Jump to content

Geekvs Romanvs: Historical Blunders, Nitpicks, and Errata


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.

515 replies to this topic

#1

m1k3yb

m1k3yb

    Video Archivist

Posted Aug 23, 2005 @ 9:45 AM

I've noticed from watching the extras on HBO on-demand that the creators spent alot of time/money/effort making this show accurate, so I know a lot of us will be watching very closely.

Edited by m1k3yb, Aug 24, 2005 @ 9:06 AM.


#2

Morrollan

Morrollan

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Aug 23, 2005 @ 2:17 PM

What interests me most is not the accuracy in costuming, or decor, although those are fascinating.

I'm intrigued that the creators appear to be willing to show the unique moral code of Rome. I wonder how the audience will take it?

#3

DebraAnne

DebraAnne

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 23, 2005 @ 6:18 PM

I'm intrigued that the creators appear to be willing to show the unique moral code of Rome.

By "unique", do you mean "loose"? :)
It will be interesting to see right-wing conservative reaction to it, if they keep it accurate, that is.

Great title, m1k3yb.

#4

blackwing

blackwing

    Stalker

Posted Aug 23, 2005 @ 6:57 PM

But I think we've already seen all that on HBO before. Violence, we've had Sopranos and Deadwood. Sex, we've had Sex and the City. Rape/Homosexuality, we've had Oz.

So I don't think it will be a problem. I hope.

#5

random

random

    Fanatic

  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Toronto

Posted Aug 23, 2005 @ 7:03 PM

What about the schtupping of minors? That went on too, right? If they find a way to show that without coming off puerile or sensationalist, my hat will be off.

#6

blackwing

blackwing

    Stalker

Posted Aug 23, 2005 @ 7:06 PM

Oh. I'd rather not see children getting statutorily raped. All the rest of it seems par for the course to me.

#7

Morrollan

Morrollan

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Aug 23, 2005 @ 7:08 PM

But was it really statutory rape back then? (And the 12 year old in my mind keeps thinking that, in Rome, statutory rape would involve marble. Hee.)

And yes, by unique I meant "loose". Or, rather, pre-Christian.

#8

Trace.Stevens

Trace.Stevens

    Channel Surfer

Posted Aug 23, 2005 @ 7:54 PM

And yes, by unique I meant "loose". Or, rather, pre-Christian.


Well, civility and human rights are new concepts, historically speaking. I hope they go ahead and show it all, no matter how messy or inappropriate it is. If I have to pay a monthly fee for television, I want disturbing and evocative.

The Roman culture is fascinating because it's such a dichotomy; they were capable of decorum and propriety and could still be insanely brutal to each other (and their adversaries). Not unlike certain modern cultures. Heh.

#9

Aileithyia

Aileithyia

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 23, 2005 @ 8:55 PM

I posted this over on the Meet Market, oops, because I didn't see this thread down here. I blame being at home with a sick 5 y/o all day:

You know, I also be *really* interested in seeing how Rome handles childhood and sexuality. They had no mirror concept of childhood innocence - that's wholly a construct of Romantic poets, picked up and run with by the Victorians and now the law of the land. That's just not how it was in antiquity, and I wonder if their much-vaunted accuracy will go that far. There've been lots of examples of underaged actors filming sex on screen (Evan Rachel Wood in Thirteen leaps to mind, because I just saw it recently), so from a logistics standpoint it's all a matter of HOW they do it from a staging perspective. So WILL they? Hmmm.

#10

caia1970

caia1970

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 23, 2005 @ 9:26 PM

Aileithyia: In a scene from the 'Making of Rome' doc I just watched (again), Atia congratulates her son Octavian for 'seducing' his Great-Uncle Julius Caesar. To which he replies, "I did not," or something like that. So I think 'childhood innocence' is out.

#11

Anastasia169

Anastasia169

    Couch Potato

  • Gender:Female
  • Location:The Wilds of Rural Utah
  • Interests:Reading, Knitting, Embroidery, Textile Arts, Medicine, History of Medicine, Fashion, History of Fashion, WWII, Ancient Rome, Science Fiction, Mysteries and Thrillers, Historical Fiction, YA Fiction, Gardening, Art, Law, Anthropology, Horticulture, Birding, Cats, Conversation and many more too numerous to list.

