Rome (2005 series)

By AoM, in 'Latin Culture', Apr 25, 2017.

  1. AoM Rosa Caerula

    • Civis Illustris
    I’ve seen S1 once, but it’s been a little bit. Posting my thoughts on each episode. Full spoilers.

    “The Stolen Eagle” (S1E01)

    52 B.C. Eager to return to Rome after eight long years of war, Gaius Julius Caesar ends his campaign with a resounding triumph in Gaul--and news of a shattering personal loss at home.

    - The intro is OK. I did get the feeling that they just ran out of money, and this was what resulted.

    - They show Caesar and Pompey exchanging kisses on the cheek. How common was this then?

    - Ciarán Hinds was such a great choice to play Caesar.

    - A Roman centurion using a whistle in battle to coordinate movements. Accurate?

    - They show Julia dying in childbirth (she died in 54, not 52).

    - These sets. So good.

    - Many of the scenes would be great to show in a classroom.

    - Just as I write that, cue sex scene.

    - Young Octavius slapping a slave girl in the face. Well then.

    - Cicero and Pompey were the same age, yet the actors playing the two characters look 10+ years apart. Maybe they were trying to stress the toil of war?

    - Cato the Younger (born in 95, so 43 years old here) looks like he’s 60+. I assume that was a deliberate change.

    - Good casting for Brutus and Antony.

    - Great little exchange between Brutus and Pompey (Brutus pointing out that Pompey is technically “lower class”).

    - Funny banter between Vorenus and Pullo.

    - Young Octavius already incredibly aware.

    - The actress playing Cornelia Metella looks a lot older than she should (she was 21 in 52 BC).
  2. Mafalda Member

    No whistles were used.
    Pompey was "lower class" actually. But Brutus was "lower class" himself, so it is the pot calling the kettle black.

    The series is quite good, I think I am going to see it again as well. It is a pity it is not in Latin though :)
  3. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    I seem to remember I gave it a chance but aspects of it turned me off so I did the same back.
  4. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    The whistles reportedly were used, it's one of the most recent discoveries that the show runners tried to implement. (the exact purpose is not known, but there should have been whistles in some Roman settlement in Regensburg)

    They mainly tried to make it/the Rome "look" real and "alive" if you don't count the characters and the story. Even the Roman religion, the rites (all the sacrifices they do), the augury, the clothes, the actual colors (of clothes, buildings, name it), everything. Even the ancient graffiti. It is quite helpful if you watch the director's commentary to each episode. Only HBO can go to such lengths. The show had to stop/conclude prematurely by the second season because it was so insanely expensive that they couldn't afford that anymore. According to the commentaries, even the food on the set was edible, the actors were banned to use any kind of "fake" more-comfortable shoes, they had to use the uncomfortable ancient ones, no matter how long the shooting took... etc.

    Then that team and some of the actors (Caesar, Brutus e.g.) moved to another Rome-like very expensive and also quite "adult-looking" show that however became so insanely famous around the world that the funds are just pouring in more and more: the Game of Thrones :)

    The HBO Rome is a kind of "HBO prequel" to the Game of Thrones (in an obscure way).
    Last edited by Godmy, Apr 25, 2017
    Mafalda likes this.
  5. Mafalda Member

    If they were used it could not have been during actual battle. Just try to audibly imagine a battle and you will see, not to mention the fact that all that the enemy needed to do was to start whistling as well (that is if that had any sense at all which it did not).
    That's why I like it and forgive HBO all their errors (although frankly speaking it was not very difficult to avoid them).
    "Insanely" is the word. I could not follow it, got bored to death by the end of the first season. They should have called it "Tits, dragons and dwarfs".
  6. AoM Rosa Caerula

    • Civis Illustris
    Yeah, I meant it was good to show that even someone as distinguished and powerful as Pompey was considered "lower class", stressing this divide between Caesar and Pompey.
    Are these only on the DVDs/Blu-rays? I'm watching on Amazon.
  7. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    Maybe we should dub it in Latin.
  8. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    But I don't need to imagine it anymore, do I? That's what the artists' rendition (the show) did for me, that's the whole point. Otherwise I don't think you or me have any further first hand experience with these kind of fights (and you would have military /historic military advisers on the set).

    That's an error in judgement on your side. The whole point why Rome took over almost all Europe - or as they said "the whole world" was, because they were incredibly organized (=advanced military vs. primitive military) in such way that the enemy couldn't catch up. If the enemy could start whistling as well, they could also start wearing gladius, pilum, shaving their heads and I don't know what... What makes you think that "the enemy would have done it to" is even a valid argument in the ancient Roman Europe context?


