d-dull. I must go.
Castor:What a dear, divine fool my cousin is. And how nervous everything makes him.
Herod:If I'd been asked to dinner with your grandmother, I'd be nervous too. He's right, you know. You really don't look well.
Castor:Oh, it'll pass. You worry so much.
Castor:Halt! Silius Caecina. What's this?
Silius Caecina:I'm to be arrested, it seems.
Castor:By whose order?
Varro:By order of the State Senate.
Castor:On what grounds?
Varro:On the grounds of treason. Gaius Silius Caecina is to be impeached before the Senate.
Silius Caecina:It seems I made some defamatory remarks about your father. I don't recall them.
Castor:Now, this must be some sort of joke, Varro. You'll be laughed out of the house.
Varro:I don't think so. Please stand aside, sir. I'm on state business and may not be interfered with even by the Emperor's son.
Tiberius:O divine Augustus, take these offerings I beg, poor as they are and help me, your unworthy successor to rule wisely in your place. And help me too, oh my father, divine ruler of the world... to calm the raging spirit inside me, and lighten the dark shadows of my soul.. and bring me peace. Peace.
Agrippina:Hypocrite. Hypocrite. You sacrifice to Augustus, but you persecute his grandchildren.
Tiberius:What grandchildren do I persecute that he himself did not persecute?
Agrippina:I'm not talking of my brother Postumus. I'm talking of me. Of me! All my friends, one by one, you either banish or you charge them with treason. And their only crime is friendship for me. Even Lollia, whom you could find nothing against, you degraded and humiliated till she took her own life! And now you've arrested Silius Caecina.
Tiberius:And if you are not queen, my dear, have I done you wrong?
Agrippina:Oh, why do you persist in this childish belief that I want to be queen? Is it because you need to find reasons for the way you treat me?
Tiberius:And how do I treat you?
Agrippina:You persecute me!
Tiberius:I will not be screamed at even by the granddaughter of Augustus! Silius Caecina is charged with treasonable utterances.
Tiberius:What brings the Emperorship into disrepute undermines the foundations of the state.
Agrippina:Tiberius... perhaps I do you wrong in thinking you persecute me because of my friends. But you too do me wrong in thinking me ambitious. I'm tired. Since Germanicus died, I've hardly known what to do with myself. All I want is to be left alone... and...
Agrippina:Be good to my children.
Tiberius:Have I not been good to them?
Agrippina:Oh, to Caligula, perhaps, but to Nero and Drusus, you're cold and never enquire after them. Oh, Tiberius, let's not fight one another all the time.
Tiberius:As for your children, they are guiltless of any crime. I will look upon them as friends. As for you... I will never forget what you made me do to Piso.
5 - Birthday Surprise
Slave:Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus.
Claudius:Happy b-b-birthday, Grandmother.
Livia:Oh, is that for me?
Claudius:Yes. It's a v-v-vase. From India.
Livia:How very pretty. And from such a distant place. It's a pity we never got that far. So many fine things we could have picked up cheap. Sit down, my dear, and eat something.
Claudius:T-t-to you, Grandmother.
Caligula:Staking everything on one throw, Uncle Claudius?
Livia:Hold your tongue. That was a very polite gesture of confidence in me and was much appreciated.
Claudius:Have you had l-lots of lovely presents, Grandmother?
Livia:Several, my dear. And Thrasyllus has drawn me the most detailed horoscope for my birthday. Such work has gone into it. Amazing.
Thrasyllus:A horoscope full of incident and prophecy. I was amazed at it myself.
Livia:It was a present from Tiberius. Wasn't that nice of him? Of course, what he really wanted to know is how much longer I'm going to live.
Thrasyllus:I assure you...
Livia:Oh, shut up. It's a foolish mother who doesn't know her son.
Claudius:And d-did he find out?
Livia:Oh, yes, yes. I shall die soon. Next year sometime. My son will be relieved.
Thrasyllus:I shall tell him nothing. It would be an unforgivable breach of professional ethics.
Livia:You're a liar. Like all good astrologers, you're a liar. You can go now. They tell the truth about the future, but they lie their way out of the present.
Thrasyllus:Lady, let me reassure you, I could be wrong. If your Mother was mistaken over the exact time of your birth by so much as a fraction, it could mean another ten years of life.
Livia:You see, they can't resist it. They're all so insecure, these astrologers. They also want to be loved. Go away, Thrasyllus, you'll get no love here. What are you grinning at, monster? You are a monster, aren't you?
Caligula:Whatever you say, Great Grandmother. Did you know your nephew was a monster, Claudius?
Claudius:Oh, is he old enough to have acquired that t-title?
Livia:Oh, he started very young, didn't you, monster? I searched his room one day and I found a little green talisman that told me a very remarkable story - or rather confirmed one I'd heard from another quarter.
Claudius:A g-green talisman? Like my brother wore?
Livia:The one your brother wore.
Caligula:Do you think it's safe that Uncle Claudius should be told my secret? Or are you going to poison him?
Livia:Oh, he's quite safe. And remember this, monster, your Uncle Claudius here is a phenomenon. He's so old fashioned that because he's sworn to protect his brother's children, he will never harm you. And remember this too, Thrasyllus has prophesied that he will avenge your death, so you cannot harm him.
Caligula:I didn't think much of that prophecy.
Livia:Never mind what you thought, just remember it. Now you may kiss me and go. I want to talk to Claudius in private.
Caligula:Goodnight, Great Grandmother. Goodnight, Uncle.
Livia:My body fascinates him because it's so old. You'd think it would repel him, wouldn't you?
Claudius:Why do you allow him such f-f-familiarity?
Livia:Because it pleases him. And because he will be the next Emperor. You don't believe me, do you?
Claudius:If you say so, Grandmother. You know I don't concern myself with high politics, but still what about Castor? And Caligula has two older brothers.
Livia:Castor is ill and Thrasyllus says he won't recover. He also says that Tiberius will choose Caligula to succeed him.
Livia:Vanity. Tiberius wants to be loved - at least after his death if not before. And the best way to ensure that...
Claudius:Is to have someone w-worse to follow him. Yes, naturally. Well, he's certainly no fool.
Livia:He's the biggest fool in my family. I always thought that that was you... but I think now I was wrong.
Claudius:Grandmother, after all these years, you didn't invite me to dinner just to tell me this.
Livia:The wine has made you bold, hasn't it.
Claudius:You said you kept in with Caligula because he was to be the next Emperor.
Livia:Lost your stutter too, I see.
Claudius:But if by then you're dead, what difference can it make to you?
Livia:Oh, it makes a lot of difference. And that's really why you're here. I want to be a goddess, Claudius. Thrasyllus says he's sure I will be, which means he's not sure at all, he just thinks I will.
Claudius:Why are you so anxious to become a goddess?
Livia:Oh, don't you understand? Claudius, do you believe that the souls of great criminals suffer eternal torment?
Livia:But that the immortal gods, whatever crimes they have committed, are free from fear of punishment?
Claudius:Of course. Jove deposed his father, killed one of his grandsons and incestuously married his own sister. He's the greatest god of all
Livia:I've done many terrible things, Claudius. Well, no ruler could do otherwise. But I've always put the good of the Empire above all else. Well, who saved Rome from civil war again? I did. Augustus would have plunged us into it time and again with his ridiculous favoritism. He set Agrippa against Marcellus, Gaius against Tiberius, Tiberius against Postumus. There was no end to his follies. And it fell to me to... remove them - one by one. Don't say you never suspected. That's why I tolerate Caligula. He's sworn, if I keep his secret... he'll make me a goddess as soon as he becomes Emperor. Now, you too must swear that you'll do everything you can to see that it happens. Don't you see? If he doesn't make me a goddess, I'll be in hell. Hell, suffering torments day and night, year after year after year.
Claudius:Grandmother, p-please don't distress yourself. Of course I'll do what I can.
Livia:Oh, thank you.
Claudius:On one small condition. You see, there's so much I want to know. I'm an historian and I want to know the truth. When people die, so much dies with them, and all that's left is just pieces of paper that tell lies. Lies, lies.
Livia:He wants to know the truth and he calls it a small condition.
Claudius:Grandmother, who killed Marcellus?
Livia:I did. The Empire needed Agrippa more than it needed Marcellus. And then I poisoned Agrippa later because I knew that his wife was in love with Tiberius, and if Tiberius married her, Augustus would make him Emperor. My son botched that up, of course.
Claudius:And J-Julia's sons by Agrippa. How did they die?
Livia:Gaius I had poisoned when he was in Syria.
Claudius:You have a long reach.
Livia:The Empire's very large. I need one. Lucius was drowned in a boating accident arranged by his friend Plautius.
Claudius:And Postumus?
Livia:You were very fond of him, weren't you?
Claudius:Yes, Grandmother.
Livia:He was useless. I had to get rid of Postumus. He was a threat to Tiberius. Besides, he knew I'd had his mother banished.
Claudius:And what about my father, who was your son, and Germanicus, who was my dear brother - did you poison them?
Livia:No. Your father died of his wound. And Plancina poisoned Germanicus without instructions from me. But I'd marked them both down for death.
Livia:They were both infected with that infantile disorder known as Republicanism.
Claudius:So was I.
Livia:Yes, but you didn't count.
Claudius:If I ever had the opportunity, do you know the first thing I'd do? Would be to restore the Republic.
Livia:Then you are a fool, after all
Claudius:And what about Augustus? Did you poison him?
Livia:Yes. Yes, I did. I smeared the poison on the figs while they were still on the tree. I had no choice. He would only eat them if he'd picked them himself. It took me all night to do it.
Claudius:How could you have done that, Grandmother, when you'd lived with him for so long?
Livia:Yes. That was hard. Very hard. That was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Oh, you've made me tired with all your questions. You must go away. Take this. Read it sometime. That is a collection of Sibylline verses rejected from the official book.
Livia:Because it's prophesied there that you will one day be Emperor.
Claudius:Oh... [laughs]
Livia:Yes. You.
Claudius:Anything you say, Grandmother.
Livia:You won't forget your promise?
Claudius:No, I won't. If I can become Emperor, you can certainly become the Queen of Heaven!
6 - Fooling the Fool
Guard:The noble Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus
Sejanus:Claudius, my dear fellow. How nice to see you.
Claudius:I w-was on my way to see Castor. I'm told he's v-very bad.
Sejanus:Yes, but he'll recover, I'm sure. Your sister is taking such good care of him. Actually, I wanted to have a word with you.
Claudius:What about?
Sejanus:This may seem an odd question to put to a husband, but did you know your wife was pregnant?
Claudius:No. N-n-no, I d-didn't. How do you know?
Sejanus:I know.
Claudius:Well, it's n-nothing to do with me. We haven't even s-spoken for a long time.
Sejanus:You'll have to divorce her now.
Claudius:What for?
Sejanus:Well, you can't be married to a woman who's going to bear someone else's child. What an eccentric fellow you are. Your uncle will expect you to divorce her.
Claudius:Oh. Well, of course I'll d-d-divorce her.
Sejanus:Whom will you marry?
Claudius:M-marry? I'm just getting d-divorced.
Sejanus:Yes, but you won't want to live alone, will you?
Claudius:I was l-living alone all the time I was married.
Sejanus:Then it doesn't matter whether you marry or not.
Claudius:I'd rather not.
Sejanus:Nonsense. I have just the woman for you. She's beautiful, independent - she'll leave you alone as much as you like.
Claudius:W-who is she?
Sejanus:My sister. Aelia.
Claudius:Well, she w-wouldn't w-want to marry a lame, sick fool like me.
Sejanus:Oh, she wouldn't mind. Besides, you're the Emperor's nephew. That's a good alliance for my family. And on your side, you'll be my brother-in-law. I've spoken to the Emperor. He's given his consent.
Claudius:Oh, in that case, anything you say, Sejanus.
Sejanus:Good! Well, that's settled then.
Claudius:That's very decent of you, Sejanus. Thanks a lot.
Livilla:He's dying. Dying.
Herod:I asked to see the Emperor to convey my sympathies on the death of his son. He sent word he never wanted to see me again. A nod is as good as a wink from that direction!
Claudius:Where will you go, Herod? Back to Judea?
Herod:No, no. To Edom. My grandfather, Herod the Great came from there. It was your father, Lady, Mark Antony, who made him King of the Jews. He did them no favor, believe me. On the other hand, he did my grandfather no favor either, for the Jews are a quarrelsome people and drive all their rulers mad.
Claudius:And what will you do in Edom? I understand there's nothing there.
Herod:Oh, I shall.. You know. My Grandfather's domains were divided among his three surviving sons. That he had three left is a miracle for he murdered all the rest. I think he overlooked them!
Antonia:Sounds a colorful character.
Herod:If black is colorful, he was colorful. From there, I shall decide which of my three uncles is the safest touch and make my plans accordingly.
Antonia:You must marry, Herod.
Herod:I have someone in mind.
Antonia:A Roman?
Herod:No, Lady. We Jews believe in marrying only among ourselves.
Antonia:Then you're a very arrogant people.
Herod:Well, practical There are so many things we can't eat, no Gentile woman would stand it for a moment!
Agrippina:And what's this, Claudius, about a marriage for you?
Antonia:For Claudius? Why, he's already married.
Agrippina:But he's getting a divorce to marry Sejanus' sister. Isn't that right?
Antonia:Is this true?
Claudius:Well, I... S-S-Sejanus t-t...
Antonia:Oh, get it out!
Claudius:Well, my wife, Urganalilla, is apparently having a baby and it's not mine.
Antonia:It shouldn't think it is. You never see her.
Claudius:Well, that's the p-point. So Sejanus suggested I divorce her and m-m-marry his sister.
Antonia:I've never heard anything so monstrously wicked in all my life. You're an even bigger fool than I thought.
Claudius:Well, w-what difference does it make to me? I shan't be seeing her either.
Agrippina:You're a fool, Claudius. And Germanicus would have had no patience with you.
Agrippina:Can't you see the vile ambition that drives that man? Can't you see it's just another step on the way. By this marriage, he relates himself to the Imperial family. And then what? Livilla? Does he plan to marry her?
Antonia:Livilla? What has he to do with Livilla?
Agrippina:He's her lover.
Antonia:But Sejanus is married and has two children!
Agrippina:For heaven's sake, what kind of world do you think we're living in? I'm sorry. I'm upset. Castor's dead. Silius Caecina committed suicide this morning, even before the trial had ended. One by one my friends vanish. Where will it end? You've betrayed us!
Claudius:Oh, Pina...
Antonia:Why did you agree to it?
Claudius:Well.. He asked me.
Antonia:Is that all you can say? You blockhead!
Herod:No. He's not a blockhead. It's we who are the blockheads. If Sejanus had come to us with a proposal like that, we'd have given him his marching orders. But Claudius knows better. Claudius sways and bends with each little wind that blows.
Agrippina:By which you mean he's weak and cowardly.
Herod:Perhaps. But at least he's still here!
Narrator Claudius:But at least he's still here. Yes, still here. And they've all gone, every one of them. It's like a dream - dreamed by Livia sleeping fitfully down in hell. No. Livia is dying. Dying. The mother of the nation is dying.
7 - Broken Promise
Antonia:Livia is dying. She's sent for you. She wants to see you. Why, I can't imagine.
Claudius:But it was only a cold.
Antonia:It's settled on her lungs. She's sinking fast. And she's asked to see you. Well, are you going to sit there all night?
Claudius:I hear you're dying, Great Grandmother.
Livia:You won't forget your promise, will you?
Caligula:To make you a goddess? And what makes you think that a filthy smelly old woman like you could become a goddess? I don't need you any more, you see, Great Grandmother. My secret will die with you. You're going to stew in hell for ever and ever. Let me tell you something. Thrasyllus has made another prophecy. He told Tiberius. He said one who is going to die soon will become the greatest god the world has ever known. No temples to be dedicated to anyone but him in the whole Roman world. Not even to Augustus. And do you know who that one is? Me. Me! I shall become the greatest god of all, and I shall look down on you, suffering all the torments of hell, and I shall say... "Leave her there. Leave her there for ever and ever and ever." Goodbye, Great Grandmother.
Claudius:How are you, Grandmother? D-don't cry.
Livia:He was here... Caligula was here. He said he wouldn't make me a goddess.
Claudius:I'll see that he does, Grandmother.
Livia:He said... He said he'd leave me to stew in hell. I want to be a goddess, Claudius. I deserve it.
Claudius:You shall be the Queen of Heaven. I promise you.
Livia:Go on playing the fool, Claudius. Stay with me till I go. Put a coin in my mouth... to pay the ferryman... for the journey.
Claudius:Goodbye, Grandmother. Safe journey.
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 8
Back To Index
1 - Reign of Terror
Narrator Claudius: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 began. No one was safe... Sejanus arrested Agrippina, her eldest son Nero, and countless others besides. His ambition was limitless. He had divorced his wife... Apicata... and become my sister's.. Livilla's. ..lover - hoping to marry her. My mother remained curiously innocent of much that was going on, until one day, Apicata came to visit her. Sejanus had taken their children with him and Apicata 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.
Apicata:Will you speak to her? Will you ask her to persuade him to let me have them? To her, they'll only be a nuisance. They'll come between him and her. I can understand that. But to me they are everything. Everything.
Antonia:Understand this. That though my daughter has lived in my house since the death of her husband, we are not on friendly terms. I despise her though she is my daughter and I'll ask no favor of her. I despise that man I know to be her lover, and you too I despise for having married him knowing what he was. And now you complain because he treats you as were once content to see him treat others! You disgust me, all of you! You and people like you have made a sewer of Rome, fit only for rats to live in! Honor, service, duty mean nothing any more. Well, your children are everything to you? And what of Rome? All you are, you owe to Rome. But you've destroyed it, all of you, with your greedy ambition and your petty selfishness. Well, then enjoy what you've made of it, but don't come crying to me!
Apicata:I didn't come here to talk of Rome, but of my children. Rome can sink. I want my children! And if you won't help me freely, then I must tell you of something, Lady, that may compel you. I told you I knew much and more besides. Well, here it is. Your daughter's husband died no natural death. Castor was murdered by your daughter. Sejanus supplied the poison but she fed it to him. Believe me, that guilty pair are set upon a course that would lead them to a kingly crown - they'll settle for nothing less. If I go to Tiberius with this story, what then becomes of your precious family name?
Antonia:You're lying.
Antonia:What proof have you?
Apicata:Slaves that will talk freely, or under torture, of things seen and heard.
Antonia:Then why haven't you been to the Emperor before?
Apicata:Because Sejanus has the sorting of his mail and the sifting of his visitors, you should know that. To get to Tiberius would cost me my life and that's my last resort. Oh yes, he still reads people's wills when they leave everything to him. Not even Sejanus can prevent that. And if need be, that's the course I'll follow. Without my children, my life is nothing. Think carefully, Mark Antony's daughter. Guard your family name. Let the lovers have their crown, what is that to us? But get me back my children!
Claudius:Well, she certainly l-l-loves her children.
Antonia:Oh, you fool! Is that all you can find to say?
Claudius:No. What else do you w-want me to say?
Antonia:Do you believe her?
Claudius:N-n-no! Not a word of it. She's demented. Her mind's unhinged. Livilla's done some pretty d-dreadful things in her time, but I can't believe she'd do that.
Antonia:What dreadful things?
Claudius:Oh, uh, things. She connived at the b-banishment of Postumus. Ah, well, you know.
Antonia:No, I didn't know. How? Why wasn't I told?
Claudius:Well, it was all a s-secret. I'm the only one that knows. I think L-Livia m-m-made her do it.
Antonia:And why was it a secret from me and not from you?
Claudius:It's a l-l-long story, Mother.
2 - No Consent from the Emperor
Helen:Well, what am I to do now?
Livilla:We shall find someone else for you to marry. Stop blubbering, child! Do you think the affairs of state must take account of your marriage plans?
Livilla:What is it? She's crying because she can't now get married to Nero. I've told her we shall find someone else.
Antonia:Is that all you can think of Helen, your own thwarted pleasures? You'd do better to pray for his safety. Now, leave us. I want to talk to your mother.
Livilla:She thinks of nothing but marriage.
Antonia:And what do you think of?
Livilla:What does that mean?
Antonia:Is it true you intend to marry Aelius Sejanus?
Livilla:You've been talking to someone.
Antonia:Is it true?
Livilla:He's asked me to marry him, yes. And I've accepted. Why not? I'm tired of living alone.
Antonia:Do you live alone?
Livilla:I live here, you see whether or not I live alone.
Antonia:You live here but I don't keep track of your comings and goings.
Livilla:I am still a young woman, Mother. Castor died nearly five years ago. You can't expect me to live like a Vestal.
Antonia:I'm not talking of whose bed you climb in and out of. How and to whom you dispose of your body is your own affair, but marriage is different. Do I need to remind you whose child you are?
Livilla:I am in love with him, Mother... and he with me.
Antonia:He's using you.
Livilla:I don't wish to discuss it further!
Antonia:You're living in a fool's paradise if you think Tiberius will agree to it. Well, if you marry him, what will happen to his children?
Livilla:What do I care about his children?
Antonia:Apicata would like them to live with her.
Livilla:I see. You've been talking to Apicata.
Antonia:She came to see me. She would like you to persuade Sejanus to let her have the children back.
Livilla:He wouldn't do that. He's very fond of them.
Antonia:Won't you let her see them again, when she wants to? He's stopped her seeing them.
Livilla:What is that to me?
Antonia:I don't know. Perhaps one day, it might be a great deal.
Tiberius:I must tell you, I cannot allow you to marry Livilla. I've read your letter very carefully and given it a great deal of thought, but I'm afraid, in the end, the answer must be no.
Sejanus:May I know the reasons?
Tiberius:You're entitled to know them. Such a marriage would compel me to raise you to the most exalted rank.
Sejanus:You know, I've never looked for that.
Tiberius:Ah, I know that, but I would have no choice. Do you suppose that Livilla, once married to my son, would be content to grow old as the wife of a gentleman outside the Senate?
Sejanus:Well, you could ask her.
Tiberius:Like all women, her answer would be one thing before marriage and another after. Her brother, Germanicus, and her father Drusus, my brother, both held the highest offices of state. Don't you think there'd be a faction in Rome that would demand the same for you?
Sejanus:I have always said I have no wish to rise above my present rank.
Tiberius:But there are some who say that you've risen above them even without rank. You see, in envying you, they criticize me.
Sejanus:You say, on the one hand, I have too many friends, and on the other, I have too many enemies.
Tiberius:Well, is it untrue?
Sejanus:Well, if it is, I've made them in your service.
Tiberius:Oh, I know that.
Sejanus:I'm not complaining.
Tiberius:No, I know, but you're disappointed. Let me put another proposal to you. One that would excite less comment. Since Nero's arrest, his betrothal to Livilla's daughter must be considered at an end. Would you contemplate marriage with her?
Sejanus:With Helen?
Tiberius:Why not? Such an alliance with my family would be much more acceptable to me. Well, think about it. Now, who is it that wishes to see me?
Sejanus:Um... I have the list here. I've marked the ones I think you should see. The rest are of no consequence.
Tiberius:Well, those you've marked I'll see tomorrow. The rest you can send away. Well, you can deal with your problems yourself.
Sejanus:And Agrippina?
Tiberius:I'll see her now.
Sejanus:I take it you have no wish to see Nero?
Tiberius:Well, Thrasyllus, was I wise to deny him marriage with Livilla? Thrasyllus?
Thrasyllus:Wise, Excellency.
Tiberius:And to offer him her daughter instead?
Thrasyllus:He deserves it.
Tiberius:He's my right hand. Without him I'd be everybody's judge in Rome and the butt of everybody's hate. As it is, let him be the judge and him be the butt.
Tiberius:My dear, you look like a Greek tragedy.
Agrippina:And you look like a Roman farce.
Tiberius:That tongue of yours has cost you dear and will cost you dearer.
Agrippina:You pitiful worm-eaten old ruin! It's not my tongue that costs me dear, but the love people have for me and my family.
Tiberius:And how you have used that love against me!
Agrippina:Against you? Germanicus could have led the armies of the Rhine against you, but he was too noble. They proclaimed him Emperor when Augustus died, but he said Rome already had an Emperor. More fool him!
Tiberius:Every word you say makes my task easier.
Agrippina:Oh, don't pretend you ever found it hard to be vindictive. That you always were. But are you now so senile that you're blind to your own interests?
Tiberius:I'm not so senile that I'm blind to yours.
Agrippina:You're an old man, Tiberius, and you'll die soon. Where can you look for a successor except to the sons of Germanicus?
Tiberius:I've a grandson of my own - Livilla's boy.
Agrippina:Gemellus is a child. Rome isn't Egypt. Children don't rule because their fathers ruled. Rome must be governed by men, not infants.
