Monday, July 09, 2007
Rome messes up Cicero's murder
The second series of Rome (BBC2) is a lot better than the first - what a pity there won't be a third. But even then they mess up - this time the murder of Cicero. According to Rome he was put to the sword in his garden by a Geordie-sounding soldier who feasted on the orator's peaches beforehand.
Yet the reality was far more dramatic and interesting. If you combine certain ancient sources (such as Plutarch, Suetonius, Cassius Dio) you have this scenario: old toga'd beardie in his litter is rushing to catch a ship to Macedonia. Roman soldiers catch up with him and chop off his head but not before he says, languidly in my view: "There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly." Very George Sanders, isn't it? Should "do" be italicised? Later, Mark Antony's bitch wife Fulvia revenges herself on Cicero's sharp, dead tongue by piercing it with golden hairpins. Rome missed out there.