    Forgive me, but I suppose that's true for the viewers for whom the only thing they are able to see and perceive is 'tits, dragons and dwarfs'. I saw an interesting complicated story that captivated me despite almost zero predictibility (which is really rare in any kind of drama/novel), political drama, nice sets and well executed action and plethora of other things. And I suppose that that's how most people feel.

    Sure, I don't mind tits at all, I love dragons and dwarves are sometimes funny. But it would be in my opinion a bit narrow view of viewing the show just for the merit of that... I'm not certainly not a person who's able to watch 60 hours of soft porn just because somebody views it as soft porn. No, thank you, I'm not interested in that.

    I just don't buy these arguments against GOT... though, yes: dē gustibus nōn disputandum
    I know, I know.

    I'm afraid so. I got it from DVDs :-/

    I think that you should legally be able to own a copy of any movie/game/music you buy, so if you download the DVDs, it shouldn't pose such a problem in these terms.
  9. Mafalda Member

    Godmy, the level of their historic and military advisers can be seen from the fact that the soldiers are in the middle of the battle with their helmets unfastened, which they would not do. And look at the shields. And the kerchiefs were worn UNDER mailchains, that is what they were intended for, and you do not even need to be a military expert to understand why.
    They might have or they might have not. You do not have to be a technologically advanced person to make a whistle, believe you me. But the point is that using whistles in a real battle does not make sense. It is not a film set with studio recoreded sound.
    "Tits, dragons and dwarfs" is not my idea, actually. It is how some people refer to the series, so I am not alone in my perception of it. And I quite liked the dwarf, he is the only interesting and plausible character. And I do not mind moderate footage of tits when it is really necessary for the story. What I do mind is soft porn under the disguise of a fantasy story, and that is exactly what GOT is in my opinion. But if you enjoy it, it is perfectly all right. For me though, even with fewer tits, the story seems utterly boring. You have said it, de gustibus non disputandum.
    Last edited by Mafalda, Apr 26, 2017
  10. AoM Rosa Caerula

    • Civis Illustris
    "How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic" (S1E02)

    Appointed People's Tribune by Caesar, Mark Antony returns to Rome with Octavian's liberators, Vorenus and Pullo. After being feted by Atia, Vorenus heads home to his family for the first time in eight years.

    - A little Latin (a slave addressing Atia as domina).

    - Well, that was an awkward homecoming for Vorenus.

    - Gotta show those brothels.

    - Random bene from Antony lol.

    - Performing surgery on a kitchen table. Ouch.

    - Great scenes in the Senate.

    - The scene with Atia, Octavia, and Antony. Even funnier if you know what's to come.

    - The episode title: one stone indeed caused an avalanche.

    - Antony et al. sure got from Rome to across the Rubicon pretty fast.
  11. AoM Rosa Caerula

    • Civis Illustris
    “An Owl in a Thornbush” (S1E03)

    Pompey's decision to temporarily abandon Rome to Caesar forces patrician families to choose sides.

    - Pompey and his pirate stories.

    - Atia saying who will kill whom if the angry mob breaks in. :hysteric:

    - That graffiti: ATIA AMAT OMNES.

    - Brutus: “The Republic is more important than any friendship.”

    - Vorenus and Pullo discussing the stars: the small moments.

    - “Salve, citizens.” No, Vorenus! Come on...

    - Caesar’s message to those still in Rome:
    Last edited by AoM, Apr 30, 2017
  12. AoM Rosa Caerula

    • Civis Illustris
    “Stealing from Saturn” (S1E04)

    Pompey maneuvers outside the city; Atia throws a party welcoming Caesar; Vorenus also hosts a fete.

    - I'm guessing some people didn't like Caesar (nsfw):

    - Goat’s testicles as a way to make one more masculine.

    - Showing some haruspicy, nice.

    - Caesar bribing augurs: all is right here.

    - Octavius spying on Caesar, seeing how he does things.

    - Caesar suffering from morbus comitialis; an interesting article:

    - “The auguries are good.”
  13. Hawkwood .

    • Civis
    I might plonk it on again one of the nights as it's been yonks since I first watched it.
  14. AoM Rosa Caerula

    • Civis Illustris
    “The Ram Has Touched the Wall” (S1E05)

    Caesar weighs Pompey's counteroffer against Antony's recommendation to chase down Pompey's army. Vorenus is forced to reconsider his career choices. A jealous Atia concocts a clever scheme to separate Caesar from Servilia.

    - Some good back and forth between Caesar and his slave.

    - Brutal depictions of slave conditions.

