Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Spartacus remake follows history more closely than original

Sunday and Monday, USA Networks broadcast their remake of "Spartacus". I must admit that the remake was much more true to history in many respects than the Kirk Douglas version. I wondered if they would include the incident where Spartacus crucified a Roman soldier in view of the Romans to display his own ruthlessness and determination and by golly, they did! They also showed Spartacus as a somewhat hesitant leader and correctly portrayed the conflict between him and Crixus. Crixus also broke away with his Gauls and was slaughtered by the Romans as really occurred in history. I'm afraid the actor playing Spartacus just didn't have the intensity of Kirk Douglas though.

There was no hint of homosexuality in Crassus (although I questioned the proliferation of beards - including Crassus). The Romans did not use stirrups (you see Crassus jumping down from his mount without their aid). I did wonder about the Roman uniforms, though, as the legionaries wore leggings which I thought was not adopted until after Caesar invaded Gaul. They also included the conflict between Crassus and Pompey and how Pompey tried to claim the victory over Spartacus for himself. In a brief scene in front of the senate, we also see Julius Caesar acting as the "mediator" to reconcile Crassus and Pompey with a joint consulship and the "pregnant" looks between a smug Caesar and the old senator attempting to manipulate events to his own advantage.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Killer Queens New Series on The History Channel

In the first of this new six part series about famous women rulers, presenter Rory McGrath takes us on an entertaining and bloody romp through the Boudiccan revolt against the Romans. We learn how the defiant Iceni Queen was flogged by the Romans and her daughters raped and how in turn this led to her vengeful massacre of the entire Roman population of Colchester. Continues next week as Boudicca takes on the whole Roman Army.