Rome: Season 3
November 15, 2007
While some may indeed wonder why it is that a man of my position, nature, station, and general eloquence and elocution, may ask why it is that I, a rhetor of the first order, master of the written and spoken word, one who flies above all others, being born upon the wings of a classical education, would deem to speak about something so lowly and plebian as a show on television, there is indeed a reason. It is not a reason of the higher sort, nor of an inspiring sort, this is no Philippic, no brandished rhetorical sword from which you may cleverly abridge and dip into the blood of your enemies, nay this is merely a speech of the basest nature. For I, while great and noble, must obey the dictates of the Caesarian Daily Salad, and must speak in praise of land reforms, of bad consulships and of base tv shows. And all of this a sword has compelled me to do, for although the pen is mightier in creating a work that may be a possession for all time, the sword is of a much better sort in respect to extracting blog posts from the unwilling. Indeed, even my rhetorical high style must be surrendered as I attempt to pass through the eye of the needle which is HBO journalism.
1) The year 69, the historic year of four emperors. It begin with some Nero prequel where he forces everyone to commit suicide and kills a lot of Christians, with Mel Gibson as the commander of the Praetorian guard. Then it would revolve around the entirely insiginificant Jewish characters of Josephus Flavius and the fictional Yohannan Ben Zakkai who seek to twist the Roman empire to their own visions of a Jewish commonwealth on the proviso that every scene was full of tits.
2) The Punic wars, probably beginning around 221. Hannibal could also moonlight as a neurotic serial killer played by Anthony Hopkins, so as to ease the tensions in the modern viewer, the infamous Fabius Cunctor could be played by a computer animated fat Marlon Brando, and the villainous Philip V, in a nod to a lesser known contemporary of Polybius would be a cross dressing Glenn Close. While no battles would actually be shown, the entire season would have to collapse in a tempestous love affair between Scipio almost Africanus, played by Ryan Gosling, and Hannibal, at Zama.
3) Set in a fictional parallel, Cicero decides to raise an army after the death of Caesar by means of his oratory. He invents heavy cavalry and the stirrup, by which he is able to enforce his idealized oligarchy upon the Roman people. After crushing Antony in the south, using only senators and equites, he is elected consul. When Octavian joins with Brutus and Cassius in an attempt to crush this new superpower, he gets into Greece first, as all three are attempting to land there. His war leader, the otherwise temperate Atticus, is played by Gerard Butler, who goes on to massacre the reputation of this otherwise entirely reputable historical figure. Cicero after a giant battle fought at Thermopylae, Marathon, and Platea, saves the Republic, but is poisoned by chickpeas after returning to Rome and crucifying Octavian.