Tuesday, September 27, 2005

HBO's Rome ep 5

Another excellent episode! This review is going to be a bit more thorough and linear than usual, since David Meadows has yet to post one of his excellently thorough reviews. But I'm not going to do a blow-by-blow. In fact, I'm feeling a bit lazy tonight (and have some Latin to read), so I'll just post my notes:

-Atia accuses (and encourages!) Octavius of "seducing" Caesar. While I am all for homosexuality and understand homosexual practices in Rome, that particular pairing rather hurts my head! I'm thinking it goes a bit too far, and I've never seen literary evidence to suggest this. That, of course, doesn't mean it doesnt' exist.
-Vorenus: "You should be in camp!" Pullo: "There's nothing to do there--it's boring!" Pullo sounds like a schoolboy!
-WOW, they said "hoi polloi," not "the hoi polloi."
-Vorenus' slaves from Gaul all get sick/dying--more money woes for the family
-Octavius is an excellently snarky boy!
-Octavius, who being trained by Pullo, whom Atia hired to teach him "manly" things: "I dare say I can kill people readily enough, as long as they're not fighting back!"
-"How happy, eh, to be a slave, to have no will, make no decisions--driftwood. How very restful it must be."--I think that was Pompey talking to the slave who gave him Caesar's rejection for the truce.
-VERY explicit Caesar/Servilia sex graffiti, including pictures. "Caesari Servilia Futatrix" "Servilia Caesaris fellator" "Caes Servilia Cinaed" "Caesari futat Servi[...]" -- it seems they were trying to use "futuere" and completely messed it up. Ignorant pleb strikes again? Also, shouldn't "fellator" be "fellatrix" if they mean that Servilia is the one sucking? Otherwise, I'm not sure with what that is supposed to match.
-Vorenus gets hired as a bodyguard for a "businessman"
-businessman friend says the forum is only for *closing* deals
-Vorenus gets asked to kill someone who won't pay--walks out instead
-Caesar leaves Servilia--she slaps him, but he slaps her back and leaves her kneeling on the floor, crying.
-Vorenus goes back to Marc Antony for a job
-Servilia curses Caesar and Atia (who she discovers is the one who sent people to put up the graffiti). She summons Tyche, Megara and Nemesis: "By the spirits of my ancestors, I curse Gaius Julius Caesar. Let his penis wither; let his bones crack; let him see his legions drown in their own blood. Gods of the inferno I offer to you his limbs, his head, his mouth, his breath, his speech, his hands, his liver, his heart, his stomach. Gods of the inferno, let me see him suffer deeply, and I will rejoice and sacrifice to you."
-a bit later: "By the spirits of my ancestors, I curse Atia of the Julii. Let dogs rape her. Let her children die and her houses burn. Let her live a long life of bitter misery and shame. Gods of the inferno, I offer to you her limbs, her head, her mouth, her breath, her speech, her heart, her liver, her stomach. etc."
-the seeds of Augustus! Octavius threatens to torture Evander if he doesn't tell the truth about his relationship with Niobe. Has Pullo cut off his thumbs! They kill him when he confesses that the child is his. They decide not to tell Vorenus.
-some ritual for Vorenus becoming a soldier again.

They've thrown in a lot in this episode. There were a lot of wonderful details, but I'm afraid I'm a little uncertain as to the validity of a couple points. Hopefully, some of you can comment. I liked the touches, though, and the characters are developing well.

I'm not sure I'll have time to continue watching Rome in a timely manner later in the semester, so I'm not sure if I'll be keeping up with these updates. I'm not even entirely sure many of you care. So, comment if you do, and I'll attempt to keep writing them.

Also, an excellent link posted in rogueclassicism today: Lost 1899 Cleopatra short film by Georges Melies found.

My class discussing technology in literature in the 19th century has me even more pumped up about this than I'd already be. I do hope we'll be able to see it soon!


Anonymous Gilh said...

I'll put in a yes vote to see your continuing comments on Rome HBO.