    - Vorenus's daughter asking “What's that?” when their father brings home a slave boy. And then saying she'll name him after her dead pigeon.

    - Pullo tutoring Octavius in the “masculine arts”.

    - Atia: “What extraordinary names these plebs have.”

    - Octavius: “Better to be no swordsman at all than a middling swordsman.”

    - More crude graffiti against Caesar, and humiliating to Calpurnia (nsfw):

    - Tense scene between Caesar and Servilia.

    - Great little scene between Cicero and Brutus.

    - Atia hiring people to put up the aforementioned graffiti lol.

    - Vorenus sacrificing his values to provide for his family.

    - Servilia cursing Caesar: “Let his penis wither” and Atia: “Let dogs rape her”. o_O

    - Brutal scene with Octavius and Pullo torturing the actual father of the baby.

    - “This man is now evocati.”

    “...wait, I mean evocatus.”
  15. AoM Rosa Caerula

    • Civis Illustris
    “Egeria” (S1E06)

    Mark Antony is running Rome while Caesar pursues Pompey, but when news comes that the tide has turned and that Pompey now pursues Caesar, Antony must decide whether to stick by his old commander or turn against him.

    - Antony making someone consul, with the caveat that he pass certain pieces of legislation.

    - Pullo not knowing who Cincinnatus, Marius, or the Gracchi are lol.

    - A scared, half-empty Senate.

    - Pullo taking Octavius to a brothel.

    - Antony having two prostitutes fight with real swords. Future emperor material.

    - Atia revealing to Antony that she’s willing to betray Caesar; Antony staying loyal as a result.
  16. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    This strikes me as being rather unlikely.
  17. RobertusSitiens Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Sterling, VA USA
    I loved the series.

    I feel like they chose to make a story that may not plausibly tell the real events, but is easy enough for us to suspend disbelief.

    If anyone has seen the movie Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, I feel like Pullo and Vorenus are carved in a similar way and I enjoy that.

    I like their nods to the Latin, like never using the word "arena" but rather saying "sand". And idioms like "You touch it with a needle" instead of "You hit the nail on the head".
  18. RobertusSitiens Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Sterling, VA USA
    And of course the title of S1E5 (above) is a nod to Caesar's words: "si prius quam murum aries attigisset..."
  19. AoM Rosa Caerula

    • Civis Illustris
    I was really skeptical at first as well, but given the lack of schooling, it's definitely plausible. Also, I think the writers were trying to stress that Pullo is someone who very much lives in the now.


    “Pharsalus” (S1E07)

    Marooned in the Adriatic Sea, Vorenus and Pullo try to survive. In Greece, Pompey decides to attack Caesar's depleted forces, whose lack of options turns into their greatest strength. The result finds Pompey seeking reinforcements.

    - Vorenus and Pullo reaching land made me think of these lines from the Aeneid: optata potiuntur Troes harena / et sale tabentis artus in litore ponunt (I.172-3).

    - Pompey’s camp dividing up territory like they’ve already won.

    - This subplot with Vorenus’s wife and her sister is the definition of plodding.

    - Pullo suggesting drinking their dead comrades’ blood to avoid dehydration. Vorenus says it’s too salty, and would only make them more thirsty lol.

    - The battle scene at Pharsalus was pretty lazy. A couple of seconds of blurry, slowed-down footage of soldiers fighting. That’s how you show the climax of a civil war?

    - Vorenus and Pullo fashioning a raft out of human corpses. Now that’s resourcefulness.

    - Pompey’s chosen alias: Aeneas Mella.

    - I like how one of the subtitles was “(shouts in Italian)” lol.

    - Caesar’s clementia on full display.

    - Yay, Pompey used the right form when addressing Vorenus.

    - Pompey: “That’s how the Republic died.”
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  20. AoM Rosa Caerula

    • Civis Illustris
    “Caesarion” (S1E08)

    Having pursued Pompey into Egypt, Caesar arrives in Alexandria and meets the boy king Ptolemy XIII, who offers the general a surprise gift. Vorenus and Pullo play liberators again, freeing Ptolemy's incarcerated sister, Cleopatra.

    - The camera moving up as it shows a child as king lol.

    - Caesar: “I think I can handle a small boy and a eunuch.”

    - Caesar: “It’s only hubris if I fail.”

    - The eunuch says that a law in question is Roman law; Caesar’s response: “Is there some other form of law?”

    - Cleopatra...

    - Do the Egyptians have spikes specifically used for displaying severed heads? lol

    - Cleopatra: “A man without sons is a man without a future.”

    - Good scene between Cicero and Antony.

    - Lol Pullo at his possible son with Cleopatra (“Yaaay!”).

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