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Quotes for
Livia (Character)
from "I, Claudius" (1976)

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"I, Claudius: Queen of Heaven (#1.7)" (1976)
Caligula: [Livia is on her deathbed] 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 anymore, you see, great grandmother. My secret will die with you. You are going to stew in hell forever and ever. Let me tell you something: Thrasyllus has made another prophecy. Told Tiberius. He said, "One who is going to die soon will become the greatest god the world has ever known. No temples will be dedicated to anyone but him in the whole Roman world, not even to Augustus." 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 forever and ever and ever."
[he kisses her]
Caligula: Goodbye, great grandmother.

Claudius: Why do you allow Caligula to act like that?
Livia: Because it amuses me. And because he will be the next emperor of Rome.
[Claudius stares]
Livia: You don't believe me?
Claudius: If you say so, grandmother. You know I don't concern myself with higher politics. Still, what about Castor? And Caligula has two older brothers.
Livia: Castor is ill and Thrasyllus says he won't recover. He also says Tiberius will choose Caligula to succeed him.
Claudius: Why?
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 worse to follow him. He's certainly no fool.
Livia: He's the biggest fool in my family. I had always thought that that was you... but I think now I was wrong.

Livia: You wanted to know the truth and you called it a 'small' condition.

[Claudius just drank three cups 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.

Claudius: What about my father, who was your son? And Germanicus, who was my brother? Did you poison them?
Livia: No. Your father died of his wounds, and Placina poisoned Germanicus without instructions from me. But I had marked them both down for death. They were both infected with that infantile disorder known as "Republicanism."

[about her horoscope]
Livia: It's a present from Tiberius, isn't that nice of him? Of course, what he *really* wanted to know is how much longer I'm going to live.

Claudius: Grandmother, after all these years, you didn't invite me to dinner just to tell me this.
Livia: The wine has made you bolder.
Claudius: You said you kept in with Caligula because he is to be the next emperor.
Livia: Lost your stutter as well.
Claudius: But if by then you're dead, what difference can it make?

Claudius: Grandmother... who killed Marcellus?
[Long pause]
Livia: I did. The empire needed Agrippa more then it needed Marcellus. And then I poisoned Agrippa later because I knew that his wife was in love with Tiberius, but if Tiberius married her Augustus would make him emperor. My son botched that up of course...
Claudius: And Julia's sons by Agrippa, how did they die?
Livia: Gaius I had poisoned while he was in Syria.
Claudius: You have a long reach.
Livia: The empire is very large, I need one. Lucius was drowned in a boating accident arranged by his friend Platius.
Claudius: And... Postumus?
[pause]
Livia: You were really fond of him weren't you?
Claudius: [quietly] Yes, grandmother.
Livia: He was useless. I had to get rid of Postumus; he was a threat to Tiberius. Besides, he knew I had his mother banished.

Livia: [as Claudius is leaving] Wait. Here.
[gives him a scroll]
Livia: That is a collection of Sibylline verses rejected from the official book.
Claudius: Why are you giving it to me?
Livia: Because it predicts that you will, one day, be Emperor.
[Claudius stares at her for a moment, then guffaws hysterically]

Livia: Tiberius wants to be loved, at least after his death if not before. And the best way to insure that...
Claudius: ...is to have someone worse to follow him. Yes, naturally. He's certainly no fool.
Livia: He's the biggest fool in my family. I've always thought that that was you. But I think now... I was wrong.
Claudius: [Claudius pauses, crafting a response] Grandmother, after all these years you didn't invite me to dinner just to tell me this.
Livia: 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.
[Pleadingly]
Livia: I want to be a goddess, Claudius.


"I, Claudius: A Touch of Murder (#1.1)" (1976)
[on Marcellus]
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.

Livia: 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 even if you hung her naked from the ceiling above my bed.
Livia: She might even do that if I asked her.

[on Livia's plan to have Tiberius marry Julia]
Tiberius: Anyway, where does all this get us? There's not only Marcellus, there's Agrippa too. And August prefers both of them to me.
Julia: [Screams off stage] No, *no*.
Tiberius: Ye gods, what's that?
Livia: It sounds as though there is now only Agrippa

[on Marcellus]
Livia: He's very popular, isn't he?
Julia: [Proudly] Yes.
Livia: And with you?
Julia: Why'd you ask?
Livia: Well, there are no children yet...
Julia: There's no issue between you and father, and you've been married for *twenty* years.

