By the lord Of Angband, Father of Dragons, Morgoth.
Bored of playing Mass Effect 3 and Diablo 3, while waiting for the release of Max Payne 3*, I decided the other night to start watching the HBO show titled “Rome”
I have been meaning to watch it for a while but between my games, being a pseudo-intellectilite(1) on this forum and other activities (sleeping), I never seem to have the time.
“Spartacus(2)” didn’t help much either because I watched it first. If you compare the two shows you might see why. Spartacus has a great storyline, character development and top-notch production standards…Ag, who am I kidding? Blood, sand, gratuitous violence and half-naked slave-girls? What’s not to like(3)? J
So I forced myself past the first two episodes of “Rome” and started to really enjoy it. The change from Republic to Empire is actually close to authentically presented, even though the main two characters Lucius Verinus and Titus Pullo and their adventures are fictional.
Well not entirely. There is actually a note made by the real Julius Gaius Caesar in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico Book 5, Chapter 44 that refers to two soldiers by the same name. Neat, wouldn’t you say? That note alone kept the two men part of that interesting period of our pre-history; otherwise they would have been lost in the sands of time.(4)
It gives a good glimpse into the lives of The Roman republic. It’s people, society structure and the hierarchy of the social classes. You see the temples come to life and even some rituals performed in that era. It’s by our standards a brutal superstitious people, while at the same time being impressive in its achievements in conquest and architecture that is still littered across Italy, Europe even right to Hadrian’s Wall in the U.K
But I digress.
Episode 7 of the second season, I spotted a gem. Well for me at least. A short 25 second scene. For those who are familiar with the show might remember it.(5)
For those who have not seen or remember it, or those who have not lost interest in this ramble yet, I’ll picture the scene for you.
In Rome, a few steps from the senate, the paid for speaker or ”News anchor” if you will, is delivering a Message from what is today called the second triumvirate. Reading from a clay tablet handed to him he announces in a loud voice:
“All citizens! Be aware that the vassal, Prince Herod, Tetra of Galilee, has come to the city. By Order of the Triumvirate, during his residence here, all mockery of Jews and their One God shall be kept to the appropriate minimum.”(6)
I watched this scene a few times as small things amuses small minds(7), and noticed right after the announcement as he hands the tablet down to someone in the audience. As he does this, his face turns what I like to describe as a small snort of laughter.
And then I got a headache with pictures, or more commonly known as an idea.
I saw in that scene 2 people at the same time. One, a Roman citizen delivering a message, and another, an actor delivering his line.
The Roman citizen.
Here I assume the Roman citizen to believe in the values of the Republic, the roman way of doing things; all sanctified and made Holy by their gods. The snort of laughter, in my mind, could be that he doesn’t believe in the Jewish God either, hence his mirth. Or maybe a remark from the crowd that is meant to mock that gave him that guilty little grin. It is only to be expected since in a dog eat dog world, the romans had bigger teeth than most. Their gods surely, in their minds, must be more powerful than the gods of the conquered Celts, Gauls or Thracians.
Let’s assume the actor is Christian. If that’s the case, the laugh might be simply be from a sense of irony, delivering this line, while believing in one god himself. Post-production might have kept the scene intact, because it came natural to scene or some other reason. Or maybe his performance for the scene demanded the laugh. Who knows? Will have to contact the actor himself to ask what went down behind the cameras, I suppose.
Apart from those there also another equally valid idea, that both the character and the Actor are/were Atheists. And the Humour is felt the same way by two people separated by nearly 2000 years! The laugh aimed at both religions being equally delusional in the mind of Roman and Actor.
This brings me to my point. If there has to be one for this article.(8)
Atheists have been around for a long time. Since the first Theist started to reveal their god/s to the rest of us mere mortals, there has always been some who would reply, “Hold on, you do not have any evidence for your God.”
If only for the sake of pure consistency you got to give the infidels some credit here. While theologians have also been around for a while, the brochure has kept changing, as the gods they marketed kept changing, I do not see this trend changing anytime soon.
But the Atheist’s proposal has always been the same:
“Although we cannot disprove your God/s
We see no good reason to believe in a God/s”
So Atheists are here to stay, Can we say the same about any of the religions today? Not so sure.
I’ll leave you with that thought, and a quote from “Rome” made by Julius Gaius Caesar, talking to Marc Anthony about why he chose not to punish Lucius and Pullo for not apprehending Pompeii when they had the chance.
“Any man certainly, but those two…they found my stolen standard, survive a wreck that drowned an army only to find Pompeii Magnus on a beach. They have powerful gods on their side, and I will not kill anyone with friends of that sort.”
Says the man with the title of “Son of Venus”.
Obelix was right. These Romans are crazy.
Ps. Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I had writing it, feel free to throw fruit if you wish, not green ones, they hurt my tummy.
*Odd Universe we live in, wouldn’t you say?
1. Need citation on correct spelling. Is this acceptable Dumbwin?
2. Not the one with Michael Douglas’s dad
3. Those who claim they liked it for different reasons are LIARS!
4. How cliché can you get? *facepalm*
5. Between 25 and 27min in. You will see Prince Herod in a next scene bribing Marc Anthony Lol. Loved Anthony’s quip about being a hypocrite. Hilarious.
6. Direct quote.
7. Should never take ourselves too seriously. I don’t mind making fun of myself. Popular legend is that Caesar personal slave, an educated Greek, as was custom, was tasked to periodically remind Caesar of his mortality. If is not true, I’m spreading it anyway. J 8. Do they really need one? Really?
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