Posted Aug 25, 2005 @ 8:32 AM

Can someone detail the unique moral/pre-christian code of the Romans? I know that sexuality was different and that men had relationships with men as the standard of human connection, I was inquiring about the moral code and worldview beyond the sexual. Anyone?

#12

calicol

calicol

    Channel Surfer

Posted Aug 25, 2005 @ 9:09 AM

One thing we must remember about ancient civilizations is that although a lot of those societies placed a premium on virginity before marriage (usually on the female only) most are married in their early teens - 13 yrs old being the average for girls. Unlike now when person who wants to remain a virgin before marriage has to do so for a longer time since I can almost see the faces of people in our modern times if they hear or read about the marriage of children.

It suddenly occurred to me that maybe the adulteries that we've read about in Roman times were committed by a bunch of teenagers (???)

#13

Dr Mike

Dr Mike

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Aug 25, 2005 @ 4:09 PM

It suddenly occurred to me that maybe the adulteries that we've read about in Roman times were committed by a bunch of teenagers (???)


That would make much more sense.

Anyway, I think sometimes historical accuracy is a crap shoot. After all, what do we really have to go on besides a number of writings? We don't even know how accurate those writings are. Imagine years from now what aliens would think of our long-dead society if all they found were back issues of TV Guide?

"Apparantly these people ate bugs for money. And it was entertainment."

#14

LogCabinPat

LogCabinPat

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 25, 2005 @ 4:20 PM

But I think we've already seen all that on HBO before. Violence, we've had Sopranos and Deadwood. Sex, we've had Sex and the City. Rape/Homosexuality, we've had Oz.

And let us not forget that scene in Carnivale where a man offers Ben a go at his very young, mentally retarded grand-daughter, because he needs the money and "she don't understand, nohow". And then has her raise her skirt to show him what he'd be getting. Can't get much creepier than that. Of course, there was a lot that was creepy on Carnivale.

Edited by LogCabinPat, Aug 25, 2005 @ 4:23 PM.


#15

caia1970

caia1970

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 25, 2005 @ 5:41 PM

It suddenly occurred to me that maybe the adulteries that we've read about in Roman times were committed by a bunch of teenagers (???)


On the women's part anyway. The men were usually older since they had to go through military service and political office. Women were usually married in their early teens and many died in childbirth so as men grew older their wives were progressively younger than they were.

#16

Aileithyia

Aileithyia

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 25, 2005 @ 8:49 PM

Re: morality beyond the scope of sexuality. I actually would point out here that 'morality' is one of those relatively new-fangled concepts in general. The earliest human agrarian socieities (the Sumerians, et al) had substantial difficulties in creating communities. There have to be certain constants present for this large a group of (barely civilised) primates to live together in such huge tribes: the reliable and peaceful transference of power and property upon the death of the original owner; the transparent, swift, and public punishment of those who transgress upon the lives and property of the tribe or individuals; and so on. There was no *moral* value placed on concepts like ensuring the line of inheritance. The virginity and faithfulness of wives to husbands was the only way to make certain your hard-earned/stolen/inherited wealth did not go to a stranger's bloodline. The Romans, above all, were a people who valued practicality and ethical business and political dealings (ha!) above all else. Personally, give me the Celts and matrilineal succession any day. It gave the women a LOT more power. *g* Because you really never know who the father of a kid is, but you do always know who its mother is.

#17

Hasbro

Hasbro

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 28, 2005 @ 5:31 AM

Anyway, I think sometimes historical accuracy is a crap shoot. After all, what do we really have to go on besides a number of writings? We don't even know how accurate those writings are. Imagine years from now what aliens would think of our long-dead society if all they found were back issues of TV Guide?

I guess that's an advantage of dealing with this period that there is alot of room for interpretation. However it does look like they are trying to be faithful to the sources while taking it in a different direction than what we've seen. I'm getting a Deadwood vibe as Rome will do to Rome what Dead did to demystify the Wild West. I expect the debauchery to be front and center in the premiere like the profanity was on Deadwood "Get used to it because there was alot of it"

I'm glad they are focusing on a period that is underrepresented in the Roman film canon, usualy it's Ceasar as emperor until Nero.

