Livia Drusilla was the wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother of five emperors of Rome (Augustus Caesar, Tiberius, Claudius, Caligula, and Nero). I Am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith is written as if Livia, now old, is writing her memoirs about the period in her life from when Julius Caesar was murdered until just after the Battle of Actium. A couple times the narrative is interrupted and brought to the present (the time of writing, presumably somewhere in the 20s AD). It takes a generally positive view of Livia and barely addresses negative beliefs about her some have to this day such as that she poisoned Augustus Caesar’s descendants to make way for her own, and dismisses them as false.
I truly enjoyed I Am Livia. If someone had told me while I was reading it that it was really and truly written by Livia Drusilla in the first century AD I could have believed it. The words often have a poetic, almost musical, quality. I found myself fascinated by much of the story and inspired to learn more about Livia. I definitely recommend reading this book!
5 (out of 5) Stars
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