Tiberius:I'll make my own arrangements, thank you!
Agrippina:You? Oh, you think you'll make them, but he'll make them. Sejanus - that black spider that sits on your shoulder squirting his poison in your ear. You think you rule in Rome? He rules in Rome! And the moment the last of my boys is dead, you'll know he rules in Rome.
Tiberius:My dear, how pretty you look when you look angry. It makes me sad to have to send you away. But a queen must have a domain and I've chosen yours. Do you know where I'm going to send you? To the island of Pandateria, where Julia, your mother, spent so many years in exile. You will inherit her kingdom. That's only just. Your greatest wish will be fulfilled. You will be queen after all. As for Nero, I'm sending him to Ponza. An island even smaller than yours. You will have to think how to govern these mighty empires. If you're lonely, I could come and call on you.
Agrippina:Blood-soaked mud you've been called and that's what you are.
Tiberius:Bring me a vine branch! This queen needs flogging before she goes!
3 - Unraveling Plans
Crowd:Here he is!
Sejanus:Gentlemen, if you will leave your names with my secretary, all your requests will be considered. Excuse me.
Attius:Commander, did you mention my case to the Emperor?
Sejanus:Every case was discussed. The Emperor's decision will be communicated to you in good time.
Attius:But you did promise...
Sejanus:Now, if you will excuse me.
Arria & Junius:Father, Father, Father, you're back!
Arria:I told you he'd be back today.
Junius:You only guessed, you didn't know.
Arria:Well, I was right. May we have dinner with you this afternoon? We've been very good, haven't we? We've done all our lessons.
Sejanus:Then you can have dinner with me this afternoon. And now go to your rooms. I have some work to do.
Junius:Father, why can't we see Mother again?
Sejanus:I told you I didn't wish to discuss that again. I'm very displeased that you disobey me.
Arria:She came here while you were away. The servants won't let her in. Oh, Father, please let her come and see us?
Sejanus:Go to your rooms. You have made me very angry.
Arria:Don't be angry. We didn't mean to make you angry, did we, Junius? Only we do miss her.
Slave:The Lady Livilla is here.
Livilla:What a pretty girl you're growing into, Arria.
Arria:Thank you.
Sejanus:Now, go to your rooms. We'll meet again at dinner.
Livilla:Did you ask him?
Livilla:What did he say?
Sejanus:He refused.
Livilla:Refused? But why?
Sejanus:He said you were too exalted for me. Well, in a way, you are.
Livilla:But we must marry. That's what we've planned, what we've waited for. Did he give any other reason?
Sejanus:He said you wouldn't be content that I remain in my present rank. He said it would foster dangerous jealousies.
Livilla:Then you must try again later.
Sejanus:I don't think so. I think we may have made a mistake in asking him. I think it may have made him suspicious.
Livilla:But he knows I have the right to marry again. Well, if he won't give his permission, we shall marry without it.
Sejanus:That might be dangerous.
Livilla:Then what are we to do? I want to be married. You promised me marriage! Have you changed your mind?
Sejanus:No, of course not.
Livilla:Well, does it suit you living the way we do? My darling, all that I have done, I have done for one reason. And that is to give us the right to be together. And that old goat is not going to stop us.
Sejanus:He did suggest something else.
Livilla:Something else?
Sejanus:He said... He said that he wasn't opposed in principle to a marriage link with his family. He suggested a marriage with your daughter.
Livilla:You bastard! You bastard! I'll kill you! I'll kill you!
Sejanus:Stop it!
Livilla:You swine!
Sejanus:Listen to me!
Livilla:You Filthy swine!
Sejanus:Will you stop it!
Sejanus:Will you listen to me! If that is only way we can be together, why not?
Livilla:You'd like that, wouldn't you? To be in bed with mother and daughter! You bastard! You filthy bastard!
Sejanus:Listen. Let's be practical
Livilla:Don't touch me!
Sejanus:Helen means nothing to me! But if Tiberius is agreeable to a marriage then why not? That solves our problem. I will be linked with the Imperial family. You will live with us. We'll be together.
Livilla:And do you think Helen will agree to all of this?
Sejanus:Helen will do as she's told. It will mean a break between us...
Livilla:A break?
Sejanus:Not for long, until the marriage so the people will think there's nothing between us. But after that it will be as though the marriage never happened.
Livilla:You'll service us both then, will you, like a stallion?
Sejanus:Don't talk like that! I love you! And don't spoil it. Everything is going as we planned. Agrippina and Nero have been banished. They won't return, I can promise you that. I'm having documents prepared that'll send Drusus the same way. In a few weeks, Tiberius will consent to his arrest. And that only leaves Caligula to deal with. When that happens, Tiberius will have no one to turn to but me. Now, let's be sensible. We have waited a long time. You know I am nothing without you. Let me talk to Helen. Let me persuade her. Trust me. That's all I ask.
Gallus:Once again, the Emperor writes from Capri demanding yet another arrest! First it was the Lady Agrippina and her eldest son, Nero Caesar, and now it is her second son, Drusus Caesar. No documents are produced for the Senate to investigate. Only our consent is asked for. Our signature. Like that of some compliant wife. Senators, my signature is not to be had for the asking. I was brought up to read a document before I signed it. You may do as you please.
Quaestor:Senators, I ask that the question be put for the arrest of Drusus Caesar.
Senate:No! Aye! Aye! Aye!
Drusus:I must see the Emperor! Those letters were forged!
Macro:Get in!
Drusus:They're not mine! Please! Let me see Sejanus, then! Please let me out! Please let me out!
Macro:If he makes too much noise, go in and quieten him. Otherwise, you don't open the door.
Guard:How do we feed him?
Macro:You don't.
4 - Uncovering Secrets
Caligula:Uncle Claudius! Uncle Claudius!
Claudius:C-Caligula. Where have you been?
Caligula:Staying at the house in Antium. I took some friends down there. Had a wonderful time.
Claudius:Have you heard D-Drusus has been arrested?
Caligula:Yes, it's a great shame, isn't it? Do you think they'll kill him?
Claudius:Well, d-doesn't it worry you? After all, he's your brother.
Caligula:I said it was a shame, didn't I?
Claudius:Listen. Caligula. I think you're in grave danger.
Caligula:Who from?
Claudius:Sshh! Tiberius.
Caligula:No, I don't think so. He's invited me to Capri.
Claudius:T-to C-Capri?
Caligula:Yes, to C-C-Capri. Yes.
Claudius:Are you going?
Caligula:Well, of course I am. Everyone has such a marvelous time. The stories I've heard. Do you believe them? They say he has little girls running around the gardens like wood nymphs, naked.
Claudius:What are you going to say to him?
Caligula:What about?
Claudius:About your mother and your t-t-two brothers.
Caligula:What on earth can I say to him?
Claudius:Well, damn it boy, doesn't it bother you?
Caligula:Well, yes, of course it does! I have to watch my step. He's very unpredictable these days.
Claudius:Listen, Cal.. Caligula, if you get the chance, you must s-speak up for them.
Caligula:Of course I shall. For Mother, anyway. To tell you the truth, I couldn't give a damn about Drusus and Nero.
Claudius:But they're your brothers.
Caligula:Yes, I know. But then you don't like Aunt Livilla and she is your sister. Now, I love my sisters, Uncle.
Claudius:Yes, I know. You know, you depress me unutterably s-sometimes. Goodbye.
Slave:Your wife, the Lady Aelia is here.
Claudius:My w-w-wife? What does she w-want?
Slave:Well, how should I know? She's not my wife.
Claudius:Well, don't be so damned r-rude! Anyway, show her in.
Aelia:Claudius. I heard you were in Rome. Why didn't you come and see me?
Claudius:Well, w-what for?
Aelia:What for? Well, shouldn't a husband be seen with his wife?
Claudius:Well, we're not exactly a husband and w-wife. But I'll come and see you if you like.
Aelia:Oh, don't flatter yourself. It's to your advantage to be seen with me. You may be a member of the Imperial family but you're not every woman's ideal husband. In fact you're not any woman's ideal husband.
Claudius:Did you come here j-just to tell me this?
Aelia:Oh, don't try and be clever with me. I came here to see your sister, and when I heard you were in Rome, I thought I'd let you know I was alive and well. Are you alive and well?
Claudius:I t-think so.
Aelia:You don't look either to me.
Claudius:Well, it's been a very trying time since I got here. You know my sister-in-law's been arrested?
Aelia:Oh, Agrippina, yes. Well, that's been coming for some time. You may thank your stars you're married to me. That's brought you under my brother's protection. So what are you doing in Rome?
Claudius:Oh, I came up to use the P-Pollio Library. I've just finished a history of Carthage. Would you like a copy?
Aelia:Are you being funny?
Claudius:Oh, Mother. Aelia has just called to see us.
Aelia:Well, I really came to see Livilla.
Antonia:Well, I should have been surprised if you'd called to see my son.
Aelia:He makes no effort to see me either, you know. It's an arrangement that suits us both.
Antonia:I'm sure it does. I find life very strange today. Those who are married live apart and those who aren't live together. It would seem that for the good of Rome, we should abolish marriage altogether.
Aelia:Well, your ideas are too advanced for me. Well, Livilla is waiting. Excuse me.
Antonia:What does she want with Livilla?
Claudius:Well, I don't know. Perhaps Sejanus sent her to find out how Helen was.
Antonia:Am I to understand that man is now paying court to my granddaughter?
Claudius:Well, he's had meetings with her. And he's not seeing Livilla anymore.
Antonia:What is wrong with Helen? The doctors don't seem to know.
Claudius:Well, perhaps it's just one of those women's complaints.
Antonia:Oh, don't be so ridiculous. What do you know of women's complaints? The girl's been in bed for a week!
Livilla:I want you to give him this. No one must see it, and tell him to destroy it when he's read it.
Aelia:How is Helen? Is she improving? What exactly is wrong with her? He's very anxious about her.
Livilla:He'd do better to be anxious about me.
Aelia:Oh, my dear, his feelings for you are unchanged, you must know that. His marriage to Helen is a marriage of convenience.
Livilla:But he promised to marry me. Do you think I'm going to stand by and see him marry my daughter?
Aelia:But if Tiberius...
Livilla:Oh, Tiberius! Tiberius! Tiberius won't live forever! Your brother belongs to me! Tell him not to forget that!
Aelia:He hasn't forgotten it. He loves you.
Livilla:He manages well enough without seeing me.
Aelia:Men are different.
Livilla:It's driving me to despair! I can't bear this separation.
Aelia:But it's only for a little while. And for appearance sake.
Claudius:Ah, Atticus, how's it coming?
Atticus:Ah, my dear sir, so well. So well! We've already completed twelve copies. It's going to be a wonderful edition. Have you ever seen such work? Look at this lettering. Oh, have you ever seen anything like it?
Claudius:Hmmm, it's very good but I don't like all this decoration. It's far too ornate.
Atticus:Oh, my dear sir, this decoration is fashionable. And, if I may say so, for a history of Carthage, what could be more apt than elephants?
Claudius:Yea, But I didn't ask for elephants.
Atticus:Yes, I know you didn't ask for elephants, but knowing your superb good taste, naturally I thought you'd agree.
Claudius:Well, I don't! This is a serious work. Just because I mention elephants into the text, why do we have to see them?
Atticus:But it's a motif.
Claudius:It's a d-damned s-silly motif! If I'd mention Hannibal's mistresses. I suppose you've drawn concubines all over the text too!
Atticus:Well, if you don't like elephants...
Claudius:No, I don't.
Atticus:Very well. No more elephants. Elephants are out. Our esteemed client disapproves of elephants, even your elephants, which, I may say, are exquisitely drawn. But if a client does not like elephants, we shall force no elephants upon him. You will re-work the entire edition. The copies won't be ready in time, of course.
Claudius:Well, I need one copy today. Very well I'll take one with elephants.
Atticus:Are you quite sure?
Claudius:Yes, yes, yes, I'm quite sure! Just g-get it for me!
Atticus:Ah, my dear Asinius Gallus, what a pleasure to see you. One History of Carthage with elephants. Our work for you is on time. Your copies will be ready in seven days.
Gallus:Good. Now, Claudius, what's this about a History of Carthage?
Claudius:Yes, I'm having one copied.
Atticus:Without elephants.
Claudius:I'll send you a copy.
Gallus:Did you read my essay on Pollio and Cicero?
Claudius:Yes. I didn't quite agree with it.
Gallus:Ah, well, walk with me to the Senate and tell me why not. Goodbye, Atticus.
Atticus:Goodbye. You will erase all trace of elephants, leaving only the bare text. Ah, what a feast for his readers!
5 - Going Too Far
Claudius:Gallus, I heard P-Pollio speak many times. He was a great orator, but he was no comparison with Cicero.
Gallus:Well, I'll have to say I think, as a fool, Cicero's speeches were pompous and contrived and he thought far too much of himself. And they must have sounded worse than they read.
Macro:Asinius Gallus? Lucius Asinius Gallus. I've a warrant signed by the Emperor for your arrest.
Gallus:My arrest? On what grounds?
Macro:Of inciting enmity between the Emperor and the commander of his guard, Lucius Aelius Sejanus.
Gallus:Is this a joke?
Macro:No joke.
Gallus:Better hurry with your history of Carthage, Claudius. There'll soon be no one left to read it.
Sejanus:Sign it.
Gallus:What is it?
Sejanus:A confession.
Gallus:To what?
Sejanus:Your conspiracy with Drusus to subvert the armies of the Rhine.
Sejanus:Sign it.
Gallus:You wrote it, you sign it.
Sejanus:Sign it. You will before we've finished with you.
Gallus:I'll sign nothing for you to produce after I'm dead. Bring me to trial or murder me and take the consequences.
Sejanus:There will be no trial. I have no need of a trial to prove your guilt.
Gallus:A song sung by every small-town corrupt policeman, which is what you are and what you should have stayed. I've watched your career with fascination, Sejanus. It's been a revelation to me. I never fully realized before how a small mind, allied to unlimited ambition, and without scruple can destroy a country full of clever men. I've seen how frail is the structure of a civilization before the onslaught of a gust of really bad breath! ... Yes. But I suppose you're not really the destroyer. We must look elsewhere for that. You're merely the putrefaction that spreads after death - the outward and visible sign of its presence. ... You're a lesson in history to me, Sejanus. Proving that above all.. mankind needs...its sense...of smell.
Sejanus:Bring him round. We'll start again.
Claudius:They've arrested Asinius Gallus on the steps of the Senate.
Antonia:Read this.
Claudius:I was there when it happened.
Antonia:Read it!
Claudius:Why? Why? What is it? What are they? Hmm? I don't understand. It's Livilla's writing.
Antonia:Read them!
Antonia:They poisoned Castor. Both of them. Apicata was right. With his help, my daughter murdered her husband. She reminds him of it there! And now she urges him to waste no more time but assassinate Tiberius and take over the state. It'll be easy, she says, every guard owes allegiance to him.
Claudius:B-but what are these?
Antonia:Isn't it obvious? Drafts of the letter she wrote him. Oh, I can see how difficult it would be to write. How she crawls and grovels to him!
Claudius:But how did y-you find them?
Antonia:A slave was clearing out her room - he was taking it all to the furnace. Perfectly good paper, most of it, hardly written on. Oh, I thank the gods for my habits of thrift. Oh, he's wicked, but she's worse. She is monstrous, monstrous! And I gave her birth... She's poisoning Helen.
Claudius:Oh, Mother!
Antonia:She's poisoning her, I tell you. Slowly, bit by bit, she is poisoning her. She's obsessed with that man and she will stop at nothing to get him.
Claudius:Oh, what should we do?
Antonia:Tiberius must be told.
Claudius:D-do you want people to know that your own daughter...? Anyway, nobody sees Tiberius or writes to him without going through Sejanus.
Antonia:What's that thing you're writing?
Claudius:Thing? Do you mean my History of Carthage?
Antonia:Yes. Is it finished?
Claudius:Oh, yes. I was having it copied. I just brought one copy home. W-would you like to read it?
Antonia:No, I'll tell you what you must do. You must go to Sejanus and ask permission to visit Tiberius at Capri. Tell him you want to ask Tiberius' consent to dedicate the work to him. Sejanus will allow it, I'm sure. He has nothing but contempt for you anyway. He'll suspect nothing.
Claudius:Oh, thank you.
Antonia:Those pieces of paper must be pasted in a scroll together with a letter of mine, and you will tell Tiberius to open that one first.
Claudius:I suppose I could, but I didn't want to give him this copy. It's got elephants drawn all over it.
Antonia:You are the biggest fool any mother was ever punished with. Who cares about your stupid history? Nobody is going to read it anyway, and certainly not Tiberius! The only way you would get him to read it is if you drew naked women all over it, then he'd only look at the pictures!
6 - Cleansing Rome
Caligula:What? Uncle Claudius! Why...?
Tiberius:Get out! You know what's in this scroll? Your mother's a very noble woman.
Caligula:What's happened?
Tiberius:Your uncle has brought me evidence that my son was poisoned by his wife.
Caligula:Aunt Livilla? Whew! I always knew that woman was no good.
Tiberius:She poisoned him with the help of Sejanus. And now they plot to assassinate me.
Caligula:People really are despicable.
Tiberius:The point is, how to arrest him. He controls the Guard. Four thousand of them. All loyal to him... not to me. His loyal servants, not mine. Castor warned me. I wouldn't listen to him.
Claudius:Well, is there n-n-no one among them you can trust? No m-man of integrity?
Tiberius:Not that I know of.
Caligula:Isn't that a terrible comment on our times, Uncle? On the other hand, if you can't find a man of integrity, I always say look for a man of ambition. Find a dog who'll eat a dog.
Tiberius:Do you know of such a person?
Caligula:Yes, I do. Sertorius Macro, Sejanus' second-in-command. He's very popular with the troops.
Claudius:He arrested G-Gallus.
Tiberius:Isn't he loyal to Sejanus?
Caligula:Oh, yes, of course, but he can't move up while Sejanus is still there, can he? And he is very ambitious.
Tiberius:Do you know him personally?
Caligula:No, but I've slept with his wife several times.
Tiberius:And is deception with the wife regarded these days as a sound introduction to the husband?
Caligula:Oh, he knows about that. I told you. He's ambitious.
Tiberius:I shall make you my successor, Gaius Caligula! I've decided. You shall stay here with me. Rome deserves you. I will nurse you like a viper in her bosom.
Caligula:Is that a joke, Uncle?
Tiberius:Not yet, but it will be.
Tiberius:Sejanus must be put off his guard. He must suspect nothing. I know. I'll tell him I'm going to Rome. I'll ask him to meet me on the Senate steps where he will hear something that will surprise him.
Caligula:What about his friends? He has a lot of friends.
Tiberius:You and I will draw up a list during dinner. A long list. The city will be purged... as surely as if she had gorged herself on figs for a year. I will open Rome's bowels! The streets will run like a sewer!
Macro:Hail. Sejanus.
Sejanus:Macro, why are you here?
Macro:The Emperor sent me with a message for the Senate.
Sejanus:Where is the Emperor?
Macro:Waiting outside the city.
Sejanus:Why did he not send for me?
Macro:He could hardly ask you to deliver this. I believe it contains his request that you be made Protector of the City. Doesn't that mean his successor?
Sejanus:Then you had better deliver it. I'll see that you get my command.
Arria:Why has Father gone inside? Why doesn't he wait for the Emperor?
Junius:Because he's obviously not coming. He never comes.
Arria:What a shame. We may as well go home then.
Macro:Captain of the Guard! You recognize this seal?
Captain of the Guard 1:The Emperor's, sir.
Macro:Read it.
Captain of the Guard 1:Sir!
Macro:Take you guard back to the barrack. Inform all company commanders they are to remain in camp until I arrive.
Captain of the Guard 1:Sir! Guard!
Captain of the Guard 2:Forward!
Captain of the Guard 1:Change! Forward!
Quaestor:"From the Emperor Tiberius to the Senate of Rome, greetings. This letter is to bring to your attention a man who has for many years been my main support in the government of Rome. I refer to Lucius Aelius Sejanus, Commander of my Guard. Though not of senatorial rank, the very highest honors have been showered on him as a reward for the trust I have placed in him. Senators, what blow is harder to bear than a trust betrayed? Incontrovertible proof has been place in my hands of a conspiracy to assassinate your Emperor and take over the state. That conspiracy has been hatched and led by none other than the man in whom I put all my trust - Lucius Aelius Sejanus. Such is the advanced state of this plot to seize power that I, your Emperor, am marooned outside the city and dare not enter without certain assurances..."
Bystander:What's happening?
Senator:Sejanus has fallen. He's to be arrested. Now, come on, move out my way and let me pass.
Quaestor:"...To safeguard yourselves and your Emperor, to safeguard the Senate and the people of Rome, I demand the arrest of Lucius Aelius Sejanus and all those connected with him. Signed Tiberius Claudius Nero Drusus Caesar." I ask the question, shall the Senate follow the Emperor's advice?
Captain of the Guard 2:Guard! Forward!
7 - Blood Bath
Arria:You're hurting me! Father! Father!
Captain of the Guard 1:I can't do it.
Captain of the Guard 1:I can't just kill them. They're under age.
Macro:They're on the list. Now, get on with it.
Captain of the Guard 1:The girl is a virgin. It's unprecedented to kill a virgin! It will bring bad luck to the city.
Macro:Well, make sure she's not a virgin before you kill her. Now, get on with it!
Sejanus:Macro, what have they done with the children?
Macro:They've gone on ahead of you, my friend. Like a good many others. Take him.
Livilla:Mother! Let me out! Let me out! Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!
Claudius:What are you doing? What are you going to d-do with her? For heaven's sake, let her out! How long are you going to leave her in there?
Antonia:Until she dies.
Claudius:Dies? Dies? Have you gone mad? She's your daughter. How can you leave her to die?
Antonia:That's her punishment.
Claudius:But how can bear to sit out here and listen to her?
Antonia:And that's mine. Leave me, Claudius. I shan't move from here until they open that door and find her dead. Leave me.
Claudius:Oh, no... No... No!
Aelia:Claudius! Claudius! Claudius! Oh, Claudius! Claudius, help me. They're killing everyone! Everyone. Everyone who was a friend of his or a relative. Claudius, don't let them take me! Save me, Claudius! Save me! I'll do anything. Anything, Claudius. Let me hide here. Let me hide. I'm your wife! You must protect me! Executions are taking place all over the city. The Senate steps are strewn with bodies. They've even murdered his children!
Claudius:His children?
Aelia:They raped the little girl before they killed her. And they dressed the boy up in his manly gown. Apicata killed herself when she saw what they did to the bodies!
Claudius:Rome... Rome, you are finished! Finished! You are despicable! Despicable!
Aelia:Oh, Claudius, please, Claudius. Help me!
Claudius:Oh, get out of my life!
Aelia:Save me, Claudius. No, Claudius!
Claudius:No, no!
Aelia:No, no!
Claudius:Go away! I never want to see you again!
Aelia:Oh, Claudius!
Narrator Claudius:My alliance by marriage with Sejanus' family might have cost me my life had it not been that I was my mother's son. I was now allowed to divorce Aelia and to return an eighth part of her dowry. As a matter of fact, I returned it all. She must have thought me a fool.
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 9
Back To Index
1 - Zeus, by Jove!
Old Claudius:I found it in that box. In there. The box was in my nephew Caligula's bedroom. This once belonged to his father, Germanicus. I said I would tell everything, and I shall. I shall hide nothing. Nothing! And if what comes next may seem incredible... believe it. Believe it!
Narrator Claudius:Of the last five years of Tiberius' reign, the less said the better. He remained at Capri, entirely given up to his perversions, until at last, when people began to think he would never die, he suffered a massive stroke. He had named Caligula his principal heir and Gemellus, who was his grandson, still a boy, his second heir, in case Caligula should die before him.
Macro:He's dead.
Caligula:Really? ... Get me his ring... Let us tell the world that the world has a new Emperor.
Caligula:Senators, gentlemen... our beloved Emperor, Tiberius Claudius, is dead. I have just left his room having closed those tired old eyes with this hand. Before he died, he took from his finger this ring... his own seal, and placed it on my finger. And he said, "I die in peace, little Gaius, knowing that you rule in my place". Those were his last words. I wept. I fell to my knees and wept. Gentlemen, I stand before you now as your Emperor.
Caligula:Long live Rome!
Salve:Master! He's alive again! The Emperor's alive again. He's calling for his supper and he wants his ring back.
Caligula:Take it! Take it, I don't want it! He'll need it.
Macro:Wait, Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Gentlemen, Gentlemen, Gentlemen, I'm sure there's been a mistake. This stupid slave saw the wind stirring the clothes on the Emperor's bed, that's all.
