HBO’s Rome

Sunday was the first episode of HBO’s Rome series. Stick, being the Greatest Boyfriend Ever actually ordered HBO just so we could watch it. The story begins at a point everyone recognizes, with Caesar in Gaul and Pompey home waiting for him.

So far, Caesar is an unstoppable military genius and Marc Antony is his heir apparrent. Their slightly dull attempt at comradely banter can be explained away as plot exposition. Brutus comes home to extol the virtues of the Gauls, like a college kid who’s just discovered communism, and he announces a bit too readily, that he has no head for politics. Rome differs from six thousand historical novels because it shows the young Octavius as an entitled brat.

One of the scriptwriters did some serious research, and mentions Octavia’s first husband. Stick says that the armor and weapons were quite accurate, personally I was hiding behind a pillow during the battle scenes. The Roman fashions were great, everyone’s wearing yellows, greens, dark reds and browns.The women dye their hair and paint their faces, and get this, only the senators wear purple-bordered togas!

On the negative side, this is really bloody. Really bloody. Just because you’re HBO and you CAN be violent doesn’t mean you have to be. There were two scenes which just turned my stomach.

Also, there was some slight Forrest Gump-ing of the fictional protagonists, but I’ll go with it fort he first episode. As long as they’re not passing by the forum for the assassination of Caesar next week…

Finally, does anyone know why Cato was wearing a black toga on the senate floor? Does it mean something? Or was white just too expensive to maintain?

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0 Responses to HBO’s Rome

  1. Jay Adan says:

    A quick Google search led me to a page on togas that said that black togas were worn to indicate mourning. Essentially a funereal toga. Sounds good to me.

  2. Meg says:

    I thought of that, but I couldn’t figure out who in Cato’s life had recently died? His half-brother died 13 years previously and his half-sister was disowned (for sleeping w/ Caesar) 6 years previously.

  3. Stick says:

    Regardless, if he were in mourning then shouldn’t Pompey be wearing it as well? He not only loses his wife but at one point says he is still in mourning. The Cato thing is weird and it is compounded by the fact that Cato isn’t wearing anything uder his toga–Perv!

  4. Stick says:

    Ok, I did a little research (very little) and found a theory I like. Cato is in mourning for the dying republic. This is why he not only is wearing black, but is not wearing shoes or under garments. I don’t know if this is true, but I like it!

  5. Meg says:

    1) that makes sense w/ the no-shoes thing.

    2) my other theory is that it’s just cheaper than white

    3) you’re a visiting celebrity on my blog

  6. Roy says:

    Cato never rode on a horse. He is the hallmark of Roman republican virtue. George Washington, in viloation of Army regulations, had Joseph Addison’s play Cato at Utica (wear Cato killed himself rather than allow Caesar to show mercy to him)preformed for his troops.

  7. Roy says:

    “And in general Cato esteemed the customs and manners of men at that time so corrupt, and a reformation in them so necessary, that he thought it requisite, in many things, to go contrary to the ordinary way of the world. Seeing the lightest and gayest purple was then most in fashion, he would always wear that which was the nearest black; and he would often go out of doors, after his morning meal, without either shoes or tunic; not that he sought vain-glory from such novelties, but he would accustom himself to be ashamed only of what deserves shame, and to despise all other sorts of disgrace.”

    Plutarch: Life of Cato (the younger)

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