Tag Archives: Ancient Rome

Ancient World Movies in 2015 & Beyond

Posted on 20. Jan, 2015 by in Roman culture

Hello Everyone,

It’s that time of the year again….MOVIES! Here is a list of ancient movies of Roman, Egyptian, Greek and Biblical backgrounds.

Title:#1 DRAGON BLADE

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Time Period: Han dynasty (206-220 CE) 

Plot: Action packed film filled with lost prisoners (Roman and Chinese) trying to navigate their way through China.

Popular Players: Jackie Chan, Adrien Brody, John Cusack and more!

Release Date: February 18, 2015 in China; No USA date release.

 

Title #2: THE LOST LEGION

Europe in 476, from Muir's Historical Atlas (1911). Courtest of Wikicommons.

Europe in 476, from Muir’s Historical Atlas (1911). Courtest of Wikicommons.

Time Period: Shortly after the Fall of the Roman Empire; 476 CE 

Plot: It promises “sex, corruption, betrayal and the final death throws [sic] of a once powerful empire. Where enemies become allies, allies become pawns and one man’s struggle to survive is the last chance for a new Rome.” According to IMDB, the plot is “following the fall of the Roman Empire, a Roman woman plots to make her son the new Emperor and to fulfill the former glory of the city.”

Popular Players: Tom McKay, Michelle Lukes, etc.

Release Date: January 20, 2015 with a spin-off TV series.

 

Title#3: SINBAD THE FIFTH VOYAGE

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Time Period: Mythical Story by c.1st Century CE.

Plot: According to IMBD, the plot is “When the Sultan’s first born is taken by an evil sorcerer, Sinbad is tasked with traveling to a desert of magic and creatures to save her.”

Popular Players: Narrated by Sir Patrick Stewart

Release Date: Streaming began in 2014; DVD February 3, 2015.

 

Title #4: Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar Bust. Courtesy WikiCommons.

Julius Caesar Bust. Courtesy WikiCommons.

Time Period: 44 BCE

Plot: A chilling film adaptation of Shakespeare’s shocking tale of ambition, betrayal, murder and… the supernatural.

Popular Players: Sean Bean as Caesar (retracted), Mackenize Crook, John Bradley, Tom-Weston Jones, etc.

Release Date: 2015

Title #5: THE ARK

Noah's Ark (1846), a painting by the American folk painter Edward Hicks. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Noah’s Ark (1846), a painting by the American folk painter Edward Hicks. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Time Period: 2700 BC (if approximately around Gilgamesh time period)

Plot: A retelling of the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark.

Popular Players: David Threlfall as Noah

Release Date: 2015

5. THE ARK

The Ark projected for broadcast on BBC in 2015. The weirdly charismatic David Threlfall will play Noah in this biblical retelling.

Title #6: THE REDEMPTION OF CAIN (previously titled: Legend of Cain)

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Time Period: Biblical Time Period (debatable dates)

Plot: “Redemption of Cain is a re-imagining of the Biblical brother tale of Cain and Abel – with “a vampiric twist.” 

Popular Players: Will Smith (Directing Debut)

Release Date: SUMMER 2015

 

Title #7: Gods of Egypt

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Time Period: Ancient Egypt

Plot: A common thief joins a mythical god on a quest through Egypt.

Popular Players: Nikolaj Coster-Walkdau, Gerald Butler, Geoffrey Rush, Rufus Sewell, etc.

Release Date: 2016

 

Title#8: THE MUMMY REBOOT

Theatrical release poster. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Theatrical release poster. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Time Period: UNDETERMINED

Plot: “We’re reaching into the deep roots of The Mummy, which at its beating heart is a horror movie and then an action movie, and putting it into a context that is real and emotional. It’s still a four quadrant film but as a lot of recent movies have proven, audiences are hungry for more than they used to be. You can still have a family movie, an action movie that’s more grounded than these used to be. Without saying too much, we’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from Michael Crichton’s books, and how he ground fantastical sales in modern-day science.”

Popular Players: Len Wiseman (director of Underworld Trilogy fame).