Livia: [to Julia] You know, I remember 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?
Julia: [laughing] Yes, I do.
Livia: And once you both grew up you seemed to fond of one another, and I had hoped that you'd both...
Julia: [laughing] Yes, I used to adore him.
[pause]
Julia: How foolish one is when one is young.

Marcellus: [ill with "food poisoning"] You're so good to me.
Livia: Goodness has nothing to do with it.

Augustus: Wait till you see what Marcellus has in store for us. He's got a rhinoceros.
Livia: What on earth is that?
Augustus: A remarkable creature. It has a horn on its nose.
Livia: So has Scipio's wife, he should have used her.

Livia: [to rioting mob] Just wait till my husband gets home!


Imperium: Augustus (2003) (TV)
Livia: I came as soon as I heard. The assassin was not from Rome so we can't trace his employer.
Augustus: Marcus Agrippa is dead.
Livia: Yes, there is a dangerous under carriage in the young noblity.
Augustus: Did you hear what I said, Livia? He was my dear friend, my daughter's husband, the father of my grandchildren and he is dead!
Livia: Yes and your enemies are waiting for the right moment to kill you. This is the moment. Agrippa, your heir apparent, is dead and you too nearly died today... Where does that leave the empire tomorrow?
Augustus: At the stumbling feet of your son, I suppose, exactly where you WANT IT?

Livia: Why haven't you told them?
Julia: You know?
Livia: Yes, why does that surprise you? Go and tell them now before they embarrass us in public.
Julia: How do I tell them their father is dead, Livia?
Livia: They barely knew him.
Julia: Marcus Agrippa was a good father and a loving husband.
Livia: Oh, come now Julia! Don't play the poor young widow to me.
Julia: You are a merciless woman!
Livia: [pause] Perhaps. It is necessary.

Augustus: I lost the man I loved the most today.
Livia: Not just the man, Augustus. You loved him more then any woman too.
Augustus: No. I did love you, Livia.
Livia: Yes? But then?
Augustus: Then? Well, then you made life so complicated.

Augustus: Leave me. I want to be alone.
Livia: You *are* alone.

Livia: You must marry Tiberius.
Julia: I can't stand him.
Livia: I'm not asking you to love him.
Julia: Good, cause I won't!
Augustus: Shut up, the pair of you! If a fight is what you want give me three days notice to place the bets.

Livia: You don't believe the rumours, do you?
Augustus: No, Livia. Even you aren't *that* cruel.

Tiberius: Mother, no! I'm your son, *not* Augustus', as Julia is his daughter, *not* yours.
Livia: Exactly, which is why you must marry Julia!
Tiberius: I don't love her, and she doesn't love me either.
Livia: Love has nothing to do with it.
Tiberius: I love my wife. I always have.
Livia: Yes, Tiberius. You told me that when you married the stupid little thing, but she is of no use to us. You will divorce her, and marry Julia. Do that, and you'll be emperor.
Tiberius: I don't want to be emperor!
[pause]
Tiberius: Besides, there are Gaius and Lucius, Julia and Agrippa's boys. They come before me.
Livia: They're weak children...
[pause]
Livia: They may die.
Tiberius: Mother, you wouldn't...
Livia: Wouldn't what?
[Long pause]
Livia: I was just saying they've always had colds and fevers. They *may* die.

Augustus: Livia, when did you stop loving me?
Livia: My love hasn't... Died, exactly. It's just evolved.
Augustus: Into what?
Livia: Duty.


"I, Claudius: Poison Is Queen (#1.5)" (1976)
Livia: Don't touch the figs.

[about Augustus being deified]
Claudius: I believe it was foretold.
Livia: Really. Who foretold it?
Claudius: Jove.
Livia: Jove, eh?
Claudius: A hundred days ago he melted the 'C' off one of Augustus' statues.
Livia: And what does that mean, idiot head?
Claudius: If you strike the letter 'C' from the word 'Caesar,' the word 'aesar' is left. And in Etruscan 'aesar' means 'God'.
Livia: If the gods were going to give us a message, why wouldn't they give it to us in Latin?

Livia: No one can talk to you anymore.
Augustus: Anyone can talk to me at any time, except you. You don't talk to people. You bully them.
Livia: This conversation is becoming ridiculous.
Augustus: No, this conversation was ridiculous from the start.