ETA: Vercingetorix is the greatest fucking name in history!

Edited by Hasbro, Aug 28, 2005 @ 5:36 AM.


#18

alexious

alexious

    Channel Surfer

Posted Aug 28, 2005 @ 9:05 PM

What annoyed me about the series was how they called their neighbors...the Romans in ancient times would NEVER have referred to Gn. Pompeius as Pompeius Magnus. THey would have called him Gnaeus Pompeius. Magnus meant Great. Pompey took that title early in his career out and was considered an outsider becuase he was from Picenum, not Rome. Calling someone by their Cognomen, no matter how illustrius of a cognomen, was done by good friends only. Officially and if you did not know the person you were addressing you used their Praenomen (Gnaeus) and Nomen (Pompeius) together.

#19

alexious

alexious

    Channel Surfer

Posted Aug 28, 2005 @ 9:09 PM

Can someone detail the unique moral/pre-christian code of the Romans? I know that sexuality was different and that men had relationships with men as the standard of human connection, I was inquiring about the moral code and worldview beyond the sexual. Anyone?


Well Homosexuality was frowned upon in ancient Rome. It was a different story in Greece, where homosexuality was way more accepted. Rome, especially if you were in the first class or magistrates, were very keen not to upset the Censors who had the power to kick people out of the Senate or revoke one's citizenship status. To illustrate how conservative the Romans viewed homosexuality by TPTB, Plutarch actually named the lover of Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, Dictator of Rome, when he wrote his biography of Sulla. The name of the male lover was Metrobius.

#20

Nicolae

Nicolae

    Channel Surfer

Posted Aug 28, 2005 @ 9:36 PM

Homosexuality was frowned upon in ancient Rome


Actually, that's not true. Roman men quite frequently had sex with other men, as well as women. The Roman (and Greek, and up until the early modern period actually) view of sexuality was concerned much less with whom you schtupped than what role you took. That is, gay sex is fine as long as you're the penetrator. Being penetrated was considered effeminate and weak, much the way gay men are stereotypically considered today.

Interestingly enough, the Romans thought the sort of man who would be penetrated was also likely to take a passive role in sex with a woman. The word they used for this kind of guy, which I suppose is somewhat akin to uke if we're talking anime, was cinaedus. Cinaedi were Not Cool. But screwing a slave, or a younger man? That was fine.

(If you're at all interested, in the second Philippic Cicero alleged, among other things, that Antony and Curio had sex and that Antony was the receptive party.)

Anyway, this is a very long way of saying that having sex with men was not considered a bad thing by any means. Being weak or unmanly, however, was, and one of the symptoms was HOW you had sex with men.

Caesar, and I add this merely 'cause it makes me giggle, was reputed to have had an affair with King Nicomedes of Bythnia when he was there as a young man. His soldiers referred to him, lovingly (one presumes) as the Queen of Bythnia.

ETA: And I totally forgot to mention, but: The consuls didn't have a veto, did they? I'm pretty sure the right of intercessio was only for tribunes of the plebs. That was the only glaring flaw I saw tonight, though.

Edited by Nicolae, Aug 28, 2005 @ 9:37 PM.


#21

Sanveann

Sanveann

    Video Archivist

  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Michigan
  • Interests:<br /><br />

Posted Aug 28, 2005 @ 10:03 PM

What I find interesting is how negatively the women of this time period (during the reign of the Caesars, not Rome in particular) are depicted.

When I was in college, a history prof and I were discussing this in relation to "I, Claudius." She said that Suetonius, who wrote "The Lives of the Twelve Caesars" (on which "Claudius" is heavily based) lived during a time of backlash against women's rights, after they had made some gains. She felt that that was why he portrayed powerful women in such a negative light ... sort of a "see what happens when these hussies are in charge!"

Because, really ... I can hardly think of a single positive character in "I, Claudius." Livia is power-mad to the point of killing her own husband and son ... Antonia starves her treasonous daughter to death ... Livilla is the aforementioned treasonous (and adulterous) daughter ... Messalina -- nuff said! Ditto Caligula's sisters. Well, Agrippinilla was evil ... Drusilla may have just been acting (futiley) to save her own life. Julia is the only one who seems even remotely sympathetic, and she humped anything that moved.