Release Date: 2016

 

Title #9: Jason and the Argonauts: Kingdom of Hades

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Time Period: Mythical Time Period of Archaic Greece

Plot:  It based on the graphic novel of the same name, which follows the fortunes of the Argonauts after the quest for the Golden Fleece—essentially a sequel to the 1963 movie Jason and the Argonauts.See a preview of the graphic novel-here

Popular Players: TBD

Time Release: 2016

Title#10:BE-HUR REBOOT

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Time Period: 1st Century CE

Plot: It is based on the classic novel about a wealthy Jew who falls from grace, then finds another kind of grace thanks to Jesus, with slavery, sea battles and chariot races along the way.

Popular Players: Timur Bekmambetov (director of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), Roman Downey and Mark Burnett (The Bible miniseries).

Release Date: 2016

UPDATES

HANNIBAL

Vin Diesel long ago announced his intention to make his directorial debut and star as “Hannibal the Conqueror.” However, there has been a long silence on this project. In April 2014, Vin announced that the project was back in pre-production, and credited his friend and co-star the late Paul Walker for inspiring him to get the project back on track. “He would always say, ‘You need to do Hannibal. It will be your life’s work.’ Vin also indicated his intention to expand the project into a trilogy. “We must go further back in time, to grasp the magnitude and relevance of this underserved historic character. The first film in this trilogy will do just that, by introducing us to an even more obscured yet extremely pivotal character, Hannibal’s father.”

 

Star Wars & Ancient Rome

Posted on 31. Dec, 2014 by in Roman culture

Salvete Omnes,

Star Wars Collage. Courtesy of Flickr.

Star Wars Collage. Courtesy of Flickr.

So over the last week of November, there was the trailer release of Episode VII of the Star Wars series. For those of you who have been living under a rock, here is the trailer:

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For any fans, one can actually see that there are several parallels between Star Wars and Ancient Rome. I have prepared to list quite a few of them. Please note that I am not going to address the extended lore (video games, literature, tv shows), but all the points I address are made and seen within Star Wars: Episodes I-VI.

1.Politics & Political Figures: Republics, Empires, Dictators, & More.

If one would to consider Ancient Rome, one would know that prior to the Empire (ruled by the Caesars) it was a Republic (consuls and co-consuls). In Star Wars, the Galactic was known as the Galactic Republic or the Old Republic and eventually became the Empire ruled by the Emperor.

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Both Julius Caesar and Senator Palatine were in their position much longer than they were supposed to be. They were given extended rule and power for the sake of the safety of the Republic.

Emperor or Palpatine from Stars Wars.  Courtesy of Flickr & TaymTaym.

Emperor or Palpatine from Stars Wars.
Courtesy of Flickr & TaymTaym.

However, they were both seized with either ambition or vanity and continued to pursue more power and a higher title. Both Palpatine and Julius Caesar were betrayed by someone they trusted, and were killed. (Brutus and Vader).

Bust of Julius Caesar. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Bust of Julius Caesar. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Another similarity between the Roman Empire and the Star Wars movies is the way that the two became Empires. They were both Republics, and both civilizations had a strong amount of confidence that the Republic would exist forever, in both Star War’s Galactic, and in Ancient Rome. In both civilizations there was a series of wars fueled by the Republic’s desire to conquer and expand. In the history of Ancient Rome, these wars were primarily the Punic Wars with Carthage. In Star Wars’ lore, there were a series of different wars namely The Old Sith Wars, the New Sith Wars, and The Clone Wars.

 

2. Games & Entertainment: Racing, Fighting, & More

The Star Wars franchise has two distinct scene that resonate with Ancient Rome: The Circus Maximus and the Colosseum. This first scene shows the pod racing clip from Episode I.

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This reminds me of the Ben Hur racing scence that takes place in the Circus Maximus. While, the other scene takes place in an alien Colosseum:

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3. Architecture

There are countless scenes in Stars Wars that are reminiscent of Ancient Roman scenery, architecture, etc.

The two prime examples would have to be Naboo’s governmental buildings and the Pantheon AND the Jedi Temple and Ancient Egyptian. I draw the Egyptian comparison only the light that Ancient Rome and Egypt had close ties during the Empire.

