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The Fall of the Roman Empire: Film and History

ISBN: 978-1-4051-8223-2
352 pages
April 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
The Fall of the Roman Empire: Film and History (1405182237) cover image
The essays collected in this book present the first comprehensive appreciation of The Fall of the Roman Empire from historical, historiographical, and cinematic perspectives. The book also provides the principal classical sources on the period. It is a companion to Gladiator: Film and History (Blackwell, 2004) and Spartacus: Film and History (Blackwell, 2007) and completes a triad of scholarly studies on Hollywood’s greatest films about Roman history.
  • A critical re-evaluation of the 1964 epic film The Fall of the Roman Empire, directed by Anthony Mann, from historical, film-historical, and contemporary points of view
  • Presents a collection of scholarly essays and classical sources on the period of Roman history that ancient and modern historians have considered to be the turning point toward the eventual fall of Rome
  • Contains a short essay by director Anthony Mann
  • Includes a map of the Roman Empire and film stills, as well as translations of the principal ancient sources, an extensive bibliography, and a chronology of events
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List of Illustrations vii

Notes on Contributors ix

Editor's Preface xii

1. A Critical Appreciation of The Fall of the Roman Empire 1
Martin M. Winkler

2. History, Ancient and Modern, in The Fall of the Roman Empire 51
Allen M. Ward

3. Marcus Aurelius: The Empire Over Himself 89
Diskin Clay

4. Was Commodus Really That Bad? 102
Eleonora Cavallini

5. East and West in The Fall of the Roman Empire 117
Jan Willem Drijvers

6. Empire Demolition 130
Anthony Mann

7. Excerpts from the American Souvenir Program of The Fall of the Roman Empire 136

1. A Prologue by Will Durant 137

2. The Roman Forum: In Ruins Today . . . and Re-Created 139

3. An Epilogue 143

8. Edward Gibbon and The Fall of the Roman Empire 145
Martin M. Winkler

9. Fact, Fiction, and the Feeling of History 174
Martin M. Winkler

10. Peace and Power in The Fall of the Roman Empire 225
Ward W. Briggs, Jr.

11. The Politics of The Fall of the Roman Empire 241
Peter W. Rose

12. Excerpts from Edward Gibbon 262

1. Marcus Aurelius and His Time 262

2. The Auction of the Empire 266

The Chief Ancient Sources on Marcus Aurelius 271

1. Cassius Dio 271

2. The Augustan History: Marcus Antoninus the Philosopher 282

3. Herodian 298

Chronology: The Roman Empire at the Time of Marcus Aurelius 302

Bibliography 305

Index 327

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Martin M. Winkler is Professor of Classics at George Mason University. He is the editor of Gladiator (Blackwell, 2004), Spartacus (Blackwell, 2007) and Troy (Blackwell, 2006) and the author of The Roman Salute (2009) and Cinema and Classical Texts (2009). He has also published numerous articles on Roman literature and filmic retellings of classical and medieval history and myth.
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  • A critical re-evaluation of the 1964 epic film The Fall of the Roman Empire, directed by Anthony Mann, from historical, film-historical, and contemporary points of view

  • Presents a collection of scholarly essays and classical sources on the period of Roman history that ancient and modern historians have considered to be the turning point toward the eventual fall of Rome

  • Contains a short essay by director Anthony Mann

  • Includes a map of the Roman Empire and film stills, as well as translations of the principal ancient sources, an extensive bibliography, and a chronology of events
See More
"Useful perspectives and controversial points of discussion." (Scholia Reviews, 2009)

“A comprehensive treatment of an underappreciated film from a variety of critical perspectives” (Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 2010)

“After reading the book, I reviewed The Fall of the Roman Empire, this time better informed about the director, the history (Roman and cinematic), the political and social issues of the day, details about production, comparison with contemporary and later films, and much more. Viewing the film from this expansive vantage point made for a rich experience.”
(Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, July 2011)

"Martin Winkler has assembled a collection of vigorous and highly readable essays by noted classicists and film scholars featuring topics from the representation of Roman history onscreen to the contemporary extra-cinematic discourse about Mann’s film. This volume offers a compelling and much-needed critical re-evaluation of one of the most controversial epic films ever made."
--Monica S. Cyrino, University of New Mexico and the author of Big Screen Rome

"Winkler's expertise and enthusiasm shape an illuminating and accessible collection of source materials, documents and essays on the 1960s film that helped put ancient Rome back into cinemas in the 21st century."
--Maria Wyke, University College London

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