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Quotes / I, Claudius

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Quotes from the BBC miniseries I, Claudius:

Livia: By the way... don't touch the figs.
Poison Is Queen

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, Clau-Clau-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, Clau-Clau-Claudius shall speak clear.
A Touch of Murder

Tiberius: My dear, you look like a Greek tragedy.
Agrippina: And you look like a Roman farce.
Reign of Terror

[Claudius has just downed three glasses of wine at Livia's dinner.]
Caligula: Staking it all on one throw, Uncle Claudius?
Livia: Hold your tongue. That was a very polite gesture of confidence in me and was much appreciated.
Queen of Heaven

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.
What Shall We Do About Claudius?

Tiberius: [on Macro] Do you know him personally?
Caligula: No, but I've slept with his wife several times.
Tiberius: Is deception with the wife regarded these days as a sound introduction to the husband?!
Caligula: He knows about that. I told you - he is very ambitious.
Reign of Terror

Livia: [to Tiberius] There is nothing in this world that occurs to you that does not occur to me first. That is the affliction I live with.
Some Justice

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.

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 you bear to sit out here and listen to her?
Antonia: And that's mine.
Reign of Terror

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 fowl 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.
Poison Is Queen

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 also your grandfather...
Caligula: Marcus Vinicius, you are no longer my friend.
Hail Who?

Claudius: 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!


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