October 15th, 2006

The Egyptologist

(no subject)

That Augustus telemovie on SBS just totally ripped off an anecdote from Cassius Dio about Augustus. Recorded in Dio's Roman History, Augustus was once the guest of Vedius Pollio, a nobleman who was known for torturing his servants and being a general sadist.

So, at this dinner party where Augustus is a guest, one of Pollio's slaves breaks a crystal goblet. Pollio is naturally furious, and orders the slave to be thrown into his tank of lampreys (which he kept for the purpose of killing bad slaves). The slave begs mercy from Augustus, who seems rather taken aback by such a punishment. Augustus then orders all of Pollio's glassware be brought out, and has it all smashed. Pollio understandably is confused and mightily pissed off by this, because he can't punish Augustus for doing what a slave did. And so the slave is saved from death. At least, for the time being.

However, this wasn't what happened in the telemovie. In that, they just twisted the whole thing around until the only bit remaining was the slave smashing the cup and Augustus doing the same thing. Meh.

Funny thing is, Gladiator was on last night. And as much as I hate that film (*insert grumbling about historical inaccuracies and Russell Crowe here*), it's certainly better made than this film. Like Troy, Peter O'Toole is the only saving grace for this, even if he is saddled with a lot of terrible lines. And for some reason, the writers assumed that Maecenas, being Augustus' patron of the arts, was a bitchy queen who seemed like more of a gossip columnist than an important and influential figure in the Augustan age. Bah!
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