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Big Screen Rome

ISBN: 978-1-4051-1683-1
292 pages
December 2005, Wiley-Blackwell
Big Screen Rome (1405116838) cover image
Big Screen Rome is the first systematic survey of the most important and popular films from the past half century that reconstruct the image of Roman antiquity.

  • The first systematic survey of the most important and popular recent films about Roman antiquity.
  • Shows how cinema explores, reinvents and celebrates the spectacle of ancient Rome.
  • Films discussed in depth include Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator and Terry Jones’s Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
  • Contributes to discussions about the ongoing relevance of the classical world.
  • Shows how contemporary film-makers use recreations of ancient history as commentaries on contemporary society.
  • Structured in a way that makes it suitable for course use, and features issues for discussion and analysis, and reference to further bibliographic resources.
  • Written in an energetic and engaging style.
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List of Illustrations.

Acknowledgements.

Introduction.

Quo Vadis (1951).

The Robe (1953).

Ben-Hur (1959).

Spartacus (1960).

Cleopatra (1963).

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966).

Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979).

History of the World, Part I: Roman Empire sequence (1981).

Gladiator (2000).

Bibliography.

Index.

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Monica Silveira Cyrino is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of New Mexico. She is the author of In Pandora’s Jar: Lovesickness in Early Greek Poetry (1995) and a contributor to Martin Winkler’s Gladiator: Film and History (Blackwell Publishing, 2004). She has appeared as an academic consultant on the television show “History vs. Hollywood” on The History Channel. She was awarded the American Philological Association’s national teaching award in classics (1998-99).
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  • The first systematic survey of the most important and popular recent films about Roman antiquity.
  • Shows how cinema explores, reinvents and celebrates the spectacle of ancient Rome.
  • Films discussed in depth include Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator and Terry Jones’s Monty Python’s Life of Brian.
  • Contributes to discussions about the ongoing relevance of the classical world.
  • Shows how contemporary film-makers use recreations of ancient history as commentaries on contemporary society.
  • Structured in a way that makes it suitable for course use, and features issues for discussion and analysis, and reference to further bibliographic resources.
  • Written in an energetic and engaging style.
See More
"No other book on film and the classical world gives us what Big Screen Rome does: a complete format for an undergraduate course on ancient Rome in the cinema. In each well-organized and highly-readable chapter, Cyrino provides abundant information about the plots, characters, themes, actors, directors, production and reception of nine important films (from Quo Vadis to Gladiator). Each film is set against its ancient sources and background, with an interpretation and questions exploring the interplay between the ancient and modern worlds in regard to sex, religion, and politics. I look forward to using this entertaining and well-researched book in my university classroom." Margaret Toscano, University of Utah

"Monica Cyrino's Big Screen Rome is a very welcome addition to the few texts available for courses that use film in the teaching of ancient Roman culture and civilization. Her scholarly, highly readable, and well-structured treatment of nine key films on ancient Rome brings together all the information necessary for the understanding of these films and the historical period they cover."
Art L. Spisak, Southwest Missouri State University

Big Screen Rome provides students and teachers alike with the cinema studies details, the historical and cultural backstories and the critical interpretations which they both need to see and feel, through films, the connections between the ancient and the modern worlds. Professor Cyrino brings to this very personal selection of nine films the sensitivities of a devoted teacher, scholar and fan of the lavish historical epic.
Gregory N. Daugherty, Randolph-Macon College

“An enjoyable and informative book of interest and accessible to a wide readership … This book is indeed a data-rich resource for those of us engaged in using film to identify key and historically determined features in the post classical representation of Rome … Cyrino has a real sense of and sensitivity towards the many factors that combine to make these films significant in the portrayal of Rome on screen ... A stimulating companion on a number of counts to a traditionally structured pedagogical approach to Roman history.”
Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"In Big Screen Rome, classical historian Monica Silveira Cyrino combines her passions for Rome, cinema and the ancient world in a user-friendly and enjoyable manual focusing on nine well known films that use the site of ancient Rome to explore contemporary issues ... It differs from previous volumes on the ancient world and cinema in its textbook-like layout, making it easily accessible to students, teachers and general readers with an interest in history ... The book does a good job in demonstration how the values, rhetoric and politics of ancient Rome have persisted as Universally important models which offer useful analogies for the exploration of the nature of power and ideology in 20th century America."
Screening the Past

"A welcome and timely addition"
Scholia Reviews



"Big Screen Rome is written in a pleasant, jargon-free style and is immensely readable. This book should be required reading in any course dealing with images of Rome in modern film."
Robert J. Rabel, University of Kentucky, Classical Outlook

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