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Vox Audita Perrit, Literra Scripta Manet....
The heard word is lost, the written letter remains...
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!

Current Mood: restless restless

3 comments or Leave a comment
moony_girl13 From: moony_girl13 Date: October 15th, 2006 02:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Speaking of 'Gladiator' -- did you hear that they're planning on making a sequel to it, but without any gladiatorial parts at all and focusing on having a politics-based plot? Plus somehow bringing Russell Crowe back? Yeah, I don't get it either.
thecoweyed From: thecoweyed Date: October 15th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
The bit that made Gladiator palatable to me was Derek Jacobi as the senator. Whenever things were going horribly wrong historically, you could just sit back and laugh 'cause, after all those years, and just at the point when the actual senate finally gave up trying to look like it had any control of the state whatsoever, Claudius was still trying to restore the republic.

Also, I was quite impressed that there was a movie out there with Maecenas in it at all... and I also thought the depiction of him was awesome. Prancing about in his greeky clothing, being all effeminate... with a cognomen like Maecenas, how manly can you be, anyway? Certainly not as manly as any proper Roman.

My favorite part of that film was that it actually showed (via Maecenas) the Augustan propaganda machine at work in some regards. The funniest part, of course, is that while, on the one hand, they show hints of Augustus' propaganda machine against Antony, on the other hand, they show Antony acting like a drunken horndog over in Egypt. In other words, the film both depicts and is a product of the Augustan propaganda machine at the same time. Which amused me muchly. :)

psyc2321 From: psyc2321 Date: October 16th, 2006 10:20 am (UTC) (Link)
One would hope that anything pretending to represent history would "rip off" historical sources? I do like the lamprey anecdote, though.
3 comments or Leave a comment