Elagabalus was married as many as five times, lavished favors on courtiers popularly assumed to have been his homosexual lovers, and was reported to have prostituted himself in the imperial palace. His reputed behavior infuriated the Praetorian Guard, the Senate and the common people alike.(Wikipedia)
Feuillade could have chosen a more famous emperor ,for this obscure one -who also despised Roman religion- looks like Nero or Caligula. It's Rome 218 AD,folks ,and the decadent emperor is having a good time with male and female courtiers taking part of an orgy.The emperor and the ladies' costumes seem more oriental than Roman.
First sequence:looks like a fashion show .
Second sequence: the grooming of the emperor: although the emperor seems to enjoy the ladies who keep him company ,he looks himself more like a woman .alas !someone scratches the emperor !"you deserve to die" ;in spite of the people who implore him ,he is delivered to the lions.
Third sequence :the lions pit;people have a wonderful time watching the lions' meal;De Mille will show the same sadism when he films his "sign of the cross"
Fourth sequence:the orgy (at last for that's what the audience was waiting for)binge,pagan dances and flowers showering down:lovely.No sleeping around.Alas ,the lions spoil the party.
Fifth sequence:the assassination:the courtesans decide to put an end to this shameful reign.Down on his knees,the king tries to save his life ,crying for mercy;contrast between the effeminate sovereign and the virile brutal guards .
Thus died Elagabalus.
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