Edited because I forgot to add that I wonder if Atia is suffering from the same Suetonius-derived depiction?

Edited by Sanveann, Aug 28, 2005 @ 10:06 PM.


#22

alexious

alexious

    Channel Surfer

Posted Aug 28, 2005 @ 10:41 PM

[/QUOTE]Actually, that's not true. Roman men quite frequently had sex with other men, as well as women. The Roman (and Greek, and up until the early modern period actually) view of sexuality was concerned much less with whom you schtupped than what role you took. That is, gay sex is fine as long as you're the penetrator. Being penetrated was considered effeminate and weak, much the way gay men are stereotypically considered today.[QUOTE]

Not when you take into effect that the first class of Romans, the aristoracy would have been shunned and probably given an inappropriate Cognomen. Then they would have probably been reported to the Censors and would have risked losing their political position, damage their dignitas (which was so vitally important to Caesar) and could have essentially ruined the family. Which is why, I believe that such encounters would have been far more likely to take place outside of Rome than within the city.

[/QUOTE]Interestingly enough, the Romans thought the sort of man who would be penetrated was also likely to take a passive role in sex with a woman. The word they used for this kind of guy, which I suppose is somewhat akin to uke if we're talking anime, was cinaedus. Cinaedi were Not Cool. But screwing a slave, or a younger man? That was fine.[QUOTE]

That is true. Well actually there would have been a few terms the Romans would have given such an individual. Fellator, irrumator, mentula, or cunnus. (Though they would have been in a different diclention designed to label or become a nickname for a person.

[/QUOTE](If you're at all interested, in the second Philippic Cicero alleged, among other things, that Antony and Curio had sex and that Antony was the receptive party.)[QUOTE]

I own it. Cicero had huge axes to grind against M. Anthony. Which is why when Cicero was killed by Antony during the second triumverate Anthony's wife Fulvia cut out his tongue from his decapitated head and put it essentially on display.

[/QUOTE]Anyway, this is a very long way of saying that having sex with men was not considered a bad thing by any means. Being weak or unmanly, however, was, and one of the symptoms was HOW you had sex with men.[QUOTE]

To a point, I agree, espeically in the Late Republic. However, it was still frowned upon even during the Late Republic, just not as much when compared to the previous generations of Romans.

[/QUOTE]Caesar, and I add this merely 'cause it makes me giggle, was reputed to have had an affair with King Nicomedes of Bythnia when he was there as a young man. His soldiers referred to him, lovingly (one presumes) as the Queen of Bythnia.[QUOTE]

Yes, I am well aware of that story. What is interesting is that here is a man who it is documented slept with a rather large number of women, yet his avowed enemies were only to come up with one story about a possible indiscretion with a man. Quite frankly, I think the story about him and Nicomedes is rather weak. According to a number of sources about the rulers of Bithnyia around that time the ruler Nicomedes was quite advanced in years, so I personally have doubts about the story. Hell just listen to the chant of Caesar's 10th Legion when they entered a Gaulic town that the husbands need to lock their wives and daughters away because Caesar was coming! Thats some advertsement!

[/QUOTE]ETA: And I totally forgot to mention, but: The consuls didn't have a veto, did they? I'm pretty sure the right of intercessio was only for tribunes of the plebs. That was the only glaring flaw I saw tonight, though.[/QUOTE]

That is correct, the Tribune's of the Plebs had the power of the Veto...Though the Consuls did have the power of the intercessio where they would have the ability to block the actions of their co-office holder. This happened quite a lot during the Consulship of Gaius Iulius Caesar and Marcus Calpurinus Bibluus, so much in fact that Biblius retired to his house to observe the omens in an effort to thwart Ceasar's agenda, which ultimately failed.

#23

jjfc

jjfc

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 28, 2005 @ 11:30 PM

They are clearly playing a little fast with Octavia. Wouldn't she have already had Marcellus by now Augustus's first heir?

