I have been rewatching season 1 of Rome with my girlfriend.  Rather than actually paying attention to the plot (Spoiler alert: Caesar dies!), I’ve been noticing the continuous presence of fowl in the city. There are chickens wandering around all over the place, which is to some degree nonsensical. As an avid devotee of the Backyard Chicken party, I know that raising chickens in urbanity necessitates fencing and caging. Free range is generally confined to rural areas. Free range chickens in a city are generally, eaten, stolen, or killed by evil canines.  Really, what is occurring here is a specific (and I contend deliberate) reference to a fowl chapter in Roman history.

During the Civil War between Pompey and Caesar, for a brief moment of time the chickens took over Rome. A rogue coalition of Leghorns and Fayum chickens briefly put aside their differences and took the government of the city upon themselves, in light of the failure of human governance. As Caesar reports in the Civil War (5.4) multi, multi galli in urbe sunt. I think we can extrapolate from this that the chickens presented a viable third party between the Caesarians and Pompeians. There is even some evidence that they may have aligned with Milo and Caelius. Sadly, the chicken republic had little future. Caesarian cavalry was too scary for these brave galli, who proved a bit too chicken to defend their ill gotten gains.

And now, some pictures of Plymouth Barred Rocks