Salve:No. He's asking for beef cutlets and a goblet of wine.
Macro:Quiet slave, or I'll make a beef cutlet out of you! He's out of his wits. Can't you see?
Senator:You'd better go and look for yourself.
Macro:Exactly. Exactly. I suggest that you all remain here until the matter's sorted out. Come on.
Tiberius:I want my supper. And I want a beef...
Macro:I told you he was dead.
Caligula:Typical of him! He just wanted to see what we'd do if we thought he was dead. I shan't forget this, Macro. I really shan't.
Caligula:Gentlemen, Tiberius Claudius is definitely dead. No question of it. When I entered his room, he was lying peacefully in his bed. We shall take the corpse back to Rome and give him a most magnificent funeral!
Crowd:Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar!
Senator:Gentlemen, we are at the dawn of a new golden age. A son of Germanicus has come before us. Let us put ourselves in his hands. Let the Senate vote him supreme power and let us cry, "Rome is saved!" Hail Caesar!
Crowd:Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar!
2 - Drunk With Power
Antonia:Herod Agrippa!
Antonia:Oh, Herod! Herod, I was thinking about you only the other day and wondering where you were and what you were doing.
Herod:If I wasn't trying to borrow money from someone, I was probably thinking of you!
Antonia:Did you both arrive together?
Herod:I landed on Brundisium and went straight to Capua. I knew he was living there. I found him in the act of leaving for Rome and intending to call on you on his way. Nothing could have pleased me better.
Antonia:Oh, sit down. You remember my grandson, Gemellus?
Herod:He's grown.
Antonia:Mmm, too much in the wrong direction. He never stops eating.
Claudius:Don't you know it's not good for you to eat all that p-pastry. That's what clogs the chest.
Gemellus:If I'm to be scolded, I'll go inside.
Antonia:Oh, listen to him. He's given himself such airs since Tiberius died. He thinks he already rules in Rome.
Gemellus:I do. I was made alternate ruler with my cousin Caligula.
Antonia:Hold your tongue! The Senate has set that aside and quite properly. You're much too young. And besides people are not made emperors so they can have the run of baker's shops.
Gemellus:I can't see that it's any worse to eat too much pastry than it is to drink too much wine. And a lot of grown-ups do that.
Antonia:He eats for comfort. Livilla ignored him. She had other interests.
Claudius:Yea, I wrote to you about Livilla.
Antonia:Well, let's not talk of it. She's dead, and at my hands. I'd do it again.
Herod:Well, perhaps things will improve now that Caligula is in command.
Antonia:Let's hope so.
Caligula:Well, I like all the titles you have thought of for me, as does my sister, Drusilla. I shall probably use them all. What about the Consulship, Lentulus? Your term is up. Have you chosen the Consul for the next term?
Lentulus:Well, the choice is obvious to us. The Senate begs you to accept the next term and to choose your own a colleague to share it with.
Caligula:Accepted. And I hereby proclaim that my first act as Consul will be to collect all criminal records and dossiers collected by Aelius Sejanus and have them burnt in the marketplace! [clapping] And, in memory of my dear mother, Agrippina, there will be a new annual festival of horse racing and sword fighting. [clapping] And, in future, the month of September will be known as "Germanicus" after my father, as August was after my great... after my great grandfather. [clapping] And now I have a headache. This audience is at an end.
Drusilla:Is your head bad again?
Drusilla:Well, come to my room and I'll soothe it for you.
Caligula:Lentulus... here is my chosen colleague to share the Consulship with me.
Lentulus:Gemellus. An excellent choice.
Caligula:No, no, no, no! Not Gemellus. Not him. My Uncle Claudius.
Lentulus:Your Uncle Claudius?
Caligula:Of course. Who else should share it with me but my father's beloved brother? Uncle, I appoint you my colleague as Consul for the first term.
Claudius:M-m-me? A C-Consul?
Caligula:Yes. We'll rule together.
Claudius:B-but I've forgotten all the r-rules and p-procedures.
Caligula:Well, it doesn't matter. It's nothing, it's nothing, it's nothing. I'll think of everything and you can do everything.
Caligula:Oh, Uncle, there's a galloping in my head and your stuttering is making it worse! The matter is closed... What is the matter with him?
Claudius:The matter with him?
Caligula:Why does he keep clearing his throat like that.
Claudius:Well, he's had a v-very bad cough.
Caligula:Can't he get rid of it? It's very irritating to live with someone who's clearing his throat all the time.
Claudius:Well, he's taking a cough mixture.
Caligula:Oh. I see. Well, let's hope it clears up soon.
Gemellus:I've got a weak chest. It's not my fault.
Caligula:No. But it's your chest! ... Is that your own hair?
Caligula:Is it your own hair or is it a wig?
Claudius:M-my own.
Caligula:Why have you got so much, and I've got so little? I find that extremely irritating. You're much older than I am. Uncle, I've arranged a suite of rooms for you in the palace. You can come and live with me and my sisters. You'll like that. The whole family will be together. I'm very fond of my family... generally speaking. Uncle, your first official duty as Consul will be to have... two statues made of my late brothers, Drusus and Nero. And they'll be set up and consecrated in the marketplace. And the ceremony will take place in early December. Oh, yes, yes, I know it'll cost a great deal of money, but there's plenty of money. Tiberius left 27 million gold pieces.
Claudius:M-may I ask how much is l-left?
Caligula:Lentulus, how much is left?
Lentulus:Between eight and nine, Caesar.
Caligula:Is that all?
Lentulus:He left a lot of debts.
Caligula:That greedy skinflint! He owed money to everybody and left me to pay for it all! I should have killed him when I had the chance! Oh, my headache's getting worse. Galloping inside it and pounding of hooves.
Drusilla:Come to my room.
Caligula:It's in my head... What was I saying?
Claudius:You should have k-killed him when you had the chance.
Caligula:Oh, yes. Many times I had the chance and many times I thought of doing it.
Claudius:Well, perhaps I should take G-Gemellus to his room?
Caligula:Oh, no, no. I'm just about to tell you a story. Let him hear. This will become, I'm sure, an historic anecdote. I want you to write it down Uncle, when you retire to your room. Will you stop coughing?
Gemellus:It's very difficult.
Caligula:Well, try! ... Lentulus, how much is left?
Lentulus:Of what?
Caligula:Of Tiberius' fortune.
Lentulus:Between eight and nine million, Caesar.
Caligula:Is that all?
Lentulus:He also left a lot of debts.
Caligula:We've had this conversation before, what's the matter with you? ... I know what I was about to say. I was going to tell you a story. It happened three, four years ago in Capri when I was still nothing but an innocent young boy, shocked and shamed by the depravity to which the Emperor had fallen in his old age. More and more, in my precocious wisdom, I realized that the fate of Rome might rely on a single stroke of a knife. A knife in my hand. And the thought tormented me. I began to see it as my inescapable destiny. "But why me?" I said. "Why me, who never had a single violent thought in his life? Why should this onerous duty be thrust upon me?" Yet, one night, sleepless as usual with grief at the fate of my dear mother and my dear brothers... I decided, come what might... that I would be avenged, at last, upon their murderer. So I took a knife that belonged to my father, Germanicus, and I went into the Emperor's room and he lay tossing and groaning in a nightmare of guilt. There was a galloping in my head and a pounding... Yes. Yes, I remember. That was the first time I heard it. And I lifted the dagger in order to strike... when a divine voice sounded in my ear. "Great grandson, stop! Hold your hand. To kill him would be impious!" I froze. And I turned to see if I could find the owner of the voice, but there was no one in the room besides the Emperor and myself. And yet I felt the presence of the Divine Augustus. "Oh, God Augustus!" I cried. "He killed my mother and my brothers, your descendants. Should I not avenge them even at the risk of being shunned by all men as a parricide?" Augustus answered. "Oh, magnanimous son, who art to be Emperor hereafter, there is no need to do what you would do. By my orders, the Furies nightly avenge your dear ones while he sleeps. [hoofbeats] Leave them to their work and him to the torments, the torments of his dreams and the torments to come in the hereafter. He will suffer eternal agonies, I swear, while... while you...while you, my son... while...after a glorious reign...will enter the bosom of Augustus." I threw the dagger aside. Father! Father! [hoofbeats] Help me! Help me! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!
Claudius:Now, the statues must be ready by the end of N-November.
Stone Mason:I said I'd do my best. More I can't promise.
Claudius:Look here. I can take the work somewhere else!
Stone Mason:You'd be losing time. We've already started them.
Claudius:You've got the marble. You haven't started them!
Stone Mason:I promise you, we'll make a start tomorrow. And in any case, the way the Emperor is, he's not going to be ready for the ceremony.
Claudius:Never mind the Emperor, that's his business. You just make sure those statues are r-ready!
Stone Mason:[mouths] You bloody fool.
3 - Birth of a God
Macro:The Emperor awoke earlier this morning, but then relapsed into a coma. That's all I can tell you. I suggest that you return to your homes. Everything that can be done is being done.
Lentulus:We pray for him hourly. Tell him that if he wakes.
Macro:I shall
Lentulus:Tell him that I've offered my own life in place of his if the gods will spare him. If anything should happen to him, it would be the worst calamity to befall Rome since the death of Germanicus.
Macro:Your prayers will help him, I'm sure.
Drusilla:Uncle Claudius, you must come quickly! He's awake and he wants to see you.
Claudius:What for?
Drusilla:I don't know. But for heaven's sake, humor him. He'll kill you if you don't say what he wants you to say.
Claudius:What does he want me to say?
Drusilla:I don't know! But he just tried to kill me. He said I didn't love him. He made me swear over and over again that I did! Oh, do go, please!
Claudius:Hail C-Caesar. What a j-j-joy to see you alive and to hear your voice again. Dare I hope that you're b-better?
Caligula:I've never really been ill.
Claudius:Oh. Really?
Caligula:No. I've been undergoing a metamorphosis.
Claudius:Oh. Was it p-p-painful?
Caligula:It was like a birth in which the mother delivers herself.
Claudius:Oh, yes. Oh, that m-must have been p-painful. M-may I enquire what is the character of this g-glorious change which has come over you?
Caligula:Isn't it obvious?
Claudius:Y-you've b-become a g-g-god! Oh, my god. Oh, let me worship you! Oh, how could I have been so blind?
Caligula:Well, I am still in mortal disguise, that wouldn't help you.
Claudius:No, I should have seen it at once. Your face shines, even in this light, like a l-lamp.
Caligula:Does it? Get up and give me that mirror... Oh, it is bright, isn't it?
Claudius:I could r-read by it.
Caligula:I always knew that this would happen. I always knew that I was divine. Think of it. When I was two, I put down a mutiny in my father's army and so saved Rome. Well, that was prodigious.
Claudius:It's like the stories they tell of M-Mercury as a child, or Hercules who s-s-strangled snakes in his cradle.
Caligula:Exactly. Only Mercury only stole a few oxen, whereas by the age of ten, I'd already killed my father. Oh, you didn't know that, did you?
Claudius:N-n-no... Divinity.
Caligula:Even Jove didn't do that. He merely banished the old man.
Claudius:Why, if you d-don't mind my asking, d-did you do that?
Caligula:Well, he stood in my way. Me, a young god! He tried to discipline me. So I frightened him to death in Antioch.
Claudius:So it was you who did all that? Why, it's incredible.
Caligula:No, not at all. Not for a god. It was very simple. Not only did I kill my natural father, I also killed my adoptive father, Tiberius. And Jove never did that!
Claudius:No. I've never read that he did that.
Caligula:You see, and you're a very well-read man. And whereas Jove only slept with one of his sisters, I've slept with all three of mine. All three have admitted a god into their beds. Martina told me that it was right thing for a god to do.
Claudius:Oh, you knew Martina well?
Caligula:Oh, yes, yes. Very well. A very wise woman. When my parents were in Egypt, I used to visit her every day and she taught me the whole history of the gods, especially the Greek ones. And she said that I was more like Zeus than Jove. Jove was just a pale Roman copy of Zeus. Zeus married his sister, didn't he?
Caligula:What was her name?
Caligula:Hera. That's it. And she became pregnant by him.
Claudius:No. That was Metis. And fearing that the child would become stronger than himself and r-rule the heavens, he took the child from her body and swallowed it whole, and Athena sprang from his head.
Caligula:Yes, something like that. I never used to believe that sort of story but, of course, now... I can see that they're true. Well, now you understand why I have always been divine. Drusilla is divine too. I shall announce it at the same time that I announce my own divinity.
Claudius:Oh, this is the most glorious hour of my life! Will you allow me to retire and s-sacrifice to you at once? The d-divine air you exhale is too strong for me. I'm fainting, D-Divinity.
Caligula:Go in peace. I was thinking of killing you, but I've changed my mind. Send Drusilla to me.
4 - A Madman
Claudius:He wants to see you. He's become a god. Oh, you're a god too. We're not.
Herod:A god? Which one?
Claudius:He thinks he's Zeus!
Herod:That sounds bad for us mortals.
Claudius:Oh, perhaps not. When he decides to announce his divinity, they'll all see he's mad, they'll lock him up. We'll have the Republic back. My friend, this could be the b-best thing that's ever happened to us.
Macro:The Emperor is coming. Now there is something that you ought to know before he arrives, so that you won't be taken totally by surprise. We are privileged to be living at the time of the most astonishing event. The Emperor has undergone a transformation - a metamorphosis. He has become a god.
Crowd:[some laughter]
Macro:Now, that is unusual, to say the least. But that's the nature of miracles - to be unusual. And if it's the nature of some people not to believe in them... well, the more fool them. However, the Emperor doesn't want to make too much of it. He doesn't want any fuss or public announcements. He wants us all to behave normally. Although he is now a god, he is still the same lovable young man we've always known. I can attest to that. And to enable his relationships with all of us to continue exactly as they were, he has decided, for convenience, to retain his mortal form. Oh and by the way, his sister Drusilla's become a goddess. Any questions?
Lentulus:Well, of course, it is unusual, but, as Sertorius Macro says that is the nature of miracles. Why, one must ask oneself, are gods made only after death? Sooner or later, a man was bound to be reborn a god in our very midst. If we worship the Divine Augustus after his death, doesn't it make sense to worship his great-grandson while he's still alive? I think we should count ourselves fortunate to be living at this time. Gentlemen, posterity will envy us.
Herod:Posterity will call you an ass, you idiot.
Macro:The Emperor! [trumpet fanfare]
Caligula:My sister and I are pleased to admit you into our presence once again.
Lentulus:Your recovery is a miracle.
Caligula:But you prayed for it, Lentulus.
Lentulus:Oh, night and day. But our prayers are not always heard.
Caligula:Yes, but yours were very special, so I understand. You offered your life to the gods in the place of mine. That was extremely noble.
Lentulus:It's true. I did.
Caligula:And what are you going to do about it?
Lentulus:Do about it? What do you mean?
Caligula:Well, I'm still here and so are you, but we oughtn't both to be here. Should we not give the gods the things that we promise them? You're in danger of the crime of perjury, Lentulus. Think about it. But not too long. The gods won't wait forever, of that I can assure you. I know them only too well, And now we will walk through the marketplace and the forum and show ourselves to the people of Rome. Still coughing, I see? We shall have to do something about that. You haven't forgotten my statutes, have you Uncle?
Claudius:C-certainly not.
Caligula:Herod, you're back with us.
Herod:To bring you my congratulations, Caesar.
Caligula:Come, walk with me a while. I want to talk to you.
Antonia:Do you mean to tell me that there's no one in all Rome man enough to strike him down like a dog?
Claudius:It's v-very difficult, Mother. There are always guards, Sejanus saw to that. And anyway, I've never killed anyone before.
Herod:Besides, everyone secretly believes his madness can't last. Either he'll recover his senses or he'll die.
Antonia:But couldn't you poison his food?
Claudius:Oh, Mother! What am I, an assassin?
Antonia:A living god among us!
Herod:And a goddess.
Antonia:Oh, I saw that coming a long time ago. To take a sister for a wife! They will rot in hell for it, both of them.
Claudius:Well, to be honest, I feel sorry for her.
Antonia:You would!
Claudius:She's terrified of him, so she p-plays up to him! I can't say that I blame her.
Antonia:I'd kill myself first!
Claudius:No one wants to die, Mother. I saw Lentulus' face the day it dawned on him that the god wasn't joking. He waited a long time hoping Caligula would forget it, but he didn't. He sent Macro with a colonel of the guards to watch him while he opened his veins.
Antonia:He got what he deserved! They all deserved it. And you too. You are a pack of shameless cowards! When Germanicus died, there died the last of the Romans.
Herod:It's good to get away from Rome.
Claudius:You're fortunate you don't have to live in the palace. The antics that go on there at night...
Antonia:I don't want to hear them.
Claudius:...are incredible...
Antonia:I've heard enough!
Herod:Is there anything left in the privy purse?
Claudius:No, not much. He gave a charioteer 20,000 gold pieces the other day just for w-winning a race.
Herod:When the money runs out, you'd all better watch out.
Antonia:I'll see you both at supper.
Herod:She's very upset.
Claudius:Well, what can I do? I've got a mad nephew, but I can't kill him. What's the matter with us, Herod? These are the children of my noble brother Germanicus. How could it happen?
Herod:Well, you know what they say about the tree of the Claudians? It bears two kinds of fruit - the sweet and the bad.
Claudius:They've certainly had a t-terrifying crop this season.
5 - Vanity
Caligula:This isn't their house. This is our house.
Caligula:We shall spend most of our time here. I'll build a bridge to connect it with the palace. And I'll hold my audiences here.
Caligula:Look at him. Jove! [both laugh] Does he look like a god?
Drusilla:An inferior god.
Caligula:Yes. An inferior god. Did you hear that? You're not important enough for this temple. I beg your pardon? Be careful what you say to me otherwise I'll have your face smashed in! Well, speak up! I can't hear you. Well, for now you may address me as Zeus, for in power he is the nearest who approaches me. You were created by the old Romans in his image, but you're nothing. Nothing, do you hear me? And this is Hera... out of whom the Romans created you!
Drusilla:We shall move you both to an annex. You've been here far too long. This is the temple in which I have chosen to bear the child of Zeus!
Caligula:A child? Mine?
Drusilla:The child of Zeus. To rule the universe.
Caligula:Tell her. Tell her what it's like to be loved by Zeus. Tell her.
Drusilla:It was like the sun bursting in my veins. It was like a shooting star! It was as if all the lights of the universe blazed at once in my womb! And a new universe was born.
Claudius:But you promised they'd be ready today!
Stone Mason:Excuse me. Don't get so excited. I did not promise. I said I'd do my best, that's all I promised.
Claudius:You knew they had to be ready for the ceremony tomorrow.
Stone Mason:Well, Nero's ready.
Claudius:Well, one's no good without the other one, you idiot!
Stone Mason:Well, there's no need to be offensive.
Claudius:Offensive? I'll have you thrown out of the city!
Stone Mason:Well, what can I do? The marble didn't arrive till last week and one of my best sculptor's been off sick.
Claudius:The marble was here last time I called!
Stone Mason:It was? Oh yea, but there was a crack in it.
Claudius:You used it for somebody else, you rogue!
Stone Mason:I swear with Jove as my judge, we never used it for anyone else. Look, take Nero and I'll have Drusus ready in a week.
Claudius:Oh, you can keep it. You've got me into a great deal of trouble.
Stone Mason:Keep it? What am I going to do with a statue of Nero?
Claudius:You can stick it! And you know where you can stick it! And I'll see you in the courts for breach of contract!
Stone Mason:You'll sue me? I'll sue you! I'll sue you for damages. For misrepresentation. For fraud. You'll be hearing from my lawyers, I promise you! [crash!] And I'll charge you for that too!
Claudius:Caesar, there's something you should know.
Caligula:Shhh. Can you hear it?
Claudius:Hear what?
Caligula:Gemellus coughing. Can't you hear it?
Caligula:Oh, what it is to have the senses of a god. I can hear everything. Even a leaf falling on the other side of the world. Sometimes it's unbearable to hear so much. Can't you hear anything?
Claudius:N-not a thing.
Caligula:He was coughing all the way through dinner. Why weren't you at dinner, by the way?
Claudius:I f-fell asleep.
Caligula:He was coughing all the way through dinner. And even when he went to his room at the far side of the palace, I could still hear him. No one else could. Not even Hera.
Claudius:Hera? Oh, yes, Hera. No, I don't think she would have heard him. Oh...
Caligula:It's stopped.
Claudius:Oh, I'm glad.
Caligula:Yes. You wanted to tell me something?
Claudius:Y-yes. It's about the s-statues.
Caligula:Yes, that's something I wanted to talk to you about that. You've noticed too?
Claudius:Noticed what?
Caligula:Well, that none of the statues of the gods in Rome look like me. I can't have that. I want you to go out and collect all the important statues of the gods in Rome and replace their heads with one of my own.
Claudius:Your own?
Caligula:Yes. And Hera's too. You can put her head on the statue of Venus. Isn't she beautiful? And she's pregnant. She carries my child in her womb. The thought torments me. What could it be like? Could it be greater than Zeus himself? Could it rule the universe?
Claudius:The statues of N-Nero and D-Drusus w-won't be ready for the ceremony.
Claudius:The statues of your b-brothers won't be ready in time.
Caligula:Won't be ready?
Claudius:Oh, it's not my fault, I ordered them in time...
Caligula:You've bungled it! You're an idiot! Your Mother always said you were an idiot! I was a fool to have trusted you!
Claudius:Sorry! ...
Caligula:I've a good mind to have your throat cut. In fact I'll do it now!
Claudius:No! No! No!
Caligula:What is it?
Claudius:Who is it?
Caligula:Gemellus. I've cured his cough.
Claudius:Oh, no. Oh, no!
Caligula:And you're not Consul anymore! You are dismissed! I'll find somebody else! Take it away. It looks horrible.
Macro:Yes, Caesar.
Caligula:Drusilla, wake up, please. Please, Drusilla, my head! Please. No one can be greater than Zeus. Not even the child of Zeus.
6 - Goodbye
Claudius:Well, there weren't many at the funeral, were there?
Antonia:What did you expect? Caligula denounced him as a traitor to the Senate.
Claudius:All the same, he was Tiberius' grandson, and he's still only a boy. How can people believe such nonsense?
Antonia:People will believe anything, if it suits them. We may count ourselves fortunate he didn't celebrate the funeral with games. I want to speak to Claudius alone.
Herod:Oh. Of course. I'll go. Is there something wrong, Lady, or is it Gemellus' funeral that has upset you?
Antonia:It was the funeral. Goodbye, Herod.
Claudius:Are you going away somewhere?
Antonia:Yes. At long last, I'm going to join your father.
Claudius:What do you mean?
Antonia:I'm going to kill myself. Now, don't start any nonsense.
Claudius:But you can't.
Antonia:Oh, yes, I can. My life's my own. It'll be a welcome release. I've no wish to go on living in this place. You don't have to pretend you'll miss me.
Claudius:Of course, I'll miss you. You're my mother.
Antonia:Well, That's very dutiful of you, considering I've never been very loving towards you. And I'm sorry for that, but you've always been a great disappointment to me, Claudius.
Claudius:Oh please, don't say that...
Antonia:Oh there, you see, you're crying at your age.
Claudius:Well, why shouldn't I cry?
Antonia:There's no need. Keep your tears for yourself, you may need them. I shan't.
Claudius:Don't do it, please.
Antonia:My mind is made up. I don't want to stay here anymore. I was born into a world of people. It's become a kennel of mad dogs. I've seen my splendid son, Germanicus, murdered, and my grandsons, Drusus, Nero, Gemellus. My grand-daughters are degenerate beyond redemption, and your sister, Livilla, died by my own hand. That was the worst. I should have died then myself.
Claudius:W-wait a while. Caligula's sick in his mind. Sooner or later...
Antonia:No. Rome is sick - sick to its heart. He's just the rash its come out in.
Claudius:But he can't last f-forever.
Antonia:No. And I daresay you'll survive him. You'd survive the Great Flood, I know that now. But I've no wish to. I've stayed too long and I've always thought it the height of good manners to know when to leave. You'll find all my affairs in order. Pay my debts and be good to my slaves - they've been very loyal. I shall go down to Antium and do it there. Come in five hours, I shall be dead by then, but wait till Briseis confirms it. I wouldn't want you to catch my dying breath. I count on you to pray me the last rites. And remember to cut off my hand for separate burial for this will be suicide. It'll be just like you to forget it. And Claudius... Claudius. Please don't make a muddle of the valedictory. You may kiss me.
Claudius:Oh, Mother.
Briseis:She's dead, Master. You can go in.
Claudius:How was it?
