As I mentioned earlier, I’m quite the history fan, and I just felt that I could recommend, for those who have not yet seen it, HBO’s “Rome”.
“Rome” is mainly the brainchild mainly of Bruno Heller, whose work also includes the recent “Mentalist” series. However “Rome” is quite different from that crime drama-it’s more a historical dramatization. It’s main focus is on the collapse of the Roman Republic, and the beginnings of it’s Empire, roughly half a century before the birth of Christ. Here, we see Julias Caeser (Ciaran Hinds) start his civil war with Pompey (Kenneth Cranham) and the various plottings of Caeser’s relatives, one of whom, Octavian (William R. Pirkis) is destined to become the Emperor Augustus. Also involved in the political and civil unrest are Caeser’s second-in-command Mark Antony, The philospher/senator Cicero, Republican Cato, Troubled Brutus and of course Queen of Grecian Egypt, Cleopatra.
But “Rome’s” main strength comes from it’s two leads, who while not important to actual history as the above, are two soldiers, Lucius Vorenis (Kevin Mckidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson). Originally part of the 13th Legion, we see the lives of these two unlikely friends-one a honorable yet insecure officer, the other hedionistic and quick to anger-develop through the shift in power in Rome. The only issue with the series is that they often are too involved in history-often their actions shift the course of events on a massive scale. Indeed, the second episode is called “How Titus Pullo brought down the Republic”.
Granted, the history of the series isn’t perfect-characters are often potrayed as more sinister or diabotical than they were in real life, and certain other artistic freedoms are taken, although not as freely as Gladiator, 300, or the Spartacus Blood and Sand series (The last of which I’ve only seen a bit of). Nevertheless, any fan of history or sword-and-sandal action/drama should check this series out.