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HBO has a great webpage describing the background of the series here. I love these quotes from Bruno Heller, the executive producer and writer for the series:

"[Rome] has more in common with places like Mexico City and Calcutta than quiet white marble. Rome was brightly colored, a place of vibrant cruelty, full of energy, dynamism and chaotic filth. It was a merciless existence, dog-eat-dog, with a very small elite, and masses of poverty."

I think that's what I like about this series the most. As [livejournal.com profile] thecaelum said here, the city is just as vibrant and dynamic, cruel and remarkable, as any of the characters. I usually hate don't care for movies/series based on classical times. But Rome I'm completely spellbound by.


"Human nature never changes," continues Heller, "and the great thing about the Romans, from a dramatic perspective, is that they're a people with the fetters taken completely off. They had no prosaic God telling them right from wrong and how to behave. It was a strictly personal morality, and whether or not an action is wrong would depend on whether people more powerful than you would approve. You were allowed to murder your neighbor or covet his wife if it didn't piss off the wrong person. Mercy was a weakness, cruelty a virtue, and all that mattered was personal honor, loyalty to yourself and your family."

This take also fascinates me, and I agree with Heller, human nature never changes. And the ideology we have now, in theory if not in practice (and a rather theoretical theory at times), that each life is precious, was inverted, for life was known, acknowledged, assumed to be very cheap. And the sheer viciousness of it all, the gladiator games, slavery, poverty, the violence and careless cruelty prevalent in what some call the most civilized empire of ancient times, the dichotomy of that is something I find endlessly intriguing. And I love that the show doesn't pull any punches showing that, that it isn't Rome filtered through 20th century ideals, as most shows/movies of this nature are, that even in the most conservative, idealistic characters in this series such as Lucius, the expounder of duty and stoicism, slavery was not just never questioned, but thought to be a good thing, a thing that could bring him profit.

Summary: I think this show rocks. When's the next episode coming out? XD

Date: 2005-09-22 06:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] musicdiamond.livejournal.com
I'm glad you enjoy 'Rome'. I know you tend to break out in hives when it comes to movies/tv/poorly produced media set in classical times.

I'm enjoying it as well, though I've only watched up to episode 3, I believe. I'm perpetually behind on all my shows, lol.

Date: 2005-09-22 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fable.livejournal.com
I know you tend to break out in hives when it comes to movies/tv/poorly produced media set in classical times.

:D

I make up for it by being particularly effusive about shows like Rome, and, um. *thinks* ooh. Liked I, Claudius too! So, see? Balance, it is there kinda!

Date: 2005-09-24 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deerlike.livejournal.com
Sorry to intrude, but, I, Claudius! ♥ I definitely second you. You are a pedant after my own heart. :D

Date: 2005-09-24 03:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deerlike.livejournal.com
Yes, yes, YES. Rome was such a metropolitan city that it doesn't make sense to depict it as a pristine 'pillars and pedestals' capital à la all those sword-and-sandal epics. I love the comparisons to Mexico City and Calcutta -- however, a fellow Classics student I was conversing with (a rather pompous fellow) expressed outrage, and said [quote], 'how dare they associate Rome with such filthy hovels! it's on par with New York City and Paris, for god's sakes.' Cue eyeroll and a drawled, 'your point being...?'

But yes, so so much love for this show. <3 And I echo you on the Octavian-squeeing, and raise you one 'He's such a [canny little] twat in this series; I heart him. (http://www.livejournal.com/users/firebreeze/139889.html?thread=744817#t744817)'. :))

Date: 2005-09-24 03:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deerlike.livejournal.com
I wish they'd do something for Archaic/Classical/Hellenistic* Greece. *pouts* Athens, for example, if they want a vibrant, thriving (well, post-plague) city with intrigue and conniving out the wazoo. My poor Hellas -- it's been dealt such dishonour (I cast the Evil Eye upon Troy and, not as much so, but still a little disparagingly, Alexander) upon the silver screen.

*

Date: 2005-09-25 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fable.livejournal.com
however, a fellow Classics student I was conversing with (a rather pompous fellow) expressed outrage, and said [quote], 'how dare they associate Rome with such filthy hovels! it's on par with New York City and Paris, for god's sakes.' Cue eyeroll and a drawled, 'your point being...?'

*rolls eyes with you* You're right. What a pompous fellow.


But yes, so so much love for this show. <3 And I echo you on the Octavian-squeeing, and raise you one 'He's such a [canny little] twat in this series; I heart him.'. :))

ahahahaha. He is!


I wish they'd do something for Archaic/Classical/Hellenistic* Greece.

I would die of joy.


My poor Hellas -- it's been dealt such dishonour (I cast the Evil Eye upon Troy and, not as much so, but still a little disparagingly, Alexander) upon the silver screen.

Yes yes yes. I couldn't even watch Troy, and I hated Alexander. You keep on taking the words right out of my mouth. (Where've you been all my life anyway? XD)

Date: 2005-09-26 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] deerlike.livejournal.com
Thinking in tandem is KWYTE PHUN. *-:)

Eljay: like a single's-bar for pedants and know-it-alls. (well, among other unspeakables...)

Date: 2005-09-29 12:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] perverseparagon.livejournal.com
Firstly, sorry for intruding, but I've been lurking around here for a couple of days and couldn't stop myself from adding a comment. It's a compulsion I'm learning to tackle with time but when it comes to things like Rome…

*Love* this show.

Rome really was a bustling and filthy place. You only have to read a little of Ovid bitching about the crowded streets and the stench to get a feel for that. I love the fact that they've included shots of some of the high rise apartments as well, crowded and dark as they were. You can still actually walk around them in Rome, but I believe you now need special permission because after 2000 years they are a little rickety.

I think for me though, and this is such a silly little thing, what wins the most love is the fact that they've used colour. Roman art was bold and gaudy. When most people think of classical Rome they think of clean white marble etc. etc. When the truth is if it wasn't smothered in paint or colour in someway, then the Romans thought it was incredibly dull and entirely out of fashion.

Anyway, because I like the way you think *friends*.

Date: 2005-09-29 01:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fable.livejournal.com
When the truth is if it wasn't smothered in paint or colour in someway, then the Romans thought it was incredibly dull and entirely out of fashion.

Ooh. I knew that things in that city were more colorful than usually portrayed in movies, but didn't know it went to that extent. I love this city and show more with each new thing I learn about it. Thank you!


sorry for intruding, but I've been lurking around here for a couple of days and couldn't stop myself from adding a comment.

I'm now quite firmly convinced that you should never stop yourself from adding a comment. *unrolls carpet strewn with rose petals for (former) lurkers like you.* XD

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