|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This episode sees Caesar arrive in Egypt in pursuit of Pompey He meets
the boy-king Ptolemy XIII and is shocked and disgusted when he is
presented with Pompey's severed head; Pompey may have been his enemy
but he was still a Roman leader and deserved the respect of his rank.
There is trouble brewing in Egypt as Ptolemy's sister Cleopatra is
claiming to be the rightful ruler; Caesar decides to use this to his
advantage and dispatches Vorenus and Pullo to find her. They get there
just in time for Pullo to save her from men sent by Ptolemy to kill
her. On the Journey back to Alexandria she orders Pullo to sleep with
her as she wants a child. Once in Alexandria she becomes Caesar's
lover. Ptolemy's advises are killed and those loyal to him lay siege to
the city. Meanwhile back in Rome Brutus and Cicero talk about what will
happen to them if Caesar doesn't get out of Alexandria and Mark Antony
were left in charge.
This is one of those episodes which people who aren't keen on Titus Pullo being at the centre of every important event will not like this not only does he save Cleopatra from certain death it is also strongly suggested that Caesar's son by her is actually Pullo's! Personally it didn't bother me as it has long been clear that this show is intertwining fiction and historical events. Lyndsey Marshal puts in a fine performance as a very seductive Cleopatra; I hope we'll be seeing more of her character. The regular cast continued to impress. The episode advanced the story in an enjoyable way; there were a few tense scenes, some humour and an impressive fight between Pullo and Cleopatra's attackers. Overall another fun episode.
Kitsalonica-1's version of Caesar's events in Egypt matches the version I remember reading from so-called historical documents. The fact Pullo fathered a child of Cleopatra is ludicrous. Cleopatra was in need of powerful friends at the time and she would have "saved" herself for an important man to father a child. As for being a virgin....probably not! The fictional characters are important to the story. Most Roman flicks only concentrate on well known historical figures and situations. Other people had lives and were affected by the actions of these historical figures. It is entertaining to witness the actions of other people in this TV show about Rome. Long live Rome!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Have to agree with the previous comment. While I have been enjoying the
series in a general "ooh look it's Classical Rome" way, it's
aggravating how much attention has been given to these two characters,
dragging them about to every important time and place in history like a
Roman Asterix and Obelix. Verenus and Pullo frankly shouldn't be in
every episode; I for one don't need to see the "common man" in order to
have a character with whom to identify. Robert Graves pulled off a
great stunt placing Claudius at the centre of his survey of Augustus to
Nero, but had the sense to admit when Claudius was nowhere near the
action. Perhaps the writers didn't feel they had as interesting a
narrator as Graves had found. All the same, rewriting history for
simplicity is the least of these writers' sins; rewriting it for comedy
is worse. I know that with episode 2, "How Titus Pullo Brought Down the
Republic," I saw what we were in for, a fictionalization of historical
events from the point of view of minor characters, and like I've
admitted, I don't like that in general. But this episode really jumped
the shark into Forrest Gump territory.
Moving on to another complaint: the silliest bit, and I include Pullo fathering Caesarion in this comparison, was the non-sequitur montage of Octavia and Servilia, who had nothing to do all episode, getting it on while Caesar beds Cleopatra and his camp is attacked. Perhaps a scene or two showing them sitting around eating grapes earlier in the episode might have prepared us for their sudden appearance? Perhaps that was cut for time, but the love scene was kept because, well, you know, topless women ...
This is as far as I have seen so far. I hope it gets better.
I had truly been looking forward to this episode because up until this
time I was still waiting to see a screen adaption of the story of
Caesar and Cleopatra that could stand up to the true story.
Unfortunately this turned out to be the worst version I've ever seen.
For some reason the producers, director and writer of the episode had
decided to turn the story of Caesar's time in Egypt into a parody.
First they decided to portray Cleopatra as how her enemies, Octavian,
Cicero, Virgil and Horace, would have wanted them to; misrepresenting
her as a self-indulgent, nymphomaniac addicted to what looked like
opium was a travesty. She was a brilliant woman: a warrior, politician,
scholar and a person who truly cared for the country she ruled.