Briseis:Oh, so easy, Master. When life so wants to escape, it takes but the touch of the knife on the vein to let it flow away.
Claudius:She didn't cry out?
Briseis:Only at the end. I heard her call to your father. "Drusus, Drusus," she said. "Forgive me, forgive me."
Claudius:Forgive me?
Briseis:Perhaps for keeping him waiting so long. I've taken her out of the bath and laid her out. She's covered with a sheet. You can go and see her now.
Claudius:Yes. Yes. I'll come in a m-minute.
Briseis:Don't be sad, Master. She wanted to go. It was no effort. Calm as you like, and brave. Well, she was Mark Antony's daughter and Octavia's. You'd expect it to be like that. I've cut off her hand for separate burial.
Claudius:Why did you do it?
Briseis:She asked me to, Master. Perhaps she thought it might slip your mind.
7 - Immortal?
Drusilla:Zeus-y! Zeus-y! My husband! Where are you? Oh, you're not Zeus-y. You're not my husband, Zeus-y. You're just my silly old Uncle C-C-Claudius.
Claudius:It was your grandmother's funeral today. Couldn't you have attended?
Drusilla:Gods don't attend funerals.
Claudius:Yes, you're drunk.
Drusilla:No. My husband found this wonderful potion which we take. It makes you feel as if you're riding through the air! Have you seen him, my husband? He's hiding.
Claudius:Do you mean your b-brother?
Drusilla:Yes. My brother. Oh, my divine potent brother. Potent. Do you know he's to be a father? Hera is with child by Zeus. Or Metis or Diana. Sometimes I'm one, sometimes I'm the other. He gets a bit confused.
Claudius:Why do you play up to him like this?
Drusilla:Why do you? You play the clown, I play the goddess.
Claudius:You're disgusting!
Drusilla:You wouldn't dare say that to him. You're afraid. Well, we're all afraid - even he is. Do you know what he's afraid of? This. He's afraid it will be more powerful than he is and rule the heavens. Now I have something he's afraid of... Zeus-y! Zeus-y! Where are you? Zeus-y! Zeus-y, my treasure? Are you in there? Zeus-y! Ah! Oh, you frightened me. Oh, it's magnificent. It'll tickle a bit. Why are you hiding in here?
Caligula:I wanted you to find me in here. You see, I've altered my whole room. Olympus. We gods like to live on mountain tops and while I have to live in this awful palace, this reminds me of my real home.
Drusilla:And what's this?
Caligula:A chariot to draw you up to the clouds. Drink this.
Drusilla:Oh, I think I've drunk enough. Is it the same?
Caligula:Yes, the same. We gods drink it before we perform a miracle. Drink it. Drink. Drink. Drink.,, You know I love you? More than anything in the whole world? Let me show you how you'll be drawn up into Olympus. You see... Golden bracelets to help you. To help you... ride.
Drusilla:Shall we ride together?
Caligula:Who am I?
Drusilla:Zeus, Lord of Heaven, my husband.
Caligula:Who are you?
Drusilla:The Queen of Heaven, your wife.
Caligula:Do you trust me?
Drusilla:Oh, utterly, my lover, my lord.
Caligula:There'll be no pain, I promise.
Drusilla:Pain? Why, what do you want to do, my angel? You know I can resist you nothing. What are you doing? What do you want to do? Oh come on, tell the Queen of Heaven what her lord and master wants.
Caligula:I must draw the child from the Queen of Heaven's womb and swallow it whole, so that a new child may grow out of the head of Zeus.
Drusilla:Oh, yes, darling. Draw it out. Let Zeus take the child and... Oh, let's go to bed. Your queen's very sleepy. What's that? What are you going to do?
Caligula:There'll be no pain, I know it.
Drusilla:Pain? But why should...? [hoofbeats] Caligula?
Caligula:We are immortal gods!
Drusilla:[blood-curdling screaming]
Claudius:[banging] Open the door! [screaming stops]
Caligula:Don't go in there. Don't go in there.
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 10
Back To Index
1 - Hail Who?
Claudius:It's from Herod.
Calpurnia:What does he say?
Claudius:Oh, it's written from J-Jerusalem.
Calpurnia:Read it to me. His letters are so amusing.
Claudius:"My dear old friend, what is all this I hear about you living in three rooms in the p-poor quarter of town? Is it serious? Why did you not write to me? Is it that absurd p-pride of yours? Well, I shall attend to that shortly. Meanwhile, knowing how loath you are to accept money and being the only p-practical friend you ever had, I enclose a little p-p-present for you. Please make proper use of it. Herod."
Calpurnia:What is it? It seems very small
Claudius:Well, I don't know.
Calpurnia:Well, I don't think that's very generous... Venus! Oh, Claudius, I think your luck is changing. I'm sure it's an omen! ... Those dice are crooked. You can't possibly use them!
Claudius:HaHaHa. Oh, dear Herod! How I miss him.
Briseis:Master. Master, have you seen this?
Briseis:It was pinned on the door of the temple of Castor.
Claudius:What is it?
Briseis:It's advertising a brothel in the palace! They're all over the city.
Calpurnia:A brothel? In the palace? But... But who is to serve in it?
Claudius:His sisters, his cousins, senators and their wives.
Calpurnia:You knew about it?
Calpurnia:Why didn't you tell me? ... He wants you there?
Claudius:He wants me to take the m-money on the door.
Calpurnia:Oh, Claudius.
Briseis:The monster. The little monster. Forcing the nobility into prostitution. And in the palace! Why, even Calpurnia wouldn't serve in such a place, and that's her profession!
Claudius:Briseis, that is not her profession any more!
Calpurnia:My dear, that was and is my profession. I'm a prostitute and I've never been ashamed of it.
Claudius:All the same, I won't serve in his brothel! Either as d-doorkeeper or as chucker out. There's some price a man won't pay.
2 - Filling The Coffers
Sabinus:[at palace] Claudius, I was told to bring her here but she's terrified.
Claudius:Well, there's nothing you can do.
Sabinus:Claudius please listen. She's given birth six weeks ago. If somebody in there touches her I'm afraid of what she'll do.
Claudius:There are no exceptions.
Sabinus:There must be a room or somewhere to put her. No one will notice. Please!
Claudius:Do you want my throat cut along with yours? Now you've paid your fee, go on in! Enjoy yourself.
Sabinus:Come, it's not important.
Sabinus:Do you want the child left without a mother? Come.
Poppaea:Ah, another customer. And we were just running out of men. Haha, real men. Sabinus, isn't it? And I see you've brought your pretty wife. My dear, you'll make a fortune in there tonight. You'd better, anyway. The Emperor has just raised his commission. Shall we go?
Marcus:Ah, reinforcements.
Poppaea:Marcus Vinicius, the Emperor's brother-in-law and your first customer. Make him pay through the nose, my dear. You're worth it.
Marcus:What are you doing?
Claudius:Chucking you out!
Marcus:But you've no right!
Claudius:That's what I'm here for and that's what I'm doing.
Marcus:But why?
Claudius:For creating a disturbance.
Marcus:But she was creating the disturbance, you fool!
Claudius:Out! See him off the premises. ...
Claudius:Go on. Go home.
Diana:But if the Emperor should return?
Claudius:I'll tell him I threw you out for indecent behavior.
Caesonia:You are a good man, Claudius.
Caesonia:Claudius. We must help him, the Emperor.
Claudius:He's your husband. You help him!
Caesonia:Claudius. He's sick. He needs good people around him.
Claudius:He's killed them all! Look, what are you doing here in your condition?
Caesonia:He told me to come. He likes me to be with him.
Claudius:Has he shown you, naked, to his G-German guards lately? Oh, I'm sorry, Caesonia. It's not for me to criticize. I bleat with the rest of them whenever he appears. There are no lions among us any more.
Young Man:What are you doing? Let me go!
Caligula:HaHaHa. "Vulcan, with awkward grace his office plies, while unextinguished laughter shakes the skies." Homer. For "Vulcan" read "Old Uncle Claudius".
Claudius:Oh...Ah... "Then, from his anvil, the lame craftsman rose... Wide... with distorted legs, oblique he goes."
Caligula:Oh, bravo! Henceforth, Uncle, you shall be Vulcan. While I... Oh, what am I... but Ulysses returning home to witness the shame and degradation of his household. ... Cassius. Did you ever see a sight as sad and degrading as this?
Cassius:Shall I arrest them, Caesar?
Caligula:No, let them indulge themselves a while longer. Soon, I promise you, I shall flush this sewage into the Tiber forever. Meanwhile, Jove must cleanse himself in battle. I have sworn to fight a war against the Germans that will end in their total annihilation. And I shall bring back much booty to Rome, fill her coffers, enrich her purse. Cassius, order the detachments and raise the levies! I go to forge, in the white-hot fires of war, a new and tempered spirit of Rome that will last a thousand years!
Caesonia:There's a good girl. [knocking] Claudius!
Claudius:Well, I brought a little g-gift for the baby.
Caesonia:Oh, Claudius. That's lovely. Show it to her.
Claudius:How is she?
Caesonia:Come and see.
Claudius:Ah, there. She's very pretty. Yes, she looks just like you.
Caesonia:Come and sit down. So, how is Calpurnia?
Claudius:Oh, she's well. She sends her felicitations. I'm going to see the Emperor in Germany soon so I shall be able to report that you're both looking well.
Caesonia:Why are you going to Germany?
Claudius:Haven't you heard?
Caesonia:Oh, you know they tell me nothing.
Claudius:Oh, oh. I... I'm not sure I should tell you. Oh well, I suppose you'll hear about it soon enough. Well, he has informed the Senate by letter that he has uncovered a v-vast conspiracy against himself in the army of the Rhine. Six corps commanders and the army commander himself, Gaetulicus, have been executed. More executions are still taking place.
Caesonia:Do you think there was a conspiracy?
Claudius:Oh, who knows? Would it surprise you? But Gaetulicus? No. He was my father's old friend, my brother's corps commander, a soldier of iron loyalties. No, that's not possible.
Caesonia:Why are you going, then?
Claudius:The Senate is sending me, and two ex-Consuls, to congratulate him on the s-suppression of the mutiny. As I said, the only lions left in Rome are in the arena. I'm also to strip Livia's apartments of all their valuables and send them to him by road. Oh, he stresses by road. Apparently, he has a quarrel with Neptune and fears the boat will sink.
Caesonia:What does he want them for?
Claudius:Well, to auction to the provincials. He's auctioning everything at the moment. He's discovered he has a gift for it.
Caesonia:Claudius, what am I doing here? Why did he choose me for a wife? I'm ten years older than he is, not pretty. I was born the daughter of a night-watchman, I married a baker. What does he see in me?
Claudius:Perhaps that you, alone among everyone... truly l-love him.
Caesonia:Yes, I do love him. I can't explain why. I know he does terrible things. I'll tell you something. He is more afraid than any of us.
3. A Madman's War
Caligula:Cassius! I've just been talking to that river god. He threatened to drown me.
Cassius:Does he know who you are?
Caligula:Oh, he does now. I've just given him a severe reprimand. He'll soon shudder. Well, the river's going down, isn't it?
Cassius:Yes, Caesar. Your uncle is here with Marcus Vinicius and Asprenas.
Caligula:Let them in.
Claudius:Hail Caesar, Lord of the Heavens. The Senate and the people of Rome...
Caligula:Where are my carts?
Caligula:The carts, you idiot, with the valuables in them.
Claudius:Oh, heaven bless Your Majesty, they're coming by road. They'll be a few days yet. We wanted to get here as soon, so we came across the water.
Caligula:Oh, then back by water you'll go! Throw him in the river!
Claudius:Oh, merciful god!
Caligula:How dare you arrive without my carts?
Claudius:But you only said the carts should come by road!
Caligula:Take him onto the bridge and throw him off! ... Prostrate yourselves in the presence of Jove! How dare the Senate send that idiot to congratulate me! I'll have their throats cut. He's not worthy of such a mission. The man's an imbecile! I save Rome from a conspiracy and they send that clapped-out crippled old clown to felicitate me? Is that the respect that they give their Emperor? What's going on there? More plots, more conspiracies. I'll set my German guards on them when I get back. I'll burn the damn place down! It never was any use! Yes. I should have done that a long time ago. I should have had his throat cut when I was first made emperor. I mean, he makes a mess of everything! He couldn't even order my brothers statues on time.
Marcus:Merciful god, we only came by sea to bring our congratulations sooner.
Caligula:I wanted carts, not congratulations! Up! Up! Up! Up! Up! Did I not tell you that I've had a quarrel with Neptune? That he plagues me all the time with his sea noises, stirs the river gods up against me and makes war on me everywhere. How dare you ride with him! ... Perhaps... Yes... Perhaps you plotted with him.
Marcus:No, merciful god.
Caligula:Yes, you and that imbecile uncle of mine, you plotted with him on your way here.
Asprenas:No, highest one, we assure you...
Caligula:What did you talk about, then? You and Neptune? What did you say to one another?
Asprenas:Nothing, we swear! Mere mortals can't talk to a god!
Caligula:Perhaps he appeared to you in mortal guise as I do. What did he look like?
Marcus:We never saw him. Oh, please believe me. He wouldn't plot with us.
Caligula:Perhaps you're right. But I shall kill you just the same. Down! Cassius, give me your sword.
Marcus:Oh, please! In the name of my wife, your sister...
Caligula:How dare you mention that whore to me?
Marcus:But what have we done?
Caligula:I'll show the Senate what I think of their envoys! I'll send you back to Rome in pieces. I wish I hadn't thrown my uncle into the river now. I could've done the same with him but never mind, they'll get the message.
Caligula:[laughs] And where have you been, my dear, dear Vulcan?
Claudius:Oh... "I felt the Thunderer's might, Hurled headlong down from the ethereal height, Breathless I fell, in giddy motions lost. The Sinthians raised me on the Lemnian coast." For "Lemnian" read "Rhenium".
Caligula:Oh, by Jove! Which is always to say "by myself", this fellow knows his Homer.
Marcus:Please, Claudius, beseech the Emperor to save our lives.
Claudius:"Be silent and obey! Dear as you are, if Jove his arm extend, I can but grieve, unable to defend."
Caligula:Look, if the next two lines are apt, then they're saved. If not, I'll have their throats cut.
Claudius:Oh, what... Oh! .. "What soul so daring in your aid to move, Or lift his arm against the might of Jove?" For "Jove" read "C-C..."
Caligula:Me! Oh, he's got a line for everything. Come on get up. You're saved. Saved by Claudius' ready tongue. HaHaHa. Come into the other room. I'll give you a blanket. Oh, Cassius.
Cassius:What is the watchword for tonight, Caesar?
Caligula:Oh. The watchword for tonight? Let me see. What about "Give us a kiss"?
Cassius:It could have been just now. It could happen tomorrow or the next day to you or to me. But do not doubt it will happen one day.
Caligula:Did that surprise you, the watchword that I gave to Cassius Chaerea?
Claudius:Oh, I t-thought it was a j-j-joke.
Caligula:Well, it was, but it's my joke, not his. I do it to annoy him. Every time he addresses a commander of the guard, he has to say "Give us a kiss"! Yesterday, I gave him "Touch me, Titus"!
Claudius:Why, if I m-may ask, d-do you do that?
Caligula:Because he's a cry-baby.
Claudius:Cassius? I thought he was the b-bravest soldier in the army.
Caligula:Oh, so did I, but he's not. I had him torture Gaetulicus to get some information out of him.., and Gaetulicus... Well we got no information out of him and he died under torture, and one of the guards told me that Cassius wept. Well, I was going to give him Macro's command, but I certainly didn't after that. How many hours a night do you sleep?
Claudius:Sleep? Oh, eight or n-nine, I suppose.
Caligula:Well, I sleep barely three!
Claudius:Do g-g-gods need more?
Caligula:Do you think I'm mad?
Caligula:Yes. Sometimes I think that I'm going mad. Do you...? Oh no, be honest with me, has that thought ever crossed your mind?
Claudius:Never. N-never. Why, the idea is preposterous! You set the standard of s-sanity for the whole world.
Caligula:Then why is there all this galloping in my head? And why do I sleep so little?
Claudius:Well, um... it's your mortal disguise. You see, a physical b-body is a great strain if you're not used to it... which a god isn't. Um, err... And that explains too, I think... um... the three hours sleep. You see, undisguised gods never sleep at all
Caligula:Yes, you're probably right. But then if I'm a god, which of course I am, then why didn't I think of that? Anyway, whatever the reason, it's very hard to be a god. Oh, you do know that I am that all-powerful god whose coming the Jews have prophesied for centuries?
Claudius:Oh, yes, yes, you told me. I feel very p-privileged to receive that information, especially as the Jews, apparently, don't know it.
Caligula:Yes, but it's prophesied that he'll die young and hated by his own people.
Claudius:No, I can't believe that. No. Not hated.
Caligula:It's incredible, isn't it? It must be true. Uncle, I want you to come with us on this expedition. When we've auctioned the stuff in the carts... When they arrive! We shall cross the Rhine, defeat the Germans and then we shall march towards the sea and I shall do battle with my old enemy Neptune, and oh what triumphs I shall have when we return to Rome. Now you may leave me. I have a headache.
4. Seeds Of Discontent
Caligula:Your Emperor is amongst you once again. All his wars successfully concluded and the victorious armies brought back to Rome. He had thought, in his divine innocence... that the roads might be lined with cheering crowds. He had thought that the streets might be strewn with flowers. He had thought that there might be messages to greet him telling him of triumphs to be awarded. What did he find? This conqueror of the Germans, this victor over the mighty Neptune? The streets empty of crowds and flowers, no triumphs awarded, no Games, no celebrations... but three miserable old ex-Consuls waiting at the gates to greet him and a room full of cowardly stay-at-home senators, who spent all their time in the theatre and at the baths, while he has spent six months living no better than a private soldier! Yes, your Emperor has returned... but with this in his hand!
Senator:But, Jove, you ordered no triumphs.
Caligula:Well, of course I ordered no triumphs! Do you think I'd order triumphs for myself?
Senator:But you ordered us not to order any.
Caligula:Yes, and you took me at my word, didn't you? Typical! It didn't occur to you that I might be leaving it up to you for your love to show itself freely? It didn't occur to you that it might be my natural humility speaking? I ordered you not to celebrate. But you ordered celebrations for the anniversary of Actium, didn't you? Didn't forget to celebrate the defeat of my great-grandfather Mark Antony! How many bottles of wine did you open toasting his murder while I was doing battle with the sea? Show them our booty! Show them the plunder we gathered from old Neptune.
Caligula:Yes. Spoils of the sea. Loot from old Neptune. He won't take me on again in a hurry.
Senator:Jove, while you were away, we built a new temple to you on Palatine Hill.
Caligula:That won't save you! Down on your knees, all of you! Bend your heads. I shall sever each one at the neck!
Claudius:Merciful god! Would you spoil the great day of your return by the spilling of blood? When they come to write the history of this memorable day should they have to mix it with the memory of the death of these fools?
Caesonia:Claudius is right, my Lord. My husband. Think of your little daughter. One day when she is older, she will read the account of your return. Must these fools intrude on such a glorious page of history?
Caligula:Your soft words have appeased my wrath. As we know, prayer can soften the hearts of gods. You may go. I shall inspect the temple in the morning.
Marcus:How right you were, Jove, to think of punishing them for celebrating the battle of Actium.
Caligula:Well you see Marcus, I had them both ways. Because if they hadn't, they would have insulted the god Augustus, my grandfather, who won the battle.
Marcus:And Agrippa too, who was also there and was your other grandfather...
Caligula:Marcus Vinicius, you are no longer my friend.
Marcus:What have I said?
Claudius:You reminded him that Agrippa was his grandfather.
Marcus:But Agrippa was a great man!
Claudius:Yes, but of very l-low birth. Such men do not produce gods, Marcus. Certainly not ones capable of d-defeating Neptune.
Cassius:If you're no longer his friend, what can you be but his enemy?
Marcus:Go your own way, Cassius.
Cassius:If we all go our own way, we shall all end by going the same way.
5. A Dancing Fool
Claudius:[loud knocking] Yes. I'm coming! Oh, yes, yes, I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm coming.
Calpurnia:Oh, Claudius, don't go. They could be assassins.
Claudius:Who are you? What do you want?
Cassius:You're wanted at the palace!
Claudius:Is that you, Cassius?
Cassius:Yes. Hurry up.
Claudius:W-Well, what's the matter?
Cassius:My orders are to fetch you at once. Marcus Vinicius and Asprenas too. Never mind about dressing just throw on a cloak.
Marcus:How long...? How long have we been sitting here, do you think?
Claudius:About t-t-two hours. It must be nearly light.
Marcus:What do you think he's going to do with us?
Claudius:I don't know. I j-just hope it's q-quick, that's all
Marcus:Claudius, I'm sorry I've made fun of you in the past.
Claudius:Oh, it doesn't m-matter now.
Marcus:Will you give me your hand? Thank you, that's a great comfort to me.
Singer:Whenever the God of Night sleeps on.. The rosy-fingered goddess, Dawn.. Tiptoes on his domain.. And then she flits across the skies from star to star about.. She lightens darkness where she flies and blows Night's candles out.. Raging on her heels Night treads.. And tries to hold her fast.. And bring her loveliness to bed and ravish her at last.. And every night he once contrives to win a single kiss.. To win a single kiss.. Before the morning sun arrives.. To rob him of his bliss.. And now she turns and lightly treads.. On pillows everywhere.. She must awaken from their beds.. The secret lovers there.. But loath to part they linger there.. She urges them away.. Oh, Dawn, of goddesses most fair.. We worship you each day.. We worship you each day!
Claudius:Oh, god of gods! Never have I witnessed a dance that gave me such p-profound s-spiritual joy!
Caligula:Oh. Did you like it?
Claudius:It was indesc-cribable.
Caligula:Well, it was only a rehearsal
Claudius:Oh. W-whatever will the f-finished performance be like?
Caligula:Get up. Come here. What did you think of the girl?
Claudius:Oh, b-beautiful
Caligula:You old lecher! Bring the girl back! I'm going to marry her to you tomorrow!
Claudius:T-t-to me?
Caligula:Mmm. I think it'd be very funny. All that loveliness married to a silly crippled old fool like you. I mean, what on earth would you do with it? Oh, Messalina, come here. I'm going to marry you... to Uncle Claudius! And you can both come and live in the palace.
Messalina:Thank you, Caesar.
Caligula:And now I must away to shed more light. Oh, Cassius! Oh, yes. The watchword for tonight. "Bottoms up!"
Marcus:I give you another watchword - "Liberty".
Claudius:I'm s-s-sorry.
Messalina:Don't you want to marry me?
Claudius:Well, it's j-just that I'm so much older than you.
Messalina:I'd be very happy to be married to you. To tell you the truth, I was terrified when he brought me here. I thought he was going to... I'd feel safe being married to you. Do you think you could ever love me?
Claudius:I think... I'm in l-l-love with you already.
Messalina:Well, if I'm to be married tomorrow, I must go home and get ready. Goodbye, Claudius.
Claudius:G-g-g... g-goodbye.
Usher:Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, his family and friends.
Messalina:Welcome, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, to you and your family and your friends.
Claudius:I thank you, V-Valeria Messalina, for my family and my friends. And I thank you for m-myself.
Usher:The noble senator Incitatus.
Caligula:You know everybody, don't you? Well, find yourself a place. He's never been to a wedding before. His life has really opened up since I made him a senator. Well, let the auspices be taken.
6. The Death Of Caligula
Cassius:Kill him. We've talked enough. I say kill him.
Marcus:It's risky.
Cassius:You can't kill a man without taking a risk.
Marcus:But those German guards never leave him.
Cassius:There's always a way. But are you with us? Or will you wait till he offers you poisoned fruit or has your throat cut at dinner?
Marcus:It's all right for you, you're a soldier.
Cassius:Yes. You can leave the killing to me. But will you help?
Asprenas:He's right, Marcus. The longer we leave it, the more certain it is we shan't survive.
Marcus:All right. But when and where?
Cassius:Tomorrow is the final day of the Games. Let's do it then.
Cassius:There's a covered way at the rear of the Imperial box. It's an exit you must persuade him to use.
Cassius:Find a reason. Tell him there are crowds out front and they'll delay his meal.
Sabinus:He'll have his German guards with him.
Cassius:Yes. Now, here's the tricky part. Sabinus and I will be waiting outside. You'll be in the box with Caligula and a few friends. Normally, he would lead the way out, followed by his friends and then the guards. The staircase down to the covered way is narrow. You must be sure to be behind Caligula. As he steps out, into the covered way, you must stumble or drop something, anything to give us time to slam the gates from the outside and separate Caligula from the guards. That's all you have to do.