Also, I hope they don't do too much of the homosexuality route because it would dilute the political machinations. Most of the accusations of homosexuality were used as political attacks. (Certainly, the challenges to Octavian's legitimacy.) The more things change. . .

#24

Hasbro

Hasbro

    Fanatic

Posted Aug 29, 2005 @ 12:33 AM

That is, gay sex is fine as long as you're the penetrator. Being penetrated was considered effeminate and weak, much the way gay men are stereotypically considered today

That was one of the reasons Heliogalabus was such a scandalous and eventualy depossed emperor. He was a bottom and took a Vestal virgin as a wife.

OT: Anyone who saw the interviews with the historical advisor, isn't he a dead ringer for John C. McGinley?

#25

HavingFun

HavingFun

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Aug 29, 2005 @ 12:38 AM

They are clearly playing a little fast with Octavia. Wouldn't she have already had Marcellus by now Augustus's first heir?


Maybe he just hasnít been introduced yet? Someone mentioned on another thread that they had not mentioned Anthony was a cousin of Caesar (and therefore Octavian). HBO could be rationing the exposition.

Because, really ... I can hardly think of a single positive character in "I, Claudius." Livia is power-mad to the point of killing her own husband and son ... Antonia starves her treasonous daughter to death ... Livilla is the aforementioned treasonous (and adulterous) daughter ... Messalina -- nuff said! Ditto Caligula's sisters. Well, Agrippinilla was evil ... Drusilla may have just been acting (futiley) to save her own life. Julia is the only one who seems even remotely sympathetic, and she humped anything that moved.


In fairness to Livia, she only planned to kill her own son. He actually died of natural causes. In Antoniaís case, her daughter had killed her husband, the emperorís son. It is highly doubtful Tiberius would have let his sonís killer live. Julia's only crime was sleeping around. Also, it is not like the men are positive role models for children. Tiberius and Caligula are far worse than any of the women.

#26

Sanveann

Sanveann

    Video Archivist

  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Michigan
  • Interests:<br /><br />

Posted Aug 29, 2005 @ 7:27 AM

You're right about Livia ... I was thinking of Germanicus, her grandson, not her son of the same name.

Oooh, I thought of a positive female! Agrippina the younger, Germanicus' wife. Germanicus was probably one of the best male characters, but there were others: Postumus, Agrippa, and Gaius and Lucius', Julia's sons.

#27

Messy

Messy

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 29, 2005 @ 7:42 AM

What's interesting is that the historical records of the period 120 BC to 69 CE for the most part have survived, while most of the stuff before and after have been pretty much lost.

We have most of the letters of Cicero and Caesar's memiors, Suetonius, Plutarch and lots of others. That's why "Empire" or whatever it was called, was so incredably bad.

I've got hopes for this one.

#28

sunworshipper

sunworshipper

    Fanatic

  • Location:Ohio

Posted Aug 29, 2005 @ 7:45 AM

I was pleasantly surprised how historically accurate this series seems to be. That said, I did notice some time compression and editing of events and some BS. Julia died in 54 B.C. and Caesar was not co-consul (as Cato called him) with Pompey in 52 B.C. He couldn't stand for election because he was in Gaul. One factor of the whole crisis was that Caesar wanted to stand for election to consul in absentia and the Senate refused.

#29

MSat

MSat

    Fanatic

  • Interests:Likes: Funk music, cooking, wine and people who hate Paris Hilton<br />TV: Reno 911!, Dirty Sexy Money, The Office, Free Radio, American Idol, 24

Posted Aug 29, 2005 @ 7:53 AM

Can someone help out with the timeline for where we are in Caesar's rise to power at this point? If it's the end of the war in Gaul, and the Senate is demanding that his governorship in Gaul be terminated, then I'm thinking it's somewhere around 51 B.C., right? But I thought Julia died in childbirth a lot earlier than that.

I'm also wondering why there is no mention of Crassus.Or did I just miss it? Some of the dialogue was hard to follow.

#30

Messy

Messy

    Couch Potato

Posted Aug 29, 2005 @ 8:15 AM

Okay, as to the timeline:

Caeser was Elected Pope in 63
Consul in 59
In Gaul in 58
Crassus killed in Mesopotamia in 53

So Crassus was already dead.