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Rome Season One: History Makes Television

ISBN: 978-1-4443-0155-7
272 pages
March 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Rome Season One: History Makes Television (1444301551) cover image
In Julius Caesar's final years, the city of Rome is steeped in power, greed, betrayal, and political intrigue. Few periods of human history reverberate through popular culture in the twenty-first century like that of ancient Rome - especially the turbulent years leading up to Caesar's death in 44 BC. And rarely has this fascinating time been brought to life as vividly as in Rome, Season One, an award-winning joint production between HBO and the BBC. This wildly popular series is a richly layered drama chronicling life in ancient Rome during its violent transition from Republic to Empire - a time that had an enormous impact on world history.

Rome, Season One: History Makes Television is history-making in its own right. The first scholarly text to examine the series' inaugural season, it collects thought-provoking essays by some of the world's most influential - and cutting-edge - scholars in the fields of classical antiquity and popular culture. Focusing on the series' historical framework, visual and narrative style, thematic overtones, and influence on popular culture, the book also addresses the authenticity of the production and considers its place in the tradition of epic films about ancient Rome.

Erudite and highly entertaining, this volume is an invaluable resource for students and instructors alike in its thorough analysis and examination of one of the most compelling decades of Roman history.
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List of Illustrations.

Notes on Contributors.

Episode Guide.

Introduction (Monica S. Cyrino).

1 Televising Antiquity: From You Are There to Rome (Jon Solomon).

2 Making History in Rome: Ancient vs. Modern Perspectives (W. Jeffrey Tatum).

3 What I Learned as an Historical Consultant for Rome (Kristina Milnor).

4 Rome’s Opening Titles: Triumph, Spectacle and Desire (Holly Haynes).

5 The Fog of War: The Army in Rome (Lee L. Brice).

6 Caesar’s Soldiers: The Pietas of Vorenus & Pullo (Brian Cooke).

7 Becoming Augustus: The Education of Octavian (Barbara Weiden Boyd).

8 "Not Some Cheap Murder": Caesar’s Assassination (Alison Futrell).

9 Women’s Politics in the Streets of Rome (Antony Augoustakis).

10 Atia and the Erotics of Authority (Monica S. Cyrino).

11 Her First Roman: A Cleopatra for Rome (Gregory N. Daugherty).

12 Gowns and Gossip: Gender and Class Struggle in Rome (Margaret M. Toscano).

13 The Gender Gap: Religious Spaces in Rome (J. Mira Seo).

14 Staging Interiors in Rome's Villas (Alena Allen).

15 Latin in the Movies and Rome (Ward Briggs).

16 Spectacle of Sex: Bodies on Display in Rome (Stacie Raucci).

17 Vice is Nice: Rome and Deviant Sexuality (Anise K. Strong).



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Monica S. Cyrino is Professor of Classics at the University of New Mexico. She is the author of Big Screen Rome (Blackwell, 2005) and In Pandora’s Jar: Lovesickness in Early Greek Poetry (1995), and has appeared as an academic consultant on the television show History vs. Hollywood on The History Channel. Dr. Cyrino was awarded the American Philological Association’s national teaching award in classics (1998–1999).
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  • Examines the first season of the HBO-BBC collaboration, Rome, in a collection of 17 thought-provoking essays by some of the world’s most influential scholars in the fields of classical antiquity and popular culture
  • Focuses on the award-winning first season’s historical framework, visual and narrative style, contemporary thematic overtones, and influence on popular culture
  • Addresses the artistic values, and roles of the script, sets, and actors
  • Reveals how the series Rome ‘makes history’ in terms of representing the past on screen and producing innovative and influential television.
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"As with the series, there is likely to be something for everyone in this book (although both viewer and reader may want more)." (Zentralblatt Math, 2010)

"Due to the wide range of subject matter, nearly every serious fan of ancient Rome will find something that piques their interest, if not something they wish to share with their students. The clear prose of all the authors-there is no getting bogged down in excessive film criticism jargon-and the copious notes make this collection useful on its own or as a springboard for further investigations." (The Classical Outlook, Spring 2009)

“The superb scholarship that runs through these pages entertains and inspires. In addition to its value to classics students and scholars, this book is a major contribution to the growing literature in television and film studies.”
Robert J. Burgoyne, Wayne State University and author of The Hollywood Historical Film

“Monica Cyrino has put together a wonderful collection of short, well-focused essays, which offer the non-specialist reader a well-argued dialogue between the historical data – archaeological as well as literary – and the artistic, social, and political agenda implicit in the choices of the series’ creators. Running through all the essays is a provocative meditation on the contemporary constructions of ancient Rome.”
Peter Rose, Miami University

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