Asprenas:And then what?
Cassius:We call on the Senate to declare a Republic and put an end to this madness.
Asprenas:Who dies with Caligula?
Cassius:The whole Imperial family, Caesonia, the child, the two sisters... and dear old Uncle Claudius and his new wife.
Marcus:No, I don't want that.
Asprenas:We must! Whatever they think of Caligula, they won't rest until they removed his assassins. None of us would be safe afterwards.
Marcus:It's Caligula alone or not at all
Cassius:All right. Just Caligula.
Asprenas:Liberty and the Republic.
Sabinus:I don't like it. It's dangerous to leave the others alive.
Cassius:We shan't. I'll see to that, don't worry. If they're in for Caligula, they're in for the lot.
Caligula:Oh, damn! I've lost all my money! I'm not playing any more.
Claudius:Here, Lord, let me lend you some.
Caligula:Lend? You know how I hate running up debt.
Claudius:Oh... well, have half of my set...
Caligula:Accepted. ... Why am I so unlucky today! Unless of course it's your dice I'm playing with.
Marcus:My dice? Why should my dice be any different from any other?
Claudius:Oh, a dice is a very personal thing. One man's dice may be lucky for himself, but not for his friend. Here, Lord, try these. They were sent to me by Herod. He claims they once belonged to Alexander the G-Great.
Caligula:Really? I'd no idea that Alexander played dice.
Claudius:He had many things in common with you, Lord.
Caligula:[crowd roars] What is it?
Claudius:He's got the Thracian down. The crowd want him spared, they've turned their thumbs up.
Caligula:The Thracian? [thumbs down, crowd boos] If they only had one neck, I'd hack it through. ... I never did like that Thracian. He's lost me a lot of money over the last year. Alexander, you say? Well, let's see. By Jove, which is always to say "by myself", that looks promising. Come one, pay up, everybody. I think I'm indebted to you, Uncle. You've changed my luck.
Claudius:Oh, some dice are fit only for gods to throw.
Marcus:What about something to eat? Is Caesar hungry?
Caligula:No. ... Oh, I see what you mean! These dice were made for me. Come on, pay up again. You did me a lot of harm with those dice, Marcus. And I'm raising the stakes to 3,000.
Claudius:I've r-run out of money, Lord.
Caligula:Well, that doesn't matter. Your new wife's got plenty. I'll take an IOU. Come on, pay up.
Cassius:I've posted guards at both ends and told them to prevent anyone coming through here.
Sabinus:They'll be out soon.
Cassius:I've dismissed the palace guards. They're all at the Games.
Sabinus:Will you strike the first blow?
Cassius:Jove himself couldn't stop me.
Caligula:Well, I can see you don't want to play any more. You only like playing when you're winning. Shall we watch the Games for a while?
Marcus:What about a swim and then something to eat?
Caligula:No, I don't think so. I don't feel very hungry today but I've had a wonderful morning, Uncle, thanks to you.. Is there any small favor I could grant you?
Claudius:Oh, Lord, please, regard it as a small return for the g-great happiness you've given me with my new wife.
Caligula:Happiness? She wasn't supposed to make you happy, nor you her. It was meant to be a joke!
Claudius:Oh, no, no. You misunderstand me. No, I'm so clumsy at expressing myself. No, no. What I meant was that my happiness comes from contemplating yours. To be the cause of s-so much merriment is the source of d-deepest satisfaction to me.
Caligula:Where are you going, Marcus?
Marcus:To tell the truth, Lord, nature calls. It must've been something I ate last night.
Caligula:Don't look at me. If I decide to doctor your food, you won't have to wait until morning to find out. ... That's odd. He wanted to eat a moment ago. His behavior's very strange lately.
Caligula:Well, nervous. What has he got to be nervous about?
Claudius:We're all nervous in your presence, Lord.
Caligula:I've never been able to understand that. ... Excuse me. Thank you.
Marcus:He doesn't want to eat. We'll have to put it off, it won't work.
Cassius:Then I'll go in and kill him where he sits!
Marcus:They'll cut you down.
Cassius:What's that to me? But I'll call on you for help before they do.
Marcus:No, wait! I'll tell him his Greek ballet have arrived. He'll come out for that.
Cassius:Anything. But get him out here!
Marcus:Lord, Cassius informs me your Greek ballet is here.
Caligula:Greek ballet? Where are they?
Marcus:Waiting outside to greet you.
Caligula:Bring them in and present them. Oh, just the boys. The girls can wait.
Marcus:Lord, they say that they have prepared a dance in your honor which they wish to perform for you outside.
Caligula:Oh well, in that case, we mustn't disappoint them. Shall we go and see what they've prepared?
Marcus:Lord, they're at the rear, the front is too full of people.
Caligula:Well, if they're as good as people say they are, I might let them dance with me.
Caligula:What's this? I thought we were...
Cassius:The watchword, butcher, is "Liberty!"
Caligula:Oh no! ... No you can't, I'm a god! I'm a god! You can't kill me! ... Drusilla! I'm dying! Drusilla!
Cassius:Finish him!
Sabinus:This is from our wives, Jove.
Claudius:You fools! You've let them kill him! Your Emperor! After them!
Caesonia:Oh, Cassius. Cassius, what's happened? Where has everybody gone? No, not the baby! No!
7. A New Emperor
Sergeant:This way lads. The main room, hurry, There's some stuff in here. Hurry up, lads! Take what you can. Let's get out before the Germans come. Get anything you can take. Check it's got gold in it.
Gratus:Hey, Sergeant.
Gratus:Here's one of them. It's one of the assassins!
Claudius:N-no! Don't kill me, s-sir, I b-beg you! I had nothing to do with it!
Gratus:You bastard. Kill our beloved Emperor, would you? Put us all out of work?
Sergeant:Wait a minute, Gratus, that's not an assassin. It's the Emperor's uncle, Germanicus' lame old brother. He's harmless. Leave him alone, can't you see he's crippled. Come on, sir, get up. We won't harm you.
Claudius:Thank you.
Sergeant:There, you see, the lads are a bit angry, sir. Without an Emperor, there's no Praetorian Guard, and it's back to the army for the lot of us.
Claudius:I m-must go and f-find my wife.
Sergeant:Of course, you must sir. Gratus, take a couple of lads and go with this gentlemen!
Gratus:Why can't we have him for an Emperor?
Sergeant:What? Old Claudius? Don't be stupid, lad. He's a simpleton. He's...
Gratus:I don't know, he's better than nothing.
Claudius:No, no! I don't want to be Emperor! I want a Republic!
Sergeant:You a member of the Imperial family, sir? Don't make me laugh! Hey, lads! We've found an Emperor!
German Guard:Das ist eine! Da achtung!
Gratus:Wait a minute, Just a minute, Herman. That's our new Emperor. Kaiser! Emperor!
German Guard:Ja?
Gratus:Ja! Lift him up, lads! Long live the Emperor Claudius!
Claudius:No! Put me down! Put me down!
Gratus:Oh, don't worry, sir, you'll get used to it. It's not such a bad life. Put this on him.
Claudius:Put me down! I don't want to be an Emperor! I w-want a Republic.
Gratus:Don't keep saying that, sir. Not in front of the Germans, they'll slit your throat. Now, come on, smile. Smile. That's it, that's it. Look happy. Long live the Emperor!
Praetorian Guard:Long live the Emperor! Long live the Emperor! Long live the Emperor! Long live the Emperor! Long live the Emperor! Long live the Emperor! Long live the Emperor! Long live the Emperor!
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 11
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1 - Fool's Luck
Cestias:I call upon the noble Appius Junius Silanus to speak.
Silanus:Senators, I was summoned here from Spain by our Emperor. By our late Emperor. [laughter] I need hardly describe to you the feelings with which I made the journey. A few months ago, hearing that an old friend was sick, I went to see him. "What is it that ails you?" I asked him. He smiled. "Appius Silanus", he said, "I have been summoned to Rome". He meant, of course, that he was dying. I arrived here yesterday. Today, the Emperor is dead instead of me. Let that notorious phrase - summoned to Rome - perish with him from our language forever. And let us return once again to the sanity of a republic! [cheering]
Cestias:Senators! Senators! Senators! The Praetorian Guards have carried off Caligula's Uncle Claudius and proclaimed him Emperor. Did you not hear what I said? The Guards have proclaimed Tiberius Claudius Emperor. [laughter]
2 - To Be Or Not To Be
Gratus:Come on, sir. Drink up.
Claudius:I d-don't want any wine.
Gratus:Well, do you er...? Do you mind if I...?
Claudius:No, do as you like. I'm y-your prisoner, not you mine.
Gratus:No, no, you're not our prisoner. You're our Emperor.
Claudius:I've told you a d-dozen times, I d-don't want to be Emperor.
Gratus:You're a funny chap. I'll bet you're the only person in this country that doesn't want to be an emperor, and yet here you are, chosen to be one. Life's full of irony, isn't it?
Rufrius:Hail. Caesar!
Claudius:I have no right to that title and you've no business using it!
Gratus:I've told you sir, he's being very awkward. He's been most uncooperative all the way here.
Rufrius:Alright, leave us. You know, sir, I knew your brother, the noble Germanicus, on the Rhine years ago. We tried to make him Emperor when Augustus died, but he'd not have it either.
Claudius:Well, my b-brother believed in a r-republic.
Rufrius:Yes, well that's all very well for the likes of you, sir. Being members of the Imperial family, you can afford the luxury of Republican sentiments. I can't. I rose through the ranks. Besides, I've got 4,000 men who need an Emperor if they're to be gainfully employed. I need hardly remind you of what the result might be if they're let loose on the streets with nothing to do. [knocking]
Gratus:Excuse me, sir. There's a chap here who claims to be the King of Bashan.
Claudius:C-claims to be or is?
Gratus:Well, I don't know. I didn't know there was a place called Bashan let alone a king of it.
Rufrius:Do you know him, sir?
Claudius:Well, if it's King Herod, of course. L-let him in.
Herod:Congratulations, Caesar, on your election! May you long enjoy the great honors these brave soldiers have bestowed on you.
Gratus:There you are, sir, you see! And he's the King of Bashan.
Rufrius:You've arrived at just the right moment, sir. It seems that though we've elected him Emperor, Tiberius Claudius has a Republic in mind. Perhaps you can persuade him to see the consequences of that. I wish you wouldn't keep taking it off, sir. It really does suit you.
Claudius:What is the matter with you, Herod? Do you intend to go along with this farce?
Herod:Listen to me, old friend, and be thankful I arrived in Rome at this time. I know your views, so I know exactly what you're thinking. You have some idea of yielding up your power to the Senate at the earliest possible moment.
Claudius:Of course
Herod:You mustn't! First, it would be signal for civil war. The Senate are a flock of sheep, but there are several wolves among them, all convinced they should be Emperor. Secondly, the moment you relinquish your power, you're a dead man.
Claudius:Why? I b-believe in a Republic.
Herod:You're a danger to the assassins. They've already killed Caesonia and the child.
Herod:Don't you see? A Republic necessitates the death of the whole Imperial family, not just Caligula.
Claudius:And M-Messalina?
Herod:Oh, she's safe. All that matters now is that you put aside your ancient prejudices, my friend, and accept the reality that is. If you do not, I cannot answer for the consequences.
Rufrius:These two Protectors have been sent to summon you to the Senate.
Claudius:What has happened to them?
Rufrius:They're fortunate to be alive, sir. The Guards almost killed them as they crossed the camp.
Claudius:Don't you know their persons are inv-violable?
Rufrius:Sorry, Caesar. I'd have given them protection if I'd known they were coming.
Claudius:It's a disgrace. Well, what does the Senate want?
Protector:Pardon us, Caesar...
Claudius:Stop c-calling me that!
Protector:The Senate would be obliged by your immediate attendance at the house. They're anxious to know your intentions.
Gratus:What, take our Emperor? Not a chance. Dump them in the Tiber!
Rufrius:Get back, all of you! Tell the Senate that our Emperor remains here. And when he leaves, he leaves with 4,000 Guards behind him.
Claudius:Give my compliments to the Senate. Tell them I am unable, for the moment, to comply with their request. And, give them safe conduct back to the city.
Rufrius:Caesar. ... Out. Get a move on.
Herod:Do nothing until you hear from me. I shall try to arrange a meeting between you and leading members of the Senate, but in the palace. But make your mind up to it, Claudius. For good or ill. they've made you Emperor. If you don't accept, you won't survive - or any of your family. If you do nothing else, accept. At least for the time being.
3 - Taking Charge
Claudius:Senators, I understand you d-d-do not want another Emperor. But it seems you've b-been given one. I sympathize with you. I d-do not want to be an Emperor, but it seems I have been chosen one. Perhaps you would t-take a little moment to sympathize with me.
Cestias:Your appointment is unconstitutional
Claudius:I agree, but there are 4,000 Praetorian Guards who d-do not. And who created that Praetorian Guard? You did in the reign of Augustus.
Marcus:Nevertheless, it's against the constitution for anyone but the Senate to appoint an Emperor.
Claudius:It is also against the constitution to m-murder one! But if you hadn't done so, Marcus, we shouldn't b-be in this absurd position!
Asprenas:You're not fit to be Emperor.
Claudius:I agree. But then nor was my nephew.
Asprenas:Then what difference is there between you?
Claudius:He would not have agreed, and by now your head would be on that f-floor for saying so!
Cestias:There are those who say you cannot hear properly, you cannot speak properly, and you've got no experience of government.
Claudius:And that I am, besides, half w-witted. Senators, it is true I am hard of hearing... but you will find it's not for want of listening. As for speaking, again, it's true I have an impediment. But isn't what a man says more important than how.....long he takes to say it? It's true, again, I have little experience of government. But then have you more? I, at least, have lived with the imperial family who have ruled this Empire ever since you so spinelessly handed it over to us! I've observed it working more closely than any of you. Is your experience better than that? As for being half-witted. Well, what can I say except that I have survived to middle age with half my wits, while thousands have died with all of theirs intact! Evidently, quality of wits is more important than quantity. Senators, I shall do nothing unconstitutional. I shall appear at the next session of the Senate where you may confirm me in my position or not, as you wish. But if it pleases you not to, explain your reasons to them, not to me! Now you may all leave my house except Marcus, Vinicius and Asprenas. And bring in Cassius Chaerea and G-Gaius Sabinus. ... I feel a f-fraud.
Herod:You won't when you begin work. There's much to do. You're doing very well.
Rufrius:Caesar, Gaius Sabinus is dead. He's taken his own life. All the officers involved in the conspiracy have been arrested and are awaiting trial and execution.
Claudius:I cannot find it in me to condemn you for killing my nephew. But you also murdered the Lady Caesonia and the child, and you meant to murder me and my wife. None of whom had ever done you any harm.
Cassius:I did it for the Republic and I would do it again.
Claudius:No. You did it more for the injuries to yourself than for the Republic. But even that doesn't weigh with me. What w-weighs with me is w-what I've heard - that it was agreed among you that only Caligula should die. But that you took it upon yourself to kill us all, Is that true?
Cassius:Why should I deny it? When your very existence here proves that only your death would have ensured the return of the Republic.
Claudius:Then you leave me no choice... b-but to condemn you for the murder of Caesonia and the child. Take him away.
Cassius:Congratulations, Caesar. You've passed your first sentence of death. How many more will you pass before they grow tired of you and pass one on you? Isn't that the way we've set for ourselves? Think about it, Caesar! Think about it!
Claudius:The investigation into this affair is closed.
Crowd:Hail. Caesar! Hail. Caesar! Hail. Caesar!
Claudius:Oh, here. Oh, wait. He's dribbling. Oh, chu chu chu.
Messalina:Claudius, there's no need to show him on the balcony every time you come in to see him.
Claudius:Well, I like to show him. The people like to see him. Next to you, he's the most imp-portant thing in my life. I can't thank you enough for him. I am so v-very much in love.
Messalina:And so am I. ... I've given him to a foster mother to nurse.
Claudius:What, you're not going to b-breast feed him anymore?
Messalina:No, my dear. Now, wait. I've thought a great deal about it. Now, be honest, have I been a help to you since you became Emperor?
Claudius:Of course. What would I have done without you? Oh. What would I have done without her?
Messalina:Now, I want no small husbandly praises. I asked you to let me revise the senatorial roll - who should be left on and who should be taken off. Was I efficient?
Claudius:I was amazed, truly, at how much detailed knowledge you had of everyone.
Messalina:And all the detailed work I did connected with your office as Director of Public Morals?
Claudius:Yes, it was a revelation. Yes, truly, you've been a great help to me.
Messalina:As Livia was to Augustus?
Claudius:... Yes.
Messalina:My darling, I want to be Livia to your Augustus. Now, you know I have a brain in my head, as she had. I'll never be content just to be the mother of children. Oh, oh, of course I shall love them. They'll be yours - how could I not? But I must work alongside you and relieve you of some of the small and petty burdens that have been thrust upon you.
Claudius:And will breast feeding my little son interfere with all this great work of state?
Messalina:Well, how would you feel if you had to break off in the middle of a Senate meeting to go and breast feed a child - not once, but four or five times a day?
Claudius:Yes. I can hardly find time to f-feed myself. Very well. All right. Now I shall leave you to rest.
Messalina:And you too should rest. You've not stopped for a year.
Claudius:When do I have time to stop? Well, if you're not going to feed my son, I shall find you other work to do for me.
Messalina:I told you he wouldn't be angry.
Domitia:You are very fortunate to have such an understanding husband - considering that he's also Emperor.
Messalina:Well, he loves me and I help him.
Domitia:I don't know why you want to concern yourself so much with matters of state. It's not a woman's place.
Messalina:It may not be yours, Mother, but it's mine.
Domitia:Do you not intend to have any more children?
Domitia:Does your husband realize this?
Messalina:Not yet.
Domitia:How will you prevent it?
Messalina:Oh, Mother, you're such a mouse. Do you think a wife must give in to her husband every time he insists? And one of his age? There are ways of being nice to a man without risking pregnancy every time. ... Have you never thought of marrying again? You know, you're still an attractive woman.
Domitia:I've thought of it. Why? Do you want to get rid of me?
Messalina:Of course not. On the contrary, I'd hope that you and any husband would continue to live in the new palace.
Domitia:Well, there's nobody who wants me.
Messalina:Not even Appius Silanus?
Domitia:Why ever did you say that?
Messalina:Weren't you fond of him once?
Domitia:Oh, well... What a memory you have. You were so young.
Messalina:Oh, I remember him very well. He used to come to the house quite often.
Domitia:Well, that was a long time ago. And besides, he was in Rome at the time of Caligula's assassination but he never came near me.
Messalina:Perhaps he lacked encouragement.
Domitia:Well, he went back to Spain and I've no desire to live there, so stop making plans in that busy little head of yours.
4 - Advice From An Old Friend
Herod:So Livia is a goddess at last? That will please her. I think she wanted that more than anything.
Claudius:Yes, I've kept my promise, though I never dreamed I'd ever be able to. But the Senate f-formally granted my request this morning. Livia takes her p-place among the gods.
Messalina:I should like to be there in Heaven when she arrives, and the Divine Augustus takes her by the hand and shows her to all the gods. Oh, how proud he'll be.
Herod:The Lady Messalina is excessively romantic.
Claudius:Yes. I'm a l-l-lucky man, am I not? Shall we tell him?
Messalina:Since he's going away, let him be the first to know.
Claudius:She's pregnant again.
Herod:So soon?
Messalina:You see, even Herod thinks it's too soon.
Claudius:Well, my love, it wasn't my fault.
Herod:Well, whose fault was it then, eh?
Claudius:Well, no... I mean, she gave our little son out to be nursed. Well, I understood. She does so much work for me. It was inconvenient. But it's well known breast feeding is a sure guarantee against pregnancy.
Herod:When is it due?
Messalina:In July.
Herod:I shall send it something very special indeed.
Claudius:What am I going to do without you, my friend? Won't you change your mind and stay?
Herod:No, Caesar, you don't need me anymore.
Claudius:I need you. Who's going to tell me how to borrow money or what the corn factors are saying in the city?
Herod:You have good people about you now who can tell you far more than I can.
Claudius:Messalina, make him change his mind.
Messalina:He has kingdoms of his own to govern. And you've given him several more than he had when he arrived.
Claudius:Oh, yes. Yes, I mustn't be selfish.
Messalina:But it's true, all your principal advisers are freedmen. It would be good to find a nobleman to take the place of King Herod on whom you could absolutely rely.
Claudius:Are you thinking of someone?
Messalina:Yes, my love.
Claudius:You see how she works for me! Her mind is never still. Who?
Messalina:Appius Silanus.
Claudius:Well, he's Governor of Spain.
Messalina:Why yes, and a man of immense experience. He's wasted in Spain. You should bring him to the palace and have him permanently at your side.
Herod:He has Republican sentiments.
Claudius:Well, haven't I?
Herod:He spoke out strongly against you in the Senate after the assassination.
Claudius:Augustus n-never enquired into people's political beliefs. He always said that was not his concern. I shall always do the same. Yes, but I'm not sure Silanus would like to live in the palace.
Messalina:Well, the new palace, which you've turned into offices.
Herod:I have a feeling the Lady Messalina is ahead of us.
Claudius:Come, what are you thinking?
Messalina:It's only a suggestion, but you know my mother was fond of him once. It would please her to marry again, and I'm sure that Silanus would not be adverse to a connection by marriage with the Emperor's family.
Claudius:Have you added m-matchmaker to your list of chosen careers?
Messalina:Of course, if you don't approve...
Claudius:Well, I'm j-joking. I think it's a very good idea. Hey, what do you think?
Herod:As from today, I cease to give advice on any subject!
Messalina:Well, I'm tired. I shall leave you both to talk. Goodnight, my dear.
Claudius:Have we tired you out?
Messalina:Oh, of course not. Goodbye, King Herod. If your people love you as much as we do, you are a fortunate king indeed.
Herod:I shall be thinking of you in July.
Claudius:Goodnight. ... Am I not the most f-fortunate of men, Herod? Now, why have I deserved such luck?
Herod:Oh, it's fool's luck, little marmoset. You've always had it and you always will. One day, I'm sure, you'll be an Olympian god when I am only a dead king. You know, when I first came to Rome, you all seemed like gods to me.
Claudius:Oh, I'm sure I never l-looked like one.
Herod:Yes, even you. Do you ever think of those days at all, eh, little marmoset?
Claudius:Lately I've been thinking about them a good deal. And with a good reason. I'm thinking of writing a book about my family.
Herod:Oh, what sort of book?
Claudius:T-the truth.
Herod:Oh. Will you tell everything?
Claudius:Everything. As an historian should. Not great tales of heroic exploits as T-Titus Livy wrote, no, but the plain facts, the kitchen details, even the gossip.
Herod:Why? Why should you want to write such a book? Eh? Why rake it all up?
Claudius:Because I owe it to the others to tell the truth. T-to Postumus and Germanicus.
Claudius:Because they're dead, and a man should keep faith with his friends even though they're dead. You see, I've been so very fortunate in my life, when they, who were born more deserving, have not. I've had only three real friends in my life. Postumus and Germanicus were two. The third one is you.
Herod:Listen, Claudius. Let me give you a piece of advice.
Claudius:Oh, I thought you'd finished with advice.
Herod:One last piece and then I'm done. Trust no one, my friend, no one. Not your most grateful freedman, not your most intimate friend, not your dearest child, not the wife of your bosom. Trust no one.
Claudius:No one? Not even you?
Messalina:Is it all right?
Midwife:Beautiful. Beautiful. [baby cries]
Messalina:Is it a boy or a girl?
Claudius:Well, let us at least get the engineers to survey it. We've always w-wanted a safe winter harbor. Everybody's always said it would cost too much. Well, let us find out. [knocking]
Slave:Caesar, Caesar! The child is born!
Narcissus:Caesar, your child is born.
Slave:The child is born, Caesar. It's a girl
Claudius:Oh, Lucina be praised! She's heard my prayers. I'm coming. Let's have no more discussion. Get the engineers to make that survey. Then we'll decide.
Narcissus:It'll cost ten million. More.
Pallas:Well, the more expensive it is, the less likely it is it will ever be built.
Narcissus:What are you suggesting? That we exaggerate the cost?
Pallas:Well, my dear Narcissus, you have money in corn. I have money in corn. Lots of people have money in corn. The more corn that can be landed in winter, the lower the price will be. That worries me.
Narcissus:That could be construed as a very selfish point of view.
Pallas:Are you saying there is less selfishness in wanting the price of corn to be low rather than high?
Narcissus:There are more people who want it to be low.
Pallas:Doesn't that add up to more selfishness rather than less?
Narcissus:That is sheer sophistry. One cannot argue with you.