Plutarch describes her as "her actual beauty, it is said, was not in
itself so remarkable that none could be compare with her", which I
think says she was still pleasing to the male eye. The worst insult was
going on to suggest that Titus Pullo fathered Caesarion! By Jupiter,
sacrilege! What were they thinking? To take a person who did exist and
fictionalize him, then have him be the cause of a particularly
important event in Roman history was ridiculous. Also at this time
opium was only being eaten or drunk; it wasn't being smoked on a pipe
until the 19th century A.D. Any idea they had that Caesar wasn't able
to father a son is also a lie his enemies spread around, supported
later by Octavian, who felt threatened by Caesarion. He did father a
daughter, Julia, and some think that Servilia bore him a daughter when
she was still married to Brutus' father. A historic claim says that a
man turned up in Octavian's Rome from Roman Gaul claiming to be
Caesar's son. Since the Roman general spent eight years there, he no
doubt had his mistress(es) who may have born him children. Witnesses
say that when Caesarion was older he bore a striking likeness to
Caesar, especially in his walk and movements. Note also that like
daughters of Egyptian Pharaohs, Cleopatra believed her mother the
goddess Isis; her father the god Amun. To her Caesar was probably
another form of Amun, and since he believed himself descended from the
goddess Venus, she thought him the man to father her child. At this
point in her life she was still virgin, having grown up in a palace
full of eunuchs. Everything that goes against this - the sets and
costumes also being so bizarre and ugly - just didn't hold a candle up
to what the real palace, Alexandria and Alexandrians were like; showing
none of the Greek influence on the diamond city of the ancient
Mediterranean. The other Egyptian historical figures were lampoon
caricatures of who they really were.
The widely accepted story goes like this:
Ptolemy Auletes left the throne to his eighteen year old daughter Cleopatra VI and his twelve year old son Ptolemy XIII. A couple of years later Ptolemy drove Cleopatra out with the support of their sister Arsinoe, and Egypt was governed by Ptolemy's eunuch guardian, Pothinus, and his tutor, Theodotus. In the desert Cleopatra gathered her own army and waited to pounce. Caesar arrived in Egypt in pursuit of Pompey in 48 B.C. with 4,000 men. After learning of Pompey's horrific demise, he set himself up in the royal palace and began to govern like a conqueror. He sent word he wished to meet Cleopatra, and with the help of her faithful servant Apollodorus, she was smuggled into the palace in a rug. She and Caesar became lovers that same night and Caesar, concerned that civil war in Egypt would upset Romes supply of grain, decided that Cleopatra and Ptolemy were to wed, as was common in Egyptian royalty, and rule together. Of course, shortly afterword's Ptolemy and his councilors fled Alexandria and began to raise a huge army to try to repulse Caesar's. The city was under siege for weeks and Caesar and his men fought in the street of Alexandria against Ptolemy and the Alexandrians. In the end Caesar was victor, Ptolemy having drowned when a boat he was in sank, and by this time Cleopatra was well into her pregnancy with Caesar's child. Cleopatra and Caesar then spent two months on a royal barge traveling the Nile River; no doubt a needed respite for the exhausted general. When Caesar returned to Alexandria he received word of trouble in Asia Minor and he took his army to quell it. Caesar had spent ten months in Egypt. A month after in left Cleopatra gave birth to a son she named Ptolemy, whom the Alexandrians nicknamed Caesarion - little Caesar. A year later Caesar sent for Cleopatra to come to Rome with their child to take part in his Triumph. He set her up in his private villa across the Tiber River, she and Caesarion remaining there for two years until Caesar's assassination. It should be mentioned that in front of a large audience of Roman nobles and senators Caesar recognized Caesarion as his son, giving him the name of Ptolemy Caesar.
That Caesar loved Cleopatra there is no doubt. What do you call a man's raising of a statue of Cleopatra in the Rome's Temple of Venus Genetrix but an act of love? As for Cleopatra? They were so much alike in personality and ambition, and he being such a powerful and confident man, I think she did. One writer has called Caesar "her lover, her father, her brother". So producers and directors, get with it and write a story that holds water next to the true story for once.
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