All roads lead to Rome

The annals of imperial RomeTV One has just started screening the second series of its big budget historical drama RomeThe programme, which was jointly produced by the BBC, HBO, and Italian network RAI, is one of the most expensive television series ever filmed and was shot on 5 acres of outdoor sets at Cinecitta studios in Rome.

While the sex, violence, and political machinations of Rome may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it follows in a long tradition of  “sword and sandals” dramas.  For other “Roman” viewing check out the following –

  • I, Claudius – BBC television series from the 1970s starring Derek Jacobi and based on the book by Robert Graves.
  • Spartacus – Directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel by Howard Fast.
  • Cleopatra – Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
  • Gladiator – Starring Russell Crowe as “Maximus”.

There also a number of books focusing on the period of Roman history that Rome dramatises as well as numerous works of fiction set in the days of the Roman Empire.

2 thoughts on “All roads lead to Rome

  1. 100swallows 7 January 2008 / 11:46 pm

    Other books I can recommend–why not read the sources?–are Livy’s Histories Suetonius’ Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Polybius’ The Rise of the Roman Empire (not by a Roman but an early history by a Rome-lover). Those all make fascinating reading and they were written in Roman times. Don’t get your knowledge second- or third-hand.
    Read Caesar himself too, and his pal Cicero.

  2. Donna 16 January 2008 / 2:00 pm

    One of my faves in the fiction arena is Colleen McCullough’s “Masters of Rome” series. These are masssssive doorstoppers of books, filled with an astonishing level of historical detail. But a bloody good read. It starts off with Marius and Sulla fighting to be first man in Rome, moving through to Caesar and Pompey, and Caesar’s ascendance and fall. Book 7 in the series Antony and Cleopatra has recently been published.

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