Pallas:Well, let's get the engineer's report and I'm sure the cost will take care of the philosophical considerations.
5 - Separation
Claudius:Oh. I must have fallen asleep.
Messalina:You're tired. You don't look well. You work too hard.
Claudius:Yes, but so do you.
Messalina:You're not so young as I am. What does your doctor say?
Claudius:Oh, what they all say. I work too many hours. I should work less.
Messalina:Well, they're right. You should leave more things to other people.
Narcissus:Well, I'm going to see another doctor soon. A G-Greek, recommended by Herod.
Messalina:Do you think that wise? Our own doctors are so clever.
Claudius:Well, I'll see him. What can I lose? How's my l-little daughter?
Messalina:Cutting her first tooth. The nurse showed it to me today.
Claudius:Ah. Oh, that's painful. Poor little thing.
Messalina:I think I have the most adorable husband in the world. He feels everything so deeply.
Claudius:You have the m-most adoring.
Messalina:What did you tell me the other day were the three main pillars of the temple of love?
Claudius:Oh, frankness, kindness and understanding. Why?
Messalina:I want to put them to the test.
Claudius:What have you done?
Messalina:Nothing. But there's something I want to do and for which I must be frank.
Claudius:And for which I must be kind and understanding? Well, tell me.
Messalina:Could you possibly allow me to sleep in a bedroom of my own for a little while? Oh, don't look like that or I shall hate myself forever! Oh, I should never have suggested it.
Claudius:But d-do you not l-love me anymore? I could understand that. I am so much older than you.
Messalina:Oh, my dear! I love you more than I ever did. Don't you know that? Well, it's because I do that I don't want to risk a third pregnancy in so short a time. Well, don't you see what it could do to our marriage? To our love for one another?
Claudius:My love, I would never force myself upon you. Do we have to sleep apart? Couldn't we at least s-share the same bed?
Messalina:Don't you see how much more it would hurt our marriage if you felt passionate to me in the night and I felt I had to refuse you? And if I did not, well how remorseful you would feel afterwards? Oh, I've hurt you. I should never have mentioned it.
Claudius:No, no, no. Oh... How l-long would you want the s-separation to last?
Messalina:Oh, not long. Well, let's see how it goes. You know I couldn't keep away from you forever. I shall slip into your room now and then when you least expect it. I think that could be even more fun, don't you?
Pallas:Pardon me, Caesar, but you asked me to let you know the moment the noble Appius Junius Silanus arrived. He is here.
Claudius:Oh, I'll see him shortly.
Messalina:Oh, no, wait. I'm leaving. Let him come in. Well, he's had a long journey.
Claudius:Oh, yes. Very well, my love. If you think it would be good for our m-marriage to be apart for a little while. Women know more about these matters than men. I'll have the servants arrange another bedroom.
Messalina:Oh, there's no need for that. Well, since you've agreed that it's a very sensible proposal. Let's do it properly and remove all temptation. I'll move into a suite next to my mother in the new palace. Well, after all, my offices are there too. It'll be much more convenient.
Pallas:The noble Appius Junius Silanus, Caesar.
Silanus:Hail. Caesar.
Claudius:Did you have a good journey?
Silanus:Excellent. The roads are in good shape.
Claudius:Do you know my wife, the Lady Messalina?
Silanus:Only as a girl. You are even more beautiful than you were then.
Messalina:I'm so glad you're here. You shall be a great help to my husband. I'll tell my mother you've arrived. Perhaps we can all meet at dinner?
Silanus:It will give me great pleasure to see her again.
Xenophon:Your eyes are inflamed, but I can deal with that. I'll give you a lotion to bathe them with. Slight retraction of the eyeballs. You've had infantile paralysis?
Xenophon:Well, there's nothing I can do about that. The rest of your body is fairly sound though. Good strong arms. You've developed to compensate for your legs. Were you a premature birth?
Xenophon:I thought so. And you've had measles, colitis, erysipelas.
Claudius:And scrofula. Can you tell all that just by looking at me?
Xenophon:And using my brains. Your food is not properly digested from yesterday.
Claudius:Well, we had a wedding yesterday. Appius Silanus married my mother-in-law. I probably ate too much.
Xenophon:You must stop that. Never get up from a table without wishing you'd like something more. I suppose you get wind?
Xenophon:Well, yes if you do, let it out. Don't hold it in. It does great injury to the stomach. I don't mind which end you let it out but let it out. A man who puts good manners before good health is a fool, I suppose it's no point in prescribing exercise?
Claudius:No. What time do I get for exercise?
Xenophon:Massage will have to do. You can get up now. Now, Caesar, listen to me. You work too many hours. I don't suppose you'll reduce them because all important people think they're indispensable, but I suggest you read as little as possible - get your secretaries to read everything to you. Rest for an hour after your principal meal. Don't go rushing off to the law courts as soon as you finish your dessert. And you must find time for 20 minutes massage twice a day.
Claudius:Well, I've got a very good masseur.
Xenophon:Get rid of him. The only good masseurs in Rome are slaves of mine. I'll send one them to you.
Claudius:Well, what about the cramps in my stomach?
Xenophon:What cramps. If you will eat large meals quickly in a state of nervous excitement, you must expect cramp. But I'll give you some medicine to relieve them.
Claudius:Ah, medicine. Some secret preparation, I suppose? Can I get that here or shall I have to send away for it?
Xenophon:You can find it on any piece of waste ground. It's bryony.
Claudius:What, common bryony?
Xenophon:That's right. I'll leave instructions on how to prepare it.
Claudius:And what about the prayers?
Xenophon:What prayers?
Claudius:Well, don't you prescribe special prayers to be used when taking medicine?
Xenophon:I suggest Caesar, that as High Pontiff and the author of a book on religion, you are more qualified to prescribe prayers than I am.
Claudius:Do you Greeks believe in nothing?
Xenophon:I've told you what I believe in - bryony. Hail. Caesar.
6 - Plans Revealed
Silanus:You asked to see me?
Silanus:I too wished to see you. I've not had an opportunity of speaking to you since the wedding. Which, I understand, I owe to your good offices.
Silanus:You have done me a kindness and, I hope, your mother.
Messalina:Let me speak with you for a moment. Come and sit beside me. ... I love you. I've always loved you, ever since I was a girl No. No...don't say anything. In all the years since you stopped coming to our house, I have never once gone to sleep at night without thinking of you. Not once. Can you understand that? Not one single night have I slept without thinking of your arms about me. I've burned inside thinking of you. And now you're here. Here.
Silanus:I... I don't understand.
Messalina:Oh, my darling. I've arranged all this to have you near me. I've dreamed of nothing else.
Silanus:Well, then I must tell you that these are the fantasies of a young girl They're the sort of dreams we put aside when we grow up.
Messalina:But I have not put them aside, nor will I.
Silanus:Am I to understand that my marriage to your mother - which you brought me here to... That that was a farce? It was in order that you and I could sleep together?
Messalina:My mother is not important.
Silanus:And your husband?
Messalina:Claudius? Why? Do you think I'd arrange all this without his consent? Why do you think we sleep apart? Those are his arrangements, not mine. Oh, not that I mind. His sexual practices are abhorrent to me.
Silanus:Why has he agreed to your sleeping apart?
Messalina:Because he now wishes to practice them with the wives of several Senators. He wants me kept amused while he does so, and he expects you to do it. That's why you're here.
Silanus:Then let him tell me that himself!
Messalina:Oh, you simpleton! Do you think he would tell you himself? He'll deny it, of course he will. You disappoint me. I thought you more sophisticated than to confront a man with an arrangement he is agreeable to, but would prefer not to discuss. Are you all so brutally obvious in Spain? Everything is arranged, my darling.
Silanus:You're right. I am a simpleton! Having lived through the reigns of three Caesars, and seen the depths to which Rome has sunk beneath them, I should have known better than to believe a fourth could be any different. I have a granddaughter nearly your age. I won't deny that I'm of an amorous disposition - I have been all my life. But I wouldn't touch you, Lady, for all your beauty... with a ten-foot pole!
Messalina:You forget who I am! Not the girl you once teased and joked with, but the Emperor's wife! I have only to raise my voice and tear my clothes for you to be executed on the spot! I give you one week to come to me of your own accord and on your knees! If you do not, I shall tell my husband that you refused me... and in refusing his wife, you will have insulted him. He's become very vain, you know.
Silanus:You're wasting your time, Lady. I've lived too long to become the bedtime toy of a 17-year-old girl. Your threats are wasted on me.
Messalina:We shall see.
Silanus:Yes, we shall see. And Rome shall see how easy it is to straighten one's back and hold one's head high when the will is there.
Claudius:Well, w-what is it?
Pallas:It's a plan for rebuilding the harbor at Ostia.
Claudius:Of course it is! Whose is it?
Pallas:It was made in the time of the Divine Julius. Where did you find it, Caesar?
Claudius:In the archives. It's almost identical to the one Tortius has just produced. Come and look at it Silanus. Here. What's the matter with you? Are you ill?
Silanus:No, Caesar.
Pallas:What relevance have these plans to us Caesar?
Claudius:Well, you'll be interested to learn that the engineers working under the D-Divine Julius estimated this rebuilding would take four years and cost four million gold pieces. The estimates presented to me are for t-ten years and 15 million gold pieces.
Narcissus:But, Caesar, those estimates are 90 years old.
Claudius:Are there less days in a year now than there were then? Or less hours in a day?
Narcissus:There's been an increase in the costs of materials since then.
Claudius:The prices have risen by no more than a quarter. How, then, do you explain my chief engineer's estimate?
Claudius:I will explain. Everywhere, for instance, you underestimate the amount of earth that one hundred men can move in a day. I mean, are men weaker now than they were then? The topography remains unchanged, yet on the Divine Julius' plan they were cutting through earth. In yours, you claim we were cutting through r-r-rock.
Tortius:I can't understand it.
Claudius:Let me explain it then. Your surveyors have been taking bribes from the corn factors.
Claudius:Sh-sh-shocking, isn't it?
Tortius:Well, I-I can't think why they should.
Claudius:I can. To keep up the price of corn. Wouldn't you agree, Silanus?
Silanus:Yes, Caesar.
Claudius:Well, Tortius. You will begin work on the basis of these estimates, revised, of course, for the difference in prices.
Pallas:Even so, Caesar, where is the money to come from? It's not in the purse.
Claudius:We shall get the first million on loan from the corn factors.
Pallas:Haha. A million? They can't raise that kind of money.
Claudius:Oh, you will be amazed, Pallas, at what they can raise in return for my agreement not to begin an inquiry into allegations of b-bribing my officials. Yes. Now it's very late. You may all go. We'll visit the harbor tomorrow.
Silanus:I should like a word with you alone, Caesar.
Claudius:Oh, very well. Come and look at these plans, Silanus. You didn't take much notice of them. The Divine Julius certainly knew what he was about. Yes. They are remarkable. In many ways, much better than the ones T-Tortius has produced. The only thing they leave out is the building of the island between the two moles. Come and look... Help! Get off me! Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me! ... Wait! Wait! Get up! Get up!
Pallas:What happened? Caesar! You're hurt!
Narcissus:I'll fetch the doctor.
Claudius:Silanus tried to kill me. Why? Why?
Rufrius:Let me have him, Caesar. He'll talk.
Claudius:Why, Silanus, why?
Claudius:Tyrant? I don't understand. What harm have I ever done you? I brought you back from Spain, I made you a minister. I connected you by marriage with my family.
Silanus:Yes! To put me in bed with your wife and service her like a bull!
Claudius:What do you mean? W-what do you mean?
Silanus:You're all the same. Don't toy with me, Caesar, I'm not a slave. Do what you have to do.
Claudius:I ask you again, w-what do you mean?
Silanus:You know what I mean! How predictable you Emperors are. All your reigns begin and end the same. From vices timidly concealed to vices openly displayed. One follows the other as surely as decay follows death.
Claudius:Fetch the Lady M-Messalina, and fetch her mother!
Silanus:Oh, get it over with Caesar. We've seen this play before, don't make us sit through it till the end.
Claudius:You will explain that calumny on my wife and on her mother. And if you do not or will not to my satisfaction, you will surely die for this attempt on my life!
7 - Too Blind To See
Messalina:What is it? What's the matter?
Domitia:Appius Silanus has tried to kill the Emperor.
Messalina:Silanus? But why? Why would he do such a thing?
Domitia:I don't know. I thought perhaps you could tell me. What have you done? What do you know about this?
Messalina:I know nothing. Nothing! Do you think I would plot to kill my own husband? There's no time to discuss it now. You must support everything I say, do you understand?
Domitia:I will do nothing to incriminate Silanus. He's my husband.
Messalina:Oh, you fool! Do you think I brought him back from Spain for you? I love him. I've always loved him.
Domitia:You are monstrous! [knocking]
Messalina:You will tell my husband what I tell him. Do you understand? If you do not, I shall say that you were part of it all. I'll say you agreed to it.
Messalina:Oh, my dear. What's happened? Are you all right?
Claudius:Yes, yes. I'm all right. I'm all right. Silanus tried to assassinate me, but I'm all right. I want you to look at him. I want you to look into his face. Now, repeat to her what you said to me.
Silanus:Oh, let's finish with this. Get it over.
Claudius:Repeat it.
Silanus:For whom? For her, who told me what I told you? Or for you, who knew it all to begin with?
Claudius:Repeat it!
Silanus:I told your husband what you told me. That he had arranged my marriage to your mother so that you could become my mistress. That he had done it so you could be kept amused while he took his own perverted pleasures elsewhere. It was there and then that I decided to kill him. To strike a last blow for Rome and end this plague of Emperors!
Messalina:Oh, Silanus... How could you? How could you? He is sick with love, my dear, for me. I should have told you. I should have come to you at once but I thought it was a madness that would pass. Apparently, he has loved me ever since I was a little girl. I had no idea. How could I? Since he returned, he has pestered me day and night. Sometimes pleading and sometimes angry and violent. I think, perhaps, in his mind, he does in some way believe what he told you. That I had arranged his marriage for our convenience. You poor deluded man. How could you think there was anyone dearer to me than my husband? When he came to me today, he was so violent that I said I would come to you and have you send him away. Well, that's when he threatened to kill you! Well, I never in my wildest dreams imagined he would carry out such a threat!
Silanus:Bravo! Beautifully played! That performance should be enshrined in drama.
Claudius:Is this t-true?
Domitia:Yes. His passion for my daughter has turned his wits.
Claudius:Have you anything to say?
Silanus:Only that what I did, I'd do again.
Claudius:Then you leave me no choice!
Messalina:No! Oh, no! Please, my dearest, I beg you! I couldn't bear for him to die because of his love for me. No, no. Banish him. Banish him. But let him live.
Pallas:He must die, Caesar.
Messalina:No! NO!!
Pallas:An attempted assassination cannot be punished with banishment. Such a precedent would serve only to encourage others.
Claudius:What a soft heart you have. Even after all the lies he's told about you. But P-Pallas is right. The heart cannot rule the head in these matters. I cannot do it, even for you. ... I sentence you to die, as you sentenced me. Take him away.
Silanus:May you rot in hell! And that she-wolf with you!
Claudius:Now, leave me, all of you. I'm tired.
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 12
Back To Index
1 - A God in Colchester
Messalina:Does it hurt?
Mnester:Well of course it hurts. Do you think I'm made of wood?
Messalina:Oh. I didn't mean to scratch so hard.
Mnester:And I'm on stage today.
Messalina:Well, no one will see your back. You'll have your clothes on.
Mnester:But I'm doing Ulysses and Circe. When I'm washed up on the beach, my dear, I'm naked to the waist.
Messalina:That's not in the play.
Mnester:It is when I perform it.
Messalina:Where are you going?
Mnester:To the theater.
Messalina:Stay here.
Mnester:But I have a performance to give.
Messalina:You can give it here, just for me.
Mnester:I've already performed for you.
Messalina:Don't be insolent.
Mnester:No, no, no. You shouldn't hit my face. I am an actor.
Messalina:And that's all you are. Just remember that. I don't know why I put up with you?
Mnester:You put up with me because you're bored and because I make you laugh.
Messalina:Do you think I'm bored?
Mnester:Oh, unbelievably. I think there are times when you would crack the universe open if you could just to see what would happen.
Messalina:Well, you may be right.
Mnester:You know you ought to have accompanied the Emperor on his invasion of Britain. They say the men there are so savage that the women live in a permanent state of ecstasy.
Messalina:I should have been an actor or a sculptor. They never seem to get bored. They have their art. Oh, but what do I have?
Mnester:Yeah, you have your lovers.
Messalina:Oh, my lovers!
Messalina:When I make love, I reach for something that men never dream of.
Mnester:Oh. What's that?
Messalina:I don't know. But it's there - always just out of reach. Sometimes I feel as if I could take on the whole of Rome in a night and be no worse for it in the morning.
Mnester:Well, why don't you?
Messalina:You'll mock me once too often some day!
Mnester:No, I'm not mocking you. I'm serious. Why we could stage the greatest night of love the world has ever seen. A tournament of sex. We could challenge the Guild of Prostitutes to provide a champion to compete with you. Who would last the longest? The Interminable versus the Inexhaustible!
Messalina:You're mad! There's no one who could compete with me.
Mnester:Oh, no? What about that Sicilian woman? What's her name? Scylla. Don't underestimate her. They say she boards a ship at Ostia, works the whole crew, and then walks off steadier than any one of them.
Messalina:Are you serious?
Mnester:Why not? Why not? What a spectacle it would make. Two tidal waves of male passion dashing their fury against two timeless rocks of love! Who will be the first to yield? Who will be the first to break? Oh, why, it would be unprecedented. Copulation on a cosmic scale to set the universe ringing to the cheers of the gods.
Messalina:Do you think I'd win?
Mnester:Who can tell? That Sicilian woman, they say, she's formidable.
Messalina:But I am more so. Now I know why I put up with you. Bring on your Sicilian. And let her look to her laurels.
Pallas:Well, they've taken 8,000 prisoners and counted nearly 5,000 corpses. Caractacus has left Colchester and fled to the west. Aulus has taken the Ninth Cavalry in pursuit of him.
Narcissus:And our losses?
Pallas:Oh, insignificant. 380 killed and 600 wounded. Britain is almost subdued. The Emperor's on his way home.
Narcissus:Er... If he's on his way home, it solves our problem.
Pallas:About Messalina?
Pallas:Well, it solves the problem of whether we should write to him. Whether we should tell him when he gets back is another matter.
Narcissus:Then it becomes the same problem we had before he left.
2 - A Challenge
Crowd:Galla's Hair!
Mnester:"The golden hair that Galla wears is hers. Who would have thought it? She swears it's hers, and true she swears. For I know where she bought it!"
Messalina:Oh, come, Mnester.
Mnester:"You ask me how my farm can pay, since little it will bear. It pays me thus - 'tis far away and you are never there!"
Slave:The woman Scylla! The President of the Guild of Prostitutes!"
Mnester:Sh! ... Permit me to introduce myself. My name is Mnester. I am an actor. Most people have heard of me.
Scylla:My name is Scylla and I'm a whore. Everybody's heard of me.
Mnester:Allow me to introduce you to the Lady Messalina. Your challenger, and the Emperor's wife. This is Scylla the Sicilian and anybody's wife.
Scylla:I am honored.
Messalina:You are most welcome.
Scylla:They said you were beautiful, but their praise did you small justice.
Messalina:You are most generous. And it was sporting of you to accept the challenge.
Scylla:Sporting? I see. There's no money in it?
Mnester:You're here for the honor and to defend your reputation.
Scylla:Would you defend yours for nothing, Greek? Lady, I'm a professional I work for money. The honor I gladly leave to you.
Mnester:What impudence! She expects to be paid, and in this company!
Scylla:The difference between you and me, actor, is you're a snob and I'm not. And the difference between this great lady and myself is that my work is her hobby. My hobby happens to be gardening, for which I don't expect to be paid.
Messalina:You shall have your money. Shall we say...?
Messalina:Three gold pieces a head?
Scylla:"A head" seems an odd way to describe it. Win or lose, of course? That seems satisfactory.
Mnester:Satisfactory? You've never earned so much in a whole year.
Scylla:This Greek will drive me to distraction. Nothing I say pleases him.
Messalina:Let us begin. Which side of the bed do you prefer? Left or right?
Scylla:Lady, give me a support for my back, and "Let the Games begin," as they say.
Mnester:Let the Games begin!
Quintus Justus:Do you know what's going on at the new palace at this moment? The Emperor's wife is competing with a prostitute to see who can wear out the most men. Oh, they've been at it since noon!
Pallas:Well, that is shocking. I can hardly believe it.
Quintus Justus:I've had my suspicions what's been going on there for weeks, but this is the final straw. It's outrageous. Now something must be done.
Pallas:Have you discussed this with anyone else?
Quintus Justus:Only my immediate superior.
Pallas:Colonel Ruffrius?
Quintus Justus:Yes.
Pallas:When did you discuss it with him?
Quintus Justus:A week ago, when I had good grounds for my suspicions but no proof.
Pallas:And he advised you to do nothing, wait for the Emperor's return?
Quintus Justus:Yes, and I did wait, but this is too much. That's why I've come to you. I think you must write to the Emperor at once.
Pallas:I don't think you can put that sort of thing in a letter.
Quintus Justus:I see. Well, maybe you can't, but I can!
Pallas:Justus. I think you have been immensely foolish.
Quintus Justus:Are you threatening me?
Pallas:No. But did you not know that your superior Colonel Ruffrius was one of the Lady Messalina's inner circle of friends? If you have confided in him, he has most certainly confided in her. I should think that she's already applied to the Emperor for a warrant for your execution.
Quintus Justus:My execution? Are you serious? On what grounds?
Pallas:Does it matter? Conspiracy. Emperors are very nervous when they're away from their capitols, they'll sign anything. If I'm any judge, that warrant's already on its way back here at this very moment.
Quintus Justus:You mean...? What are we to do? You must help me. You must back me up. You must!
Pallas:I will choose my own time when to tell him, not yours or anyone else's. I have learned to tread very carefully in a burning building.
Quintus Justus:What am I to do?
Pallas:What can a dead man do? Go and get buried.
Mnester:Ah, then victory hath conceded thee! The Queen is dead... Long live the Queen!
Messalina:Come back, you whore! We've not finished.
Scylla:She's inhuman. Her insides must be made out of old army boots. The money. Where's my money?
Mnester:Here, Lady, here. Three gold pieces per head. Will you take 'em or shall I have 'em sent?
Scylla:I'll take it. Amateurs!
3 - New Problems
Claudius:Senators. We have re-established Britain as a province of Rome, 108 years after the Divine Julius left it - not very well secured. It has again become p-part of the Roman world. When I left, Caractacus, our principal enemy, was in f-full flight. We had won a great victory.
Narrator Claudius:A Roman Triumph is seldom granted, but they granted one to me. Me - Claudius the Idiot, the Stammerer, the Fool. But what life gives with one hand, it takes back with the other. I would gladly have foregone my Triumph for the tragedy that was about to unfold. Shortly before I left for the invasion of Britain, Marsus Vibius, my Governor of Syria had written to me giving me the startling news that my old friend Herod Agrippa was fortifying Jerusalem. I had hastily written to Marsus Vibius asking him to find out more and report to me personally on my return.
Claudius:And you think this is d-directed against us?
Marsus Vibius:Yes, Caesar. But there's more. Before I left, I learned that he was organizing a secret meeting with certain neighboring kings. He is plotting a revolt against Rome, that is certain.
Claudius:But why? Why?
Marsus Vibius:Well, does it matter what his motives are?
Claudius:Well, it does to me. Listen, I'll tell you something, Marsus. Before I left, I had a letter from Herod's uncle, Antipas. It was full of gossip, as usual. but, in the course of it, he said he was convinced Herod believed himself to be this Jewish Messiah whose coming has for so long been prophesied.
Marsus Vibius:Yes. Well, others have thought that too. Your nephew Caligula for one.
Marsus Vibius:Perhaps it was him.
Claudius:No. Oddly enough, Caligula filled the requirements of the prophecy in many respects, except he did not die in the year foretold by T-Thrasyllus the astrologer, and Thrasyllus was never wrong about dates.
Marsus Vibius:When was this Messiah supposed to die, according to Thrasyllus?
Claudius:In the same year as my grandmother, Livia.
Marsus Vibius:Well, if the Messiah is already dead, it can't be Herod Agrippa.
Claudius:But Herod is a Jew. He wouldn't believe anything Thrasyllus said.
Marsus Vibius:Well, where does all this speculation get us? If he is planning a revolt against Rome, what difference does it make why?
Claudius:He's my dearest friend. If he becomes my enemy, I want to know why! Now, how much do you know about this M-Messiah in the literature of the Jews?