Naboo reconstruction. Courtesy of Flickr.

Naboo reconstruction. Courtesy of Flickr.

 

An 1835 view of the Pantheon by Rudolf von Alt, showing twin bell towers, often misattributed to Bernini. Courtesy of Wikicommons.

An 1835 view of the Pantheon by Rudolf von Alt, showing twin bell towers, often misattributed to Bernini. Courtesy of Wikicommons.

If one were to look at the building and structure of the Jedi Temple in comparison to some Ancient Egyptian architecture.

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Do you see similarities? Well I did.

Djeser-Djeseru is the main building of Hatshepsut's mortuary temple. Courtesy of Wikicommons.

Djeser-Djeseru is the main building of Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple. Courtesy of Wikicommons.

 

I do look forward to anyone’s parallels they can bring to this conversation.

Disney Mythology vs. Greco-Roman Mythology: Part I

Posted on 19. Nov, 2014 by in Roman culture

Salvete Omnes,

With the many of you learning Latin and the Roman culture; I believe it is important to observe how antiquity permeates through modern media. So today I propose we observe the role of mythology, mythic characters and items within Disney films and series.

Walt Disney World. Courtesy of Flickr & Dawn Ashely.

Walt Disney World. Courtesy of Flickr & Dawn Ashely.

#1. Character or Item FEMALE CENTAURS OR KENTAURIDES

Film or Series: Fantasia; 1940 & The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe; 2005

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Commentary: Female Centaurs are not really discussed at length within modern or even ancient mythology. When recalling recent films with centaurs (Harry Potter, Step- Brothers, Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief), the centaurs are male.  However that small amount of mythology which is discussed by ancient sources does reflect the imagery that Disney produces in these films (i.e.- beauty consumed creatures, but nobly warlike when they need to be).

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Disney Mythology: Within Fantasia ( the video above) is from the chapter known as “The Pastoral Symphony” by Beethoven. The setting is a mythical world of centaurs, cupids, fauns and other figures from classical mythology. A gathering for a festival to honor Bacchus (Dionysus), the god of wine, is interrupted by Jupiter (Zeus), who creates a storm and throws lightning bolts at the attendees. The mythology of centaurs present in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is that of C.S Lewis’ mythology (here)and not necessarily of Disney.

Greco-Roman Mythology: Though female centaurs, called Kentaurides, are not mentioned in early Greek literature and art, they do appear occasionally in later antiquity. A Macedonian mosaic of the 4th century BC is one of the earliest examples of the Centauress in art.

Female centaurs flanking Venus (Mosaic from Roman Tunisia, 2nd century AD).Courtesy of WikiCommons & GiorcesBardo55 .

Female centaurs flanking Venus (Mosaic from Roman Tunisia, 2nd century AD).Courtesy of WikiCommons & GiorcesBardo55 .

Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”  also mentions a Kentaurides named Hylonome who committed suicide when her husband Cyllarus was killed in the war with the Lapiths:

“In the high woods there was none comelier of all the centaur-girls, and she alone by love and love’s sweet words and winning ways held Cyllarus, yes, and the care she took to look her best (so far as that may be with limbs like that). She combed her glossy hair, and twined her curls in turn with rosemary or violets or roses, and sometimes she wore a pure white lily. Twice a day she bathed her face in the clear brook that fell from Pagasae’s high forest, twice she plunged her body in its flow, nor would she wear on her left side and shoulder any skin but what became her from best-chosen beasts.

#2. Character or Item: KING TRITON or TRITON

Film or Series: The Little Mermaid; 1989

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King Triton added to Ariel's Undersea Adventure Building at Disneyland. Courtesy of Flickr and Loren Javier.

King Triton added to Ariel’s Undersea Adventure Building at Disneyland. Courtesy of Flickr and Loren Javier.

Commentary: King Triton often confused with Neptune (Poseidon) due to this Disney portrayal. Neptune is the king of the seas, but Triton is actually a son of  Neptune. Ariel does not exist in any mythology.