[on Augustus' will]
Livia: He's altered his will
[Tiberius gawps]
Livia: What's the matter? Cat got your tongue? Ha, that took your breath away, didn't it.
Tiberius: How do you know?
Livia: I know; I make it my business to know.

[Livia has told Tiberius about the will]
Tiberius: Whose he changed it in favour of?
Livia: Whose d'you think?
Tiberius: Germanicus?
Livia: HA. Trust you to get it wrong. I must have been nodding when I gave birth to you.
Tiberius: I wonder sometimes mother if you ever did anything so natural as giving birth. In whose favour has he altered the will-?
Livia: POSTUMUS. Whose d'you think?
Livia: Augustus went to Corsica, didn't it occur to you be might stop off to visit your stepson?
Tiberius: Well why should he? What does he know that he didn't know before? What could he know?
[pause]
Tiberius: [Grimly] What is there to know?
Livia: He's a senile old man. How am I to 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.

Tiberius: Don't bother on my account. I'm sick of it. Gods know I've done my best; he's never liked me, never. Thirty years I've run his errands for him; I've fought on his bloody frontiers, collected his taxes- Never once has he put his hand on my shoulder and said "Thank you, what would I have done without you?" He sends me off again and doesn't even give me a goodbye, just "Get on your horse and ride." Well, damn him. I retired before once and I can do it again; let his precious grandson run his empire for him. I'm sick to death of it.
[Long pause]
Livia: So, when do you leave?

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.


"I, Claudius: What Shall We Do About Claudius? (#1.4)" (1976)
Augustus: What is going on here?
Postumus: [indicating Livia] Ask *her*. She knows.
Augustus: I'm asking you.
Livia: He'll incriminate all of us before he's finished.

Livia: 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.


"Rome: De Patre Vostro (About Your Father) (#2.10)" (2007)
Livia Drusilla: Excuse me...
Atia of the Julii: Yes?
Livia Drusilla: Oh, I don't mind really, but it is I who should go first. You will find if you consult the priests, the wife takes precedence.
Atia of the Julii: I don't give a fuck what the priests say. I'm not letting a vicious little trollop like you walk ahead of me!
[long pause]
Atia of the Julii: I go first.


"I, Claudius: Some Justice (#1.6)" (1976)
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 does not occur to me first. That is the affliction I live with.


"I, Claudius: Old King Log (#1.13)" (1976)
[on his last day before the Senate, Claudius sees the ghosts of his family and predecessors]
Augustus: Well done, Claudius, emperor after all. Who would have thought it, eh?
Livia: You're a fool, boy, you always were. People might say it's not your fault. Well, if it's not your fault, whose is it then?
Antonia: Your nose is still dripping, Claudius, still dripping.
Tiberius: 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 that? Could have knocked me over with a feather then they told me that.


"I, Claudius: Waiting in the Wings (#1.3)" (1976)
Livia: It's a hard thing to see a child banished, especially when you know the banishment is unjust.
[Augustus looks at her]
Livia: Yes, you must let my son come home. Can't you see what has been clear to me for so long, that it was Julia's wickedness that drove him away.
[Augustus glares at her]
Augustus: I'll never bring him back. Never. He drove her to it. She would never have gone down that road if it wasn't for his wickedness.
[He stand up and yells to Livia]
Augustus: He can stay there and rot.


"Rome: A Necessary Fiction (#2.8)" (2007)
Gaius Octavian Caesar: You should know that when we are married, I shall on occasion beat you. With my hand... A light whip... When I do so you must not think you have offended me. I do it because it gives me sexual pleasure. So remember that and don't be upset.
Livia Drusilla: Yes sir...
Gaius Octavian Caesar: [pause] I think we should get along very well.


I, Claudius (1937)
Caligula: Grandmother, you remember my dear Uncle Claudius who prefers the society of pigs to that of the court?
Livia: I have asked Claudius to be present at these ceremonies, and to be my guest at dinner tonight.
Caligula: But grandmother, think of his table manners.
Livia: Be silent, you impudent puppy. You take your uncle for a fool, but he's not. I sometimes think he pretends to be one, so as to make fools of us. Far from being a fool, he's the last decent man left alive in Rome. One can rely on him. If he makes a promise he keeps it. And when he swears to the truth, it is the truth. Am I right, Claudius?
[Claudius tries to stammer a reply]
Caligula: Don't let him start talking, he might have a stroke.