Marsus Vibius:Well, very little, but I can find out and make a report. I have Jewish agents in Jerusalem.
Messalina:Am I interrupting?
Claudius:No, no, come in. Marsus Vibius was just reporting the very grave situation in J-Jerusalem. Well, we'll meet later and talk some more.
Marsus Vibius:Caesar. Lady.
Messalina:Are you worried?
Claudius:Hm? Oh. Hurt that my old friend should... Oh well, there may be nothing in it. I missed you so very much while I was away. And the children.
Messalina:I never rested properly a single night thinking about you.
Claudius:What would I do without you? When you wrote to me about the Q-Quintus Justus affair, I thought, "Thank heavens Messalina's there to take care of things". Well, do you want something especially?
Messalina:Only to say that if I slipped into your room tonight, would I find you alone in bed?
Claudius:M-my love...
Messalina:Sh! I'm not asking for details. Only that I shouldn't find the little Calpurnia in my place. Oh, I know that she sometimes visits you.
Claudius:Well, she's an old f-friend.
Messalina:I don't mind a bit. It's very good for your health. Oh, but sometimes I feel a great desire to have your arms about me, and I should hate to embarrass you.
Claudius:Oh, come tonight, p-please. I should be so grateful
Messalina:Be alone then... Oh... There is one thing.
Claudius:Oh, anything.
Messalina:I wish you would speak to Mnester. He's got so big-headed lately and insolent. During your absence, he was very rude to me. Always making excuses for not putting on this play or that which my friends wanted to see.
Claudius:Well, couldn't you have punished him yourself?
Messalina:I didn't want to do that. Well, he's a great favorite with the crowd and they might have held that against you when you returned.
Claudius:Well, I shall speak to him.
Messalina:Just tell him that when I ask him to do something, he is to do it and not make a fuss.
Narrator Claudius:I was her slave. Is there anything so foolish as an old man in love? Well, I spoke to Mnester. "Listen, little Greek, " I said. "If the Lady Messalina tells you to do anything, you will obey. Do you understand?" "Anything?" he asked.. "Anything" I said to him. I played, as usual, into Messalina's hands. She had fallen manically in love with Gaius Silius, the Consul-Elect and the handsomest man in Rome. Knowing Mnester to be on close terms with the family, she had asked him to bring Silius to see her. And Mnester had refused out of respect for Silius' wife. Hence Messalina's complaints to me. Like a fool, I secured for her what she most wanted. He was not an easy victim of her passion, but she was clever.. She did not talk at first of love, but of politics. Tiberius had executed his father and she played, on that, telling him I was more corrupt even than Tiberius Before he realized it, he was comforting her. Before he realized it, he was making love to her. He was as much her abject slave as I was. Claudius, Claudius, you go too fast. Too fast. More grave news of the situation in Jerusalem was hurried to me by Marsus from his agent, Catalus.
Claudius:Yes, but what exactly is this M-Messiah?
Marsus Vibius:A king, Caesar, who is to come and redeem Israel of all its sins. Philo, their greatest living scholar, has declared that he must be descended from King David and born in a village called... Ah... What? .... Bethlehem.
Marsus Vibius:Yes.
Claudius:In w-what year?
Marsus Vibius:Well, opinions differ, as of course they always will in events of this kind.
Claudius:Well, have there been any candidates recently?
Marsus Vibius:No, not recently. The last one, I heard from a learned Jew, died about fifteen years ago.
Marsus Vibius:Yes. Is that significant?
Claudius:Who was this man?
Marsus Vibius:His name was Joshua Bar-Joseph, a native of Galilea. He had a large following amongst the uneducated and used to preach to gatherings by the lakeside. He was also called Jesus by the Greeks.
Claudius:And was he born in...B-B?
Marsus Vibius:Bethlehem?
Marsus Vibius:Well, it's not precisely known. There was some scandal concerning his birth. A Greek soldier was supposed to have seduced his mother, who was a tapestry worker in the temple.
Pallas:What happened to this Joshua?
Marsus Vibius:Well, he tried to form a new religion out of Judaism, but of course he lacked the authority. He then began identifying himself as this Messiah. He was executed as a heretic.
Claudius:Did you find out what King Herod thought of him?
Marsus Vibius:Well, not very much, I imagine, for he recently executed one of his followers, a man called James. He's looking for another one called Simon.
Claudius:He has followers then?
Marsus Vibius:Oh, yes, yes, yes. It's a cult. There are always cults. ...
Pallas:Well, all this is most interesting for you, Caesar, with your fascination for strange religions. But what more does it tell us of king Herod's intentions?
Claudius:I will tell you, Pallas. King Herod's mother was on her way to Jerusalem for her lying-in when she was overtaken by her pains in a village. King Herod was born there. The name of the village was B-Bethlehem. There is no doubt in my mind. My friend Herod believes himself to be this Messiah. And worse, many others believe him to be this Messiah. His intentions are clear. Born on this great wave of religious fanaticism, he intends to free the east from the dominion of Rome. He intends to make w-war on us. Marsus is right. If we don't move quickly, Herod will seize the Eastern Empire and we shall lose Egypt. My friend has become my enemy.
4 - Going Too Far
Domitia:What are you doing with that?
Slave:The mistress told us to take it down, lady.
Domitia:But why? Where are you taking it?
Messalina:If there's a mark on it when it arrives, I'll have you whipped.
Domitia:Where is it going?
Messalina:Hurry up with it! I'm giving it to someone as a present.
Domitia:To Silius?
Messalina:Yes. Iris! I want my hair dressed!
Domitia:But that was a present from your husband.
Messalina:I know that. Silius fell in love with it, so I'm giving it to him as a surprise.
Domitia:And if he comes here and finds that it's gone?
Messalina:He doesn't come here. And if he does, I'll tell him I've put it somewhere else.
Domitia:Have you taken leave of your senses? Have your wits deserted you entirely? You have lavished gifts on that man from all directions... half of them from the palace. Are you so much in love that you have lost all sense of discretion?
Messalina:Yes. I am in love.
Domitia:Child, you've been in love before but you've never imperiled your life for it.
Messalina:I shan't imperil my life.
Domitia:All Rome knows that you visit him openly at his house. And take him gifts. And that his wife complains bitterly about it.
Messalina:He's divorcing his wife.
Domitia:Divorcing her? For what reason?
Messalina:For no other reason than he loves me.
Domitia:Well, he'll have to give a better reason than that.
Messalina:They're not married in the strict form. It only requires a declaration.
Domitia:But you are married! You can't marry him. So why is he divorcing his wife?
Messalina:Because I can't bear the thought of him sharing that woman's bed every night when he gets out of mine!
Narrator Claudius:I heard nothing. Not a breath of the scandal that was known to everyone else in Rome. Even the slaves They're laughing at me. Still, after all these years.. still laughing at me. Herod. ...
Herod:Trust no one, my friend. No one.
Marsus Vibius:Yes, Caesar, dead. Herod Agrippa is dead.
Claudius:How? Tell me. Tell me what happened.
Marsus Vibius:Well, he had come up from Jerusalem to Caesarea for the festival to be held in honor of your birthday.
Claudius:But really to meet with the kings with whom he'd formed his alliance?
Marsus Vibius:Yes. Only Phoenician Tyre and Sidon had stood outside the alliance and now they had decided to join. Their formal submission was to be made to king Herod upon their arrival.
Claudius:Did Herod truly believe himself to be this Messiah? This Anointed One?
Marsus Vibius:Oh, yes. Yes, he had revealed himself to the High Priests. Now he was to reveal himself to the nation.
Claudius:Oh, go on.
Marsus Vibius:Well, when he arrived in the amphitheater, the whole audience rose. He was wearing a royal robe of silver tissue that flashed in the sun so brightly that it tired the eyes to look at it. The whole audience shouted, "O King, live forever!" But this was not enough for the men of Tyre and Sidon. They groveled at his feet and said, "We repent of our ingratitude! We see now that you are superior to, to mortal nature." "Tyre and Sidon," he replied, "you are forgiven." And they answered, "It is the voice of God!"
Claudius:"Thou shalt have no other gods but me". Well, isn't that what the god of the J-Jews has said?
Marsus Vibius:Yes, Caesar, but evidently Herod had forgotten that. He was about to give the signal for the ram's horn to be blown when he stopped. An owl flew into the arena, which had been blinded by the sunlight. It perched on this throne, hooted five times, and then flew off.
Claudius:An owl? Yes. An owl was always an ill-omen for Herod.
Marsus Vibius:Well, he groaned. He seemed to feel stabbing pains in his chest, for he cried out, "I am ill, carry me out!" They carried him out. And the ram's horn never blew. The crowd set up a wail. The festival was over before it had begun. And within five days, he was dead, his body racked with pain and rotted into an unrecognizable mass of sores. The kings departed and the crowds went home. The storm passed without a single drop of rain.
Claudius:And the Messiah? Who, then, is this M-Messiah?
Marsus Vibius:Who knows? Perhaps the Jews must wait a little longer.
Herod Letter:Marmoset, I am dying. My body is full of maggots. Forgive me. Forgive your old friend who loved you dearly yet secretly plotted to take the East away from you. I have failed. I played too dangerous a game. Little marmoset you are a fool, but I envy you your folly.. Do not weep for me. My punishment is just. I offended against the only living God. Farewell, my friend, whom I love more truly than you suppose. Farewell, little marmoset, my school fellow... and trust no one. No one. Your dying friend, Herod Agrippa.
Narrator Claudius:I was alone. For the first time in my life, I was alone. They were all gone now, those friends of my youth. Germanicus, Postumus, Castor, Herod. All gone. There was no one now I could turn to except Messalina. Yes she helped me. How she helped me. She persuaded me to let her use the duplicate of my seal Say, "Fool, Claudius, fool!" I know it, I know it. But she was clever.. I also began this most strange history of my life, which you shall read and find, I promise you. But now you shall see how my ignorance of my own domestic affairs came to an end. I said I would tell all and I shall
5 - A Fatal Mistake
Narrator Claudius:Her adultery with Silius had gone so smoothly that she was becoming bored. Not with him, but with their situation. While he, on his part, began to feel that the longer it went on, the greater the danger of their being discovered.
Messalina:Divorce him?
Gaius Silius:Why not?
Messalina:And marry you?
Gaius Silius:Wouldn't you rather be my wife than my mistress?
Messalina:Your wife? Oh, Gaius. More than anything in the world. But how?
Gaius Silius:Divorce is simple enough. You just send your freedman to your husband's house and you tell him.
Messalina:I know that. I meant how do we do it and survive?
Gaius Silius:We have gone far enough with concealment. Now, sooner or later, he will find something out and we shall be taken unprepared.
Messalina:No. It's safer to stay as we are. We can wait until he dies of old age.
Gaius Silius:I am tired of waiting!
Messalina:Gaius, don't you think that I am tired of waiting too? Oh, don't turn your back on me, please. Nothing would please me more than to be your wife and belong to you entirely for everyone to see. But we've made a long-term plan. Let's keep to it.
Gaius Silius:Only innocent people can afford long-term plans.
Messalina:Well. I think of myself as innocent, don't you?
Gaius Silius:Are you innocent of adultery?
Gaius Silius:Of unbridled promiscuity? Of taking bribes? Of judicial murder?
Messalina:Gaius, what...?
Gaius Silius:We are guilty! Now, stop deluding yourself with these childish notions. We are guilty. And I don't care. I love you. You are everything to me. But guilt needs daring. Look at me! I am without a wife. I am ready to marry you and adopt your children, to be at your side always. Your power will remain undiminished. But we will never have any peace of mind until we put an end to this farce!
Messalina:And if we marry - what then?
Gaius Silius:We have friends - powerful friends. They share our danger and they look to us for peace of mind. If we marry, open and publicly, all Rome will see how Claudius is abandoned. All Rome will see the contempt in which you hold him. We'll declare the Republic restored and people will flock to our cause.
Gaius Silius:Tomorrow.
Messalina:Tomorrow I go with him to Ostia to examine the new harbor works.
Gaius Silius:When you return, then?
Messalina:No. Tomorrow. Let him go on his own. I'll have a headache. He's used to my headaches. While he dallies in Ostia, we'll marry in Rome. By the time he returns to the city, it'll belong to us!
Narrator Claudius:I went down to Ostia. She was supposed to come with me but at the last moment she had one of her headaches I was disappointed, but it was too late to change my plans. By the time I arrived in Ostia they were already married.
Narrator Claudius:It will seem incredible, I know, that in a city where nothing escapes notice or comment, they could have felt themselves so secure. And yet, they did. And I was, perhaps, the only man in Rome who knew nothing of it
Narcissus:Scandalous! It's scandalous! While all of Rome trooped in and out of her bed, we said nothing. We closed our eyes and ears and said nothing. But this is different. This is utterly and unbearably different. This... This puts the Emperor's life in danger. And if it puts his life in danger, it puts ours. And I say that's a very different bowl of fish.
Pallas:But has she divorced him or not?
Narcissus:Well, she's divorced him. She sent a freedman with her declaration here to his chamber.
Pallas:But the Emperor wasn't here to receive it.
Narcissus:Well, do you think she didn't know that!
Pallas:Is the marriage bigamous or not?
Narcissus:Well, do you think she cares? Don't you see? The marriage is a public declaration that the Emperor's wife has abandoned him as being too old, too corrupt and too stupid any longer to govern Rome. That she has chosen the Consul-Elect as her husband is a clear indication and an invitation to the Senate to restore the Republic. And in view of Messalina's known viciousness when it comes to getting her own way, the Senate will take the hint and put them both at the head of it!
Pallas:Well... he must be told. This time he must be told. But how? He won't believe a word said against her. It's the old problem. From the moment we tell him, time is on her side, not ours.
Narcissus:Well, then from the moment we tell him, we must keep her away from him. We must ensure she never sees him. She must be eliminated without a hearing.
Pallas:Yes, well that's taken for granted. But how do we tell him? Whom will he most readily believe?
Narcissus:Uh... There is someone. Someone he trusts utterly who's been his friend for years. The little prostitute, Calpurnia.
6 - The Truth Be Told
Claudius:Oh, Calpurnia. Now, what is this? Umm, a note thrust into my hands? "Grave danger to Rome. Come to my house". Well. I hope this isn't some silly girlish prank. Well, you've quite alarmed me. Especially as the ram I was sacrificing in the temple turned out to be the most unpropitious b-beast I'd ever seen. Its entrails were awful Why are you trembling? Now, what's the matter?
Calpurnia:Oh, Caesar!
Claudius:What's the matter? Now, Calpurnia, get up, get up! You know I hate people groveling.
Calpurnia:Oh, Caesar.
Claudius:Will you please tell me what you have to say?
Calpurnia:I shall tell you because nobody else dare tell you, but when I do you will have me tortured and flogged.
Claudius:Calpurnia, dear as you are, you're making me angry.
Calpurnia:Do you still trust me?
Claudius:In my life, I've trust three women - my mother, Messalina and yourself.
Calpurnia:Oh why must you include your wife in that list?
Claudius:Messalina? I trust her with my life.
Calpurnia:She has just married Gaius Silius and the wedding party is still going on in Rome!
Claudius:Are you mad, or wicked or both?
Calpurnia:They're married. Your wife and Silius. Everyone in Rome knows!
Claudius:But I left her in bed with a headache.
Calpurnia:And now she's in bed with Silius! Oh, don't you understand? He's her lover! I thought you knew. Everyone assumed you knew. Else why have you slept apart all this time? I wouldn't have told you even now, but they're married. And I've seen the wedding party.
Claudius:How? You haven't been to Rome!
Calpurnia:Yes, yes, yes, I've been. Narcissus came and fetched me. I've been to Rome and back today. The garden of the palace is decorated with vine leaves and ivy and bunches of grapes, wine vats and presses. They're all dancing about like wine-soaked gods!
Claudius:I don't believe you! I refuse to believe you!
Pallas:It's true, Caesar. Every word she says is true.
Narcissus:Caesar, how else could you have been told? When have you been prepared...? When have you been prepared to listen to the slightest criticism of your wife's excesses?
Claudius:Excesses? What are you talking about?
Pallas:Caesar... her adulteries are as numberless as the sands on the shore. And that is no figure of speech! When you were away in Britain, she competed with a prostitute to see who could wear out the most lovers in a day. Half of Rome saw it!
Narcissus:If you've any doubt about Silius, go to his house. It will seem like home to you. All your most expensive furniture is there - paintings, tapestries, statues. Even Imperial slaves. But that is nothing. Do you know you are divorced? Nation and Senate have witnessed her wedding to Silius.
Pallas:Act now, or her new husband controls Rome.
Claudius:I can't believe it.
Calpurnia:My dear, you must. And you must act quickly or you'll be condemning us all to death.
Pallas:She's right, Caesar. We must return to Rome and arrest them all at once.
Claudius:But am I s-still Emperor?
Narcissus:Some officers of the guard may have been seduced, but the soldiers are devoted to you, I'm certain of it.
Claudius:Yes. Arrest them. Hurry back to Rome and arrest them ... all
Messalina:What do you see?
Mnester:I see a cloud in the shape of Claudius, rising over Ostia.
Gaius Silius:Is he drifting this way?
Mnester:He was. But he just farted and blew himself out to sea.
Messalina:Out of the way! Help me up.
Gaius Silius:What do you see Mnester? What do you see now?
Mnester:I see a troop of guards climbing the hill towards us.
Gaius c:Splendid! Wave them in and give them wine.
Mnester:I think not, Gaius Silius. Their swords are drawn - every one of them.
Girl:The guards! The guards! The guards are coming! The guards are coming to arrest us! The Emperor's in Rome! They're arresting everybody! Run! Run!
Pallas:Where is the Emperor?
Geta:In his study. We've arrested nearly 200 people. Silius was taken in the marketplace. The Lady Messalina has not been found.
Pallas:She is not to be allowed to see the Emperor without first consulting me, you understand?
Messalina:Where is he? Where is my husband?
Narcissus:He doesn't wish to see you.
Messalina:Out of my way, you Greek! You dare stand between me and my husband?
Narcissus:Which husband, you whore? Which one?
Messalina:Out of my way! Get out of my way! Let me go! Let me go!
Pallas:Get her out. Get her out of here!
Messalina:Let me see him! Claudius!
Domitia:How dare you stop her! She is the Emperor's wife and the mother of his children.
Narcissus:But is he the father? Who knows whose litter they are?
Messalina:Liar! Liar!
Narcissus:Here's a list of your adulteries. Do you want to read it? Hundreds! And you call her a mother? Take her home, let her wait there.
Messalina:No! No! Mother! Claudius! Claudius!
7 - Final Solution
Pallas:Arrests have been made all over the city. Silius has been taken. Thank heaven most of the guard proved loyal
Claudius:Poor woman. Whatever made her d-do such things? How unhappy she must have b-been.
Pallas:You must sign these, Caesar. They're the charge sheets. They need your signature urgently. ... Sleep, Caesar, sleep. You need your rest. Save yourself for Rome.
Narcissus:Geta. Here's the warrant for her execution. Hurry.
Pallas:And, Geta offer her the dagger first.
Pallas:If she takes her own life, it will save us having to show him the warrant in the morning.
Messalina:Take it to the palace. Tell no one that you have it. Only that you want to see your father. Now hurry. When he reads it, he'll forgive your mother, you'll see. Hurry. Hurry. ... He must see me, he must.
Domitia:Oh, how could you, child? How could you?
Messalina:Is that all you can say? Why don't you do something? Why don't you see him on your own? [door clinks] He's coming. He's coming to see me. [knocking] What do you want?
Geta:Your life, Lady. Your husband's orders.
Messalina:No! He wouldn't do that. My husband wouldn't do...
Geta:Read it! It has his signature. I'm to offer you the dagger first, if you'll have it. And then to cut off your pretty head and put it on a spear.
Messalina:No! No! Not my head! Not my head!
Domitia:Child, child! Your life is done. Take the dagger and use it.
Messalina:Don't let them take my head. No! Oh... No. He wouldn't do that. Not Claudius.
Domitia:Use it. Use it quickly.
Messalina:I can't. I can't. No! Not my head! Not my...!
Claudius:I'll see my w-wife now.
Pallas:She was executed last night at your orders, Caesar. Here is the warrant.
Narcissus:There is a dispatch from Britain, Caesar. The temple that was to have been dedicated to the God Augustus in Colchester has been dedicated instead to you.
Pallas:Aulus Plautius writes that Augustus means nothing to the Britons, but they're more than happy to worship you as a god. He regrets having taken the decision without first consulting you, but feels sure that you understand that it was politically correct. The temple is known as the Temple of the God Claudius.
8 - End Credits

I, Claudius - Episode 13
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1 - Old King Log
Nero:Is he dead?
Agrippinilla:Yes. Yes, he's dead.
Nero:Then I am Emperor.
Agrippinilla:Sh! You are Emperor. Everything I ever dreamed of has come true.
Nero:Emperor. I am Emperor of Rome. ... I feel sorry for him, don't you?
Nero:No? No, neither do I. Let's announce his death.
Agrippinilla:Not yet. First, we shall put out a bulletin to say that he's as well as can be expected.
Nero:Considering he's dead!
Agrippinilla:Yes. Then we must find the will. It will be in his study. Come!
Nero:What a mess!
Agrippinilla:He would never let anyone touch it, that's why. It will be here somewhere. You look over there and I'll look here.
Narrator Claudius:Write no more, Claudius. Write no more.
Nero:Have you found it, Mother? Well, what is it?
Agrippinilla:It looks like a history.
Nero:Of what?
Agrippinilla:Of our family.
Nero:Does it mention me? Where does it begin?
Agrippinilla:With the death of his last wife, Messalina.
Nero:That should be interesting. What's it say about me?
Agrippinilla:Oh, be quiet! How can I tell if you keep talking to me?
2 - A Marriage of Duty
Narrator Claudius:The frog pool wanted a king. Jove sent them Old King Log. I have been as deaf and blind and wooden as a log. My chief fault? I have been too benevolent. I repaired the ruin my predecessors spread. I reconciled Rome and the world to monarchy again. By dulling the blade of tyranny, I fell into great error. By sharpening that blade I might redeem that error. Violent disorders call for violent remedies. Yet I am, I must remember, Old King Log. I shall float inertly in the stagnant pool. Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out. Yes. Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.
Pallas:She did not please you, Caesar? No, I can see she did not. It was a mistake having her here.
Narcissus:A beautiful woman though.
Pallas:Yes, beautiful woman. Whoever marries her will be a fortunate man.
Narcissus:She's married already.
Narcissus:To the drummer. And has three children.
Pallas:Oh, I envy him.
Narcissus:He tells me she's a shrew.
Pallas:Well, then I envy him his nights, but not his days.
Narcissus:Unfortunately in marriage, one can't have one without the other. You see, Caesar, how even vagabonds and gypsies like those recognize the virtues of marriage and a family...life.
Pallas:Caesar? Are you well? Is something the matter?
Claudius:Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.
Pallus:If you will allow us, Caesar, to raise once again the subject of your remarrying?
Narcissus:There are so many good reasons for it. But, chiefly, your children need a mother. And Rome needs a mother. It's not right for an Emperor to be alone. Your Uncle Tiberius was alone too long. I'm sure it affected his mind.
Pallas:Well, it doesn't follow that because your three previous marriages were all a tragedy, your fourth shouldn't be a triumph.
Narcissus:I've given this matter a great deal of thought, and there is someone I'd like to recommend.
Pallas:You never mentioned that to me.
Narcissus:I only thought of it this morning. Caesar, the one woman in Rome who would be a perfect wife is Lollia Paulina.
Pallas:Lollia Paulina? Haha. Are you mad?
Narcissus:She is ideal. She is the daughter of an ex-consul. She has lost none of her looks with advancing age, and she is still childless, which will make her a good stepmother to Britannicus and Octavia. And they need a mother. I think that's more important than anything.
Pallas:More than the fact that she's the stupidest woman in Rome.
Narcissus:The Emperor has had clever ones before that have done him little good.
Pallas:She's an absurd choice. She walks about like a jeweler's shop and thinks of nothing but ornaments.
Narcissus:The Emperor needs...
Pallas:The Emperor needs a wife capable of helping him. Now Caesar, I have submitted many names in the past for your consideration. I confess, I have been less than enthusiastic about most of them.
Narcissus:That didn't prevent you putting them forward.
Pallas:It was not I who was to marry them. One can recommend with less enthusiasm than one marries.
Pallas:As I was about to say, Caesar! ... One name comes to me now with all the force of divine revelation. The lady in question has been in front of us all the time. So close, in fact, that we've not noticed her. I refer to the Lady Agrippinilla.