12:44 PM  
Anonymous Valerius said...

Years later, during the hostilities between Octavius and Antony, the latter accused the former of having become become Caesar's heir by seducing him. This, of course, was an untrue slander, but "Rome" shows how it might have begun: Antony's bedding Atia, who informs him of her suspicions on the matter. I found it a nice, subtle touch (which this series is filled with). Thusfar, "Rome" has been quite good. While it does condense the historical events (which is somewhat necessary), it doesn't alter them entirely (except in the case of Atia's marriage). As for the fictional storyline, it's first rate, though 1984's "A.D. Anno Domini" will always be my favourite such film, along with "I Claudius."

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Skarr said...

Good summary.. I think this is the best Episode yet in the series.

Regarding the graffiti, Servilia should be the fellatrix.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

Re: gilh
Thanks! They do give me a much-needed break from all the homework, anyway!

Re: Valerius
Thanks for the info! I hadn't heard that one, and I'm relieved that the Rome producers didn't just pull that one out of their asses.

Re: skarr
Thanks! And I concur.

2:58 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I am really enjoying this..and I am not much of a TV show watcher.

I love the look of the show and the sets, it seems as thought they are putting some real effort into historical accuracy. I am so glad they didn't do something ridiculous like make the Rome of this time period look like the Rome of 200 years later.

I am very pleased with the acting, particularly Octavius as a brilliant and somewhat ruthless boy and Anthony as so cocky and aggressive. It seem so right to me.

Please continue your commentaries, if possible.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

Re: Mark

Yeah, I really haven't been watching any other TV this semester. But Rome is worth it. I shall endeavor to keep up the commentary!

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My roommate and I are about to smack Titus Pullo. I mean, we love him, and we know his heart was in the right place, trying to fix this all for Vorenus and Niobe, except look at all the extra problems they now have because of Pullo.

With Evander dead, Niobe's sister is going to be Vorenus' responsibility - I mean, since she was helping the family when he was supposedly dead, there's a reciprocal obligation. So bitter, pissed off sister is going to be around a lot more, and if not joining the household directly, at least another mouth to feed and possibly additional rent to pay. And heaven forbid Evander have been sleeping with his wife, too - there might be children we haven't yet heard about, or she might be pregnant.

Not to mention the loss of all the slaves except the little boy has really fucked with things financially. The moment Vorenus brought him home, the girls made a pet of him - they aren't selling that boy. Which means some of what Vorenus got from his signing bonus has to pay the bill to the slavemaster. Some more has to pay for what I perceive to be leftover debts. And since they don't know when he'll be paid his salary, they have to live off the rest. There might not be a dowry for the elder daughter in November, when Crito comes home. Especially now that there are three extra mouths to feed, whereas in Vorenus' plans, by November they'd be down to one kid as opposed to three.

I know Pullo had his heart in the right place, and he was honestly surprised to learn that the baby belonged to Evander and Niobe, but could he have made a dumber decision?

(also, Octavian cracked me up - "What do you mean, you've never tortured anyone?" This is what comes of having Atia for a mother. That boy scares me.)

Mme Bahorel

12:09 AM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

Re: Mme Bahorel

::snicker:: Yeah. I'm really loving boy!Octavius. They're developing him well to becoming Augustus, methinks.

But yes, once again, Pullo screws up. He's lovable, but probably not the person you'd want as your friend. But I trust Vorenus will figure something out.

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Anonymous Michael said...

The line "CAESARI FUTAT SERVIL" could be just an editorial gaff, but I doubt it. There are many ways to interpret an inscription like that. Futat is present active subjunctive and Caesari is dative singular, while Servil is a shortened form of some case of Servilla, presumably the accusative Servillam. Caesari could be dativus finalis and Futat a subjunctive of potential, meaning something like "[This picture is] for Caesar, [how] he may fuck Servilla." Consider that graffiti are not necessarily grammatically perfect and that their authors are not always completely literate. It could also simply be a vulgar construction I am not familiar with and not often seen in writing.

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