Narcissus:The Lady Agrippinilla? Are you mad? She's the Emperor's niece! The union would be incestuous. The Senate would never allow it.
Pallas:A hundred years ago, first cousins couldn't marry. Now it's done all the time. When it's put to the Senate, they will agree. Now, Caesar, she's in every way suitable. She's a woman of powerful intelligence. She is the daughter of Germanicus, and she would bring with her the grandson of Germanicus, Nero, a boy worthy in every respect of Imperial fortune.
Narcissus:But the Emperor loathes Nero! A hideous boy.
Pallas:You are speaking of the Emperor's grand-nephew!
Narcissus:I speak the Emperor's own words! And I'll go further. His mother is the most corrupt woman in Rome. Even Caligula said so and he was her brother!
Pallas:How dare you? How dare you? Narcissus, you may consider our friendship at an end. From this moment, at an end!
Pallas:Caesar! I cannot support these monstrous calumnies against the daughter of Germanicus.
Pallas:In my opinion, your niece is the finest woman in Rome.
Pallas:An Emperor should have a wife who is both good looking and of outstanding intelligence. Now, she has both!
Pallas:I beg you to consider her.
Narcissus:It would be the Lady Messalina all over again. Worse, it'll be the Lady Messalina with brains. That's a combination more deadly than all the tribes of Germany put together. And as for that son of hers, his mother won't be married ten minutes but she'll be wanting him to be adopted into the family. Caesar, Caesar, I beg you. Caesar, an uncle does not marry his niece. The union will be incestuous and the gods abominate incest. It will bring ruin and destruction on all Rome.
Claudius:Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.
Claudius:Let all the p-poisons that lurk in the mud ha-ha-hatch out. ... I will m-marry my niece. Bring her to me.
3 - Going Mad?
Agrippinilla:[knocking] Come in. Well?
Pallas:He's agreed. He has agreed. He wants to see you.
Pallas:Yes. It was so easy I could hardly believe it.
Agrippinilla:He'll marry me? He said he'd marry me?
Agrippinilla:What did he say?
Pallas:"I will marry my niece. Send her to me."
Agrippinilla:That's all? Anything else? No arguments? No opposition?
Pallas:Only from Narcissus.
Agrippinilla:Ah. What did he say?
Pallas:I shan't repeat it. What does it matter? He lost. It was only sour grapes.
Agrippinilla:I'll sour all his grapes before I'm done. And Claudius? He said nothing about my being his niece?
Agrippinilla:Nothing about incest?
Agrippinilla:Perhaps he fancies the idea.
Pallas:I wouldn't blame him. I shan't like it though, the thought of you in his bed. I'm beginning to have regrets already. I tell you, I found it hard, when it came to it, to suggest you.
Agrippinilla:It didn't stop you though, did it?
Agrippinilla:Your ambition always burned more brightly than your passion.
Pallas:You ever found my passion wanting?
Agrippinilla:No. But in my case, passion and ambition are beautifully combined... aren't they?
Pallas:I'm beginning to have regrets already. My regrets are mounting. I hope when you're married...
Agrippinilla:Don't be silly. Oh, I've hurt you. And I shouldn't have. Don't worry. I'll make it up to you.
Pallas:Now. Make it up to me now.
Agrippinilla:He's waiting for me.
Pallas:It won't take long. You see, for once, my passion burns brighter than my ambition.
Agrippinilla:Hurry, then. I imagine his passion is burning too... and at his age, the flames don't last very long.
Agrippinilla:[knocking] Uncle? Pallas tells me you wanted to see me.
Agrippinilla:He said that you had decided to marry again.
Agrippinilla:And that you had chosen me?
Claudius:Would you like to marry me?
Agrippinilla:Oh, Uncle! You have made me the happiest woman in the world.
Claudius:Yes, I thought I might.
Agrippinilla:How could you known that? How could you have known that I've loved and respected you all these years above all others?
Claudius:I just guessed it, my dear, just guessed it.
Agrippinilla:I shall be such a good wife to you, you'll see. And I shall be a mother to Britannicus and Octavia just as I am to my own dear Nero. They shall be to me as if they were my own. And there'll be more, why not? I'm still capable of bearing children. And you, such a vigorous man. Such firm flesh. Who would have thought it? You shall have more sons, I promise you. And more love than you have ever had. Yes, love, Uncle, such as you have never known before. Oh, it makes my head reel to think of it.
Claudius:Does it not worry you, my dear, that you will be committing incest? Oh, but you've done that so many times before, haven't you? With your brother, Caligula?
Agrippinilla:We all did things during the reign of my mad brother that we might not otherwise have done.
Claudius:That's true. That is true. Only some of us did them a little more willingly than others, didn't we? I'm not blaming you. I'm only asking.
Agrippinilla:Well, since you ask, the answer is no. Such incest would be technical only. It doesn't disturb me but if it disturbs you...
Claudius:No, I'm teasing. Please don't be offended. As a matter of fact the q-question of incest is somewhat academic.
Agrippinilla:What does that mean?
Claudius:It means that as beautiful as you are, your body is of less interest to me than your mind. I'm marrying you for your head, my dear, not your heart, of which, I suspect, you have very little.
Agrippinilla:Well, then, that suits me. You're not the sort of lover one dreams of.
Claudius:Certainly not the sort that you dream of. Still. I won't discuss your dreams - not on a full stomach. I'm marrying you because I am tired of ruling alone. And there are so many things an Emperor's w-wife could do that others can't. But I need a woman with a mind. Now does that appeal to you?
Agrippinilla:Admirably. But I shan't be a cipher, I can tell you that. If you give me power, I shall use it.
Claudius:Now why else do you imagine I'm giving it to you?
Agrippinilla:We are to be married. But why?
Agrippinilla:He doesn't want me to share his bed. He doesn't even like me. He says he wants me to help him rule.
Pallas:All the better.
Agrippinilla:No, no. There's something odd. What did he say when you suggested me?
Pallas:I told you.
Agrippinilla:Nothing more?
Pallas:Well, there was something but it made no sense.
Agrippinilla:What? What did he say?
Pallas:Er... "Let all the poisons that are in the mud hatch out" or something like that.
Agrippinilla:Perhaps his mind's going.
Pallas:Maybe he won't last long after his marriage.
Agrippinilla:No. We must keep him alive long enough for my son to come of age.
Claudius:Senators. Seven years ago, I undertook the conquest of the island of Britain. It has taken until now to complete it. One man and o-one man alone has been responsible for the enormous losses...
Narrator Claudius:The war in Britain finally came to an end, and King Caractacus was brought in chains to Rome. The Senate called for his death as punishment for his long and protracted resistance to our arms, but while his family cowered before us, Caractacus did not.
Caractacus:I'll tell you this. If the sword is all that you're prepared to show us Britons, then be prepared to carry it forever in your hand... and sleep with it forever by your side at night! For you will need it!
Narrator Claudius:His courage and his dignity won the hearts of the Senate. He was granted a pension and allowed to live with his family in the city.
4 - A Plan Foretold
Narrator Claudius:I'm am near the end of my story. I have been married to Agrippinilla for five years and she has turned out as loathsome as I thought she would. As has that slimy son of hers. His mother has plans for him. She thinks I do not know, but I do. And I have my own plans
Claudius:He's very musical
Agrippinilla:Yes. ... I wonder, Britannicus, that you don't take lessons.
Britannicus:I'm not interested in music.
Agrippinilla:Pity. You could play duets together.
Britannicus:That would be very unlikely, Lucius Domitius being so gifted.
Agrippinilla:I wish you would stop addressing him as Lucius Domitius. He has adopted the name of Nero.
Britannicus:I forgot.
Agrippinilla:No, you do not forget. I think you do it deliberately.
Britannicus:I tell you, I forget.
Agrippinilla:Well, you have been reminded, which I think calls for a correction and an apology.
Nero:Oh, that isn't necessary, Mother.
Agrippinilla:I think it is. Well?
Britannicus:I shall not apologize.
Agrippinilla:I think you will. Claudius, I insist that you order him to apologize.
Claudius:Apologize to N-Nero, Britannicus. You've hurt his feelings and you know how sensitive he is.
Britannicus:You side with them! You take her side and his against me all the time. I shall not apologize!
Claudius:You will apologize or you'll be punished.
Britannicus:What will you do? Have me executed as you did my mother? I detest you all! All of you!
Nero:I'm sorry to have been the cause of that.
Agrippinilla:It's not your fault, everyone can see that.
Nero:Nevertheless, I'll go and see him. Come, Octavia, let's go and find your brother. Perhaps we can pacify him.
Octavia:I think you're very kind.
Nero:There's far too little kindness in the world.
Agrippinilla:Have you noticed how fond they are of each other? Everyone's commenting on it. Nero simply adores her. There's something I've been wanting to speak to you about for a long time.
Agrippinilla:It concerns the matter of... Pardon?
Claudius:The answer is yes.
Agrippinilla:You don't know what I'm going to ask.
Claudius:Aren't you going to suggest that I marry Octavia to your son?
Claudius:The answer is yes.
Agrippinilla:Don't you wish to discuss it?
Claudius:What is there to discuss? They'll be well matched.
Agrippinilla:Nero's very fond you, you know? He thinks of you as a father. He said to me the other day, "You know, I think of him..."
Claudius:..."as a father".
Agrippinilla:... It just occurred to me that since he now will be marrying Octavia...
Claudius:The answer once again is yes.
Agrippinilla:Will you let me finish? You don't even know what I'm going to say! You're in your cups! You've had too much wine again.
Claudius:Oh my dear, I thought you were going to suggest that I adopt Nero officially as my son. Make him and Britannicus joint heirs. Of course, if that is not what you were going to say.
Agrippinilla:Yes. Yes, it was. It was. I just wish you'd let me finish! Your manner's very strange.
Claudius:I just wanted to save a lot of unnecessary discussion. You see, that is the success of our marriage, my dear. I read your mind so quickly. Think of the time it saves. Goodnight.
Agrippinilla:Oh, put him to bed!
Narcissus:You should have consulted me! I would have talked you out of it. I would never have let it happen. Never!
Claudius:That's why I never discussed it.
Narcissus:Well, do you think that's right? Am I not your principal adviser on matters of state?
Narcissus:Well, then why do such a thing without consulting me? Do you think she makes a move without consulting Pallas?
Narcissus:You know that they're lovers, don't you? You know that he's switched interests from you to her?
Narcissus:Then why did you do it? Can't you see what you've done? By marrying Nero to your daughter and adopting him as your son, you've signed your death warrant, that's what you've done. Your wife has got everything she wanted out of marrying you. Everything! She doesn't need you anymore.
Claudius:I shall die soon anyway.
Narcissus:How do you know?
Claudius:Barbillus told me.
Claudius:My horoscope.
Narcissus:Well, you didn't need him to read your horoscope! By your own actions, you've numbered your days more accurately than a horoscope could do! Why did you do it? Why? Did you not at least think of Britannicus?
Claudius:I thought principally of him.
Narcissus:Then do you not see how this will hurt him? Do you not know how you've hurt him in the past?
Claudius:Yes, I know.
Narcissus:You realize, don't you, you've numbered his days as well? Do you think they'll let him live once you've gone? To say nothing of me! What made you do it?
Claudius:N-Nero is destined to rule after me, not Britannicus. It has been foretold, Narcissus, nothing can alter it.
Narcissus:Foretold? By who?
Claudius:By the Sibyl
Narcissus:Nero may become Emperor - you've seen to that but she will rule, your wife Agrippinilla, through him, as Livia ruled through Tiberius.
Claudius:No. Nero will kill his mother. That, too, has been foretold by the Sibyl
Narcissus:What Sibyl? I've seen no such prophecy.
Claudius:No. Nor has anyone now, except me.
Narcissus:Where did you find this?
Claudius:It was given to me by Livia j-just before she died. She gave a birthday dinner. She invited me. Now, that was unusual. But her purpose became clear toward the end of the evening. She'd found this curious book among Augustus' papers. You won't understand it. It's written in a very archaic language. It frightened Augustus. He kept it hidden. Or perhaps he just didn't understand it. But Livia did.
Narcissus:What does it prophesy?
Claudius:Amongst other things, it prophesied Caligula's reign and his death. It prophesied mine. And it prophesies Nero's. It is written, Narcissus. Nothing you nor I can do will stop it.
Narcissus:Is that why you chose the Lady Agrippinilla for your wife?
Claudius:Yes. All my life I wanted to see the Republic restored, yet I let myself be made an Emperor. That was written too. But I made a mistake. I tried to rule wisely and justly, blunting the edge of monarchy, reconciling the people to it. In doing that, I was helping monarchy. Now I shall destroy it once and for all. Or rather Nero will destroy it. He's as mad as my n-nephew, Caligula. We're all mad, we Caesars. When we are gone, the people will finish with monarchies once and for all, and return to the sanity of the Republic.
Narcissus:And Britannicus?
Claudius:He is my instrument. He will restore the Republic.
Narcissus:If he lives.
Claudius:I have a plan that will save him, but I must leave you to make the arrangements.
Narcissus:Tell me what to do.
Claudius:Well, let me rest for an hour, then you come to my bedroom and we'll talk some more.
Narcissus:Can I tell Britannicus?
Claudius:No, not yet.
Narcissus:It grieves me to see how much you've hurt him.
Claudius:Yes. I killed his mother. I've been less than a father to him ever since. Now, I am tired and I'm not well
5 - Final Speech
Agrippinilla:We must do it now.
Pallas:It won't be easy. Narcissus watches him like a hawk. Every morsel of food that your husband takes is tasted first by someone else.
Agrippinilla:Well, we shall need proper advice, but that shouldn't be hard to get.
Pallas:Well, there is someone.
Pallas:A woman, Locusta. She's very skilled. I'll go and see her.
Agrippinilla:Yes. But do it soon. He's very unpredictable. He's preferred my son to his own at every turn. I don't understand it. And he could just as easily change his mind tomorrow.
Pallas:Yes, it's strange, it's very strange. I feel he's playing some sort of game, but I can't guess what it is.
Agrippinilla:Neither can I, but it worries me. I remember that before Tiberius struck at Sejanus he raised him higher than he'd ever been before.
Pallas:Something else that worries me. How sure are you of your son?
Agrippinilla:You may leave my son to me.
Pallas:Even now that he's married? I know you've had a very great influence on him, but he's no longer a child. And when he's Emperor, who will control him?
Agrippinilla:[knocking] Who is it?
Nero:It is I, Mother.
Agrippinilla:Come in.
Nero:Oh, it doesn't matter.
Pallas:No, no. I'm just going. Lady.
Nero:I don't like that Greek.
Agrippinilla:That Greek runs this Empire.
Pallas:Do you have to receive him in your bedroom?
Agrippinilla:What is the matter with you?
Agrippinilla:Then why aren't you in bed? Where is Octavia?
Nero:She's locked herself in her bedroom. She won't let me in.
Agrippinilla:Did you quarrel?
Agrippinilla:Well, why can't you sleep alone?
Nero:I don't feel like it. I feel... Oh, I don't know! She won't lock me out when I'm Emperor. She won't tell me what to do. No one will. I shall do as I please.
Agrippinilla:It was very naughty of Octavia to lock you out. Very naughty. But she's only a child. She doesn't understand how you feel. Would you like me to find a pretty house girl for you? Shall I find one and send her to you?
Nero:Is that man your lover?
Agrippinilla:No, of course not.
Nero:I don't like him. He's no business in your bedroom. I won't allow it when I'm Emperor.
Agrippinilla:I won't see him here again. Oh, my poor baby. It's not fair, is it? Locking you out of your room. And you the Emperor-elect. But then, she's only your wife. She doesn't feel for you as a mother would. A mother knows how her baby feels. Yes. She wouldn't let him be unhappy. No. Never. Never. Never. Oh. I'm so sleepy.
Claudius:Senators, you see me here for the last time. I shall not come again. This is in the nature of a farewell speech.
Senate:No, no.
Claudius:I'm too old and I'm not well enough. I don't think you need my presence here anymore. I sometimes wonder if you ever did.
Senate:[dissenting voices]
Claudius:Few of you know, the soldiers dragged me from behind a curtain and made me Emperor. I n-never wanted it. I think it was a mistake.
Senate:No! No!
Claudius:Well, be that as it may. Soon I shall retire behind another curtain - the final one. The one the gods draw over all of us in the end, great and small. I shan't be sorry to see that final curtain.
Senator:May you live forever, Caesar!
Claudius:No, thank you! But I've no wish to, even if I could. What you will s-say about me when I'm gone... I can only guess at. I hope it won't be as cutting as the things you've said while I was here. Not to my face, of course. That's not an Emperor's privilege. But what is said about us in our lives is not always what history says. And doubtless history will have its say, as it always does. And about that, I have done something. Oh, not something that need concern you... but something. You see, in the course of my life I have known many people. Great people. People who have m-made Rome what she is today. Yes. And one day, they will all live again. The dead will come to life. The man who dwells by the pool will open graves... and deliver Rome up again. She shall be seen for what she truly was. ... [roar of a crowd]
Augustus:Well done, Claudius. Emperor after all. Who would have thought it, eh?
Livia:You're a fool, boy, you always were. People say it's not your fault, but if it's not your fault, whose fault is it, eh?
Antonia:And your nose is still running, Claudius. It's still running.
Caligula:Excuse me.
Tiberius:Just a minute. Just wait your turn.
Senator:Shall a doctor be brought?
Tiberius:It wasn't worth it, was it? I could have told you that.
Caligula:Uncle Claudius, I wasn't the Messiah after all. Would you believe it? You could have knocked me over with a feather when they told me.
Consul:Senators, let us continue with the business of the day.
6 - Father and Son
Claudius:Leave us, Narcissus. I will send for you.
Britannicus:Father, you wanted to see me.
Claudius:Yes, come here. Now listen to me, my son, I've something very important to tell you, so listen carefully. No one must know of it. That's why I've sent for you at this hour, so that no one in the palace will know we've been talking. Now, I intend to alter my will in favor of Nero and I want to explain to you exactly why I'm doing so.
Britannicus:That's very considerate.
Britannicus:Why this sudden need to explain? You haven't felt it before. You adopted him as your son, you married him to my sister, you made him Consul-elect and City Warden without one word to me. You owe me nothing.
Claudius:Now don't speak like that.
Britannicus:Well, that's nothing to what I could say! I may be only a child, but I'm not blind and I'm not a stone. Do you think I haven't seen how you preferred him to me.
Claudius:It was for a reason.
Britannicus:You've never loved me. You've never been as a father to me. Never! Time without number you've shown the world what you thought of me and I shall never forgive you for it, never! And you killed my mother! I shall never forgive you for that either. I hate you.
Claudius:Now, you listen to me. Yes, it's true. For a long time after I discovered what your mother had been... how she had deceived me every day of her life, I could not find it in my heart to love you. But you must understand, you must be a man. Try to understand a father's weaknesses. I don't believe you are my son. I believe you are C-Caligula's son. But what difference does that make? You do not have his nature. I tell you this only to explain why, for a time, I could not find it in my heart to love you.
Britannicus:Was it my fault, then, whose son I was? Was I to be punished? Does a child choose his parents?
Claudius:Now, don't cry. Britannicus, please.
Britannicus:May I go now?
Claudius:No. Come here.
Britannicus:Please may I go?
Claudius:Come here. Come here. Come.
Britannicus:Oh, Father! Father!
Claudius:Now, I have something very important to tell you, so listen carefully. First, no matter who your father may have been, you are now my son and I love you more than anyone in the world. Second, Nero is destined to follow me as Emperor.
Claudius:Now, now, don't argue! It is written. Nothing can alter it! When I am gone, he will try to kill you, as C-Caligula killed Gemellus. And that is why I have treated you as I have. Kept you out of the public eye all this time. I have a plan to save you. Now, Narcissus has arranged it all through Caractacus. You see, the world is now wholly Roman. There is nowhere you could fly to be safe, except the remotest part of Britain. Nero will not be able to touch you there, for there is no one to give you up. Now very soon I shall allow some of Caractacus' young men to return to northern Britain, and you will go with them in disguise. You will stay at the court of Queen Cartimandua. Only she and Caractacus' son will know your real identity. And from there, she will send you north into regions where no Roman's foot has ever trod, but where she has friends and there you will wait.
Claudius:Nero is mad. He will destroy the Empire. His excesses will demand the return of the Republic and you will return to restore it. The Republic will live again.
Britannicus:No. No, I won't do it. It's not honorable.
Britannicus:No! Do you think that I, a Claudian, will paint my face blue and go and hide among barbarians?
Claudius:There is no shame.
Britannicus:No, I won't do it! I'm not afraid of Nero. Nero is a coward. I can protect myself. Let me put on my manly gown. Once I'm officially a man, I'll match Nero in everything he does. I don't believe in the Republic. No one believes in the Republic anymore. No one does except you. You're old, Father, and out of touch. I want my chance to rule, and rule Rome as it should be ruled. If you love me, give me that chance.
Claudius:Yes. Yes, I should have known that would be your answer. Well, so be it. I've done all I could. You shall have your wish. May the gods protect you. ... Britannicus. Perhaps you will confound the prophecies. Yes. Perhaps you will
Narrator Claudius:Write no more, Claudius. Write no more. I have told it all, as I said I would, and as the Sibyl prophesied. I have told the truth. I have set the record straight. It is all here for remote posterity. Come, Death, and draw the final curtain. I am tired. Oh so tired.
Agrippinilla:So much for posterity. Where's the rest of it? It must be here. Find it!
Nero:This looks like them. Yes, this is them all right. What a Herculean labor! It must have taken him years.
Agrippinilla:Years. We'll burn the lot.
Nero:All that work? Good grief.
Agrippinilla:We must find the will
Nero:What a pretty thing a fire is.
7 - A Story to Be Told
Britannicus:Did they murder him?
Narcissus:Yes. Yes, they poisoned him.
Britannicus:But how? How did they do it? Why didn't you protect him?
Narcissus:Well, they were clever, very clever. They tried several times to tamper with his food and get at the slaves who prepared it, but I always stopped them. Always. I built a wall around him they couldn't breach. How then did she do it? I will tell you. For I see now how it was done. Unable to poison his food, she must have poisoned her own. Yes, poisoned hers or part of it. It was in a dish of mushrooms, which he loved, and out of which she'd been eating. He had finished his own and was calling for some more which he often did. It was then that she offered him hers out of her own dish. At first, I thought nothing of it. When you're used to seeing someone eat from a dish, it doesn't occur to you it may contain something different in just one part of it. And then she lifted the mushroom onto her fork and held it out for him to take. I knew then there was something different about it. I knew, as certainly as I had ever known anything, that he was suddenly in the gravest danger. And I knew too, as certainly as I knew that... that he knew - knew it was poisoned, knew that his end was there on that fork... and that he didn't care... that he welcomed it. He died in the night, alone. I knocked on his door soon after dinner, but he sent me away. I believe he wanted no one to see him die. ... Now, you must go away. They will kill you.
Britannicus:No, I shall stay.
Narcissus:Go now.
Britannicus:I have put on my manly gown. I can take care of myself. Poor Father. He never could.
Narcissus:Oh, I don't know. He didn't do badly when you come to think of it.
The Sybil:Well, Old King Log? Poisons all hatched out?
Claudius:Is that you, Sibyl?
The Sybil:Yes it's me.
Claudius:Where are you?
The Sybil:Here. Why are you laughing?
Claudius:I cheated them again. They all think I'm dead.
The Sybil:But you are dead, you fool! You're as dead as anyone can be.
Claudius:Oh well, you can't survive them all.
The Sybil:No, not even you. It's time to go.
Claudius:Wait. Britannicus. What will happen to him?
The Sybil:Nero will kill him.
Claudius:And Narcissus?
The Sybil:Agrippinilla will kill him. Then Nero will kill her.
Claudius:It all sounds depressingly familiar.
The Sybil:Yes, isn't it?
Claudius:And the Empire?
The Sybil:Oh that will go on, as Livia said it would. But they'll be no more Claudians after Nero. He'll be the last. But the Emperors won't be a bad lot after him. Well, give or take a few. ... Quite a story, wasn't it? ... They burned your book, you know. All of it. ... Lucky for you, you made a copy and buried it. ... It's time to go, Claudius. The ferryman is waiting.
Claudius:Just one thing more.
The Sybil:You can't put it off... You can't stay here forever.
Claudius:No, I suppose not.
The Sybil:Now. ... Close your eyes. It's but a short step to the boat, a short pull across the river..
Claudius:And then?
The Sybil:And then, I promise you, you'll dream a different story altogether... Farewell, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus, God of the Britons, one-time Emperor of the Roman world. Farewell.
8 - End Credits

Chris Rathman/ Chris.Rathman@gmail.com