Disney Mythology: King Triton is king of the sea and has a triton. He is a widower with seven daughter including Ariel who is the protagonist of the featured film “The Little Mermaid.” The film is based upon the Hans Christen Anderson’s fairy tale which is simply called “The Little Mermaid” and the stories are almost identical except for a few details: she has no name (simply known as the Little Mermaid), her legs hurt with excoriating pain, her prince does fall in love with her (but marries someone else), heartbroken she is given the choice to kill the prince (a become a mermaid again) or not, and lastly she throws herself into the sea unable to kill the prince and becomes foam and then an air spirit.

The Triton Fountain, by Gianlorenzo Bernini, Rome.Courtesy of Wikicommons & Tritonbrunnen rom.

The Triton Fountain, by Gianlorenzo Bernini, Rome.Courtesy of Wikicommons & Tritonbrunnen rom.

Greco-Roman Mythology:  He is usually represented as a merman, having the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish, “sea-hued”, according to Ovid “his shoulders barnacled with sea-shells.  According to Hesiod, Triton dwelt with his parents in a golden palace in the depths of the sea. He is said to have had one daughter , Pallas, who was killed by Minerva (Athena), who was a foster daughter or ward to him, in an innocent friendly fight.

Pausanias describes Triton(s) (the children and class of mermen/mermaids) as the following:

On their heads they grow hair like that of marsh frogs not only in color, but also in the impossibility of separating one hair from another. The rest of their body is rough with fine scales just as is the shark. Under their ears they have gills and a man’s nose; but the mouth is broader and the teeth are those of a beast. Their eyes seem to me blue, and they have hands, fingers, and nails like the shells of the murex. Under the breast and belly is a tail like a dolphin’s instead of feet

#3. Characters or Item PANTHEON of GODS

Film or Series: Hercules; 1997

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Commentary: While the names of the Gods are from the Greek Mythology; Hercules is the Romanized version of Herakles. Furthermore, Mount Olympus would rarely house all the gods at one time for the birth of a god. There is no record of this ever taking place within mythology. Lastly, the entire film is based upon Hercules seeking to be a hero to regain his “godhood;” when in fact Hercules was never a god. He was also a demi-god and Hera was not his mother let alone loving towards him at all!

Courtesy of GraphJam.com

Courtesy of GraphJam.com

Disney Mythology: The birth day celebration of Hercules the god, who is the son of Juno (Hera) and Jupiter or Jove (Zeus). It features Neptune (Poseidon), Minerva (Athena), Jupiter (Zeus), Jove (Hera), Mars (Ares), Venus (Aphrodite), Vulcan (Hephaestus), Mercury (Hermes), Diana (Artemis), Bacchus (Dionysus), Sol (Helios), and more! The scene is filled with gods who are too obscure to see or who shouldn’t be considered a “god” (like Narcissus).

Fragment of a Hellenistic relief (1st century BC – 1st century AD) depicting the Twelve Olympians carrying their attributes in procession; from left to right, Hestia (scepter), Hermes (winged cap and staff), Aphrodite (veiled), Ares (helmet and spear), Demeter (scepter and wheat sheaf), Hephaestus (staff), Hera (scepter), Poseidon (trident), Athena (owl and helmet), Zeus (thunderbolt and staff), Artemis (bow and quiver), Apollo (lyre), from the Walters Art Museum. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Fragment of a Hellenistic relief (1st century BC – 1st century AD) depicting the Twelve Olympians carrying their attributes in procession; from left to right, Hestia (scepter), Hermes (winged cap and staff), Aphrodite (veiled), Ares (helmet and spear), Demeter (scepter and wheat sheaf), Hephaestus (staff), Hera (scepter), Poseidon (trident), Athena (owl and helmet), Zeus (thunderbolt and staff), Artemis (bow and quiver), Apollo (lyre), from the Walters Art Museum. Courtesy of WikiCommons.

Greco-Roman Mythology: The gods would rarely been seen together, but the 12 Olympians would be seen as the hierchacial gods that would reign from Mount Olympus. The gods were known for fighting with another, taking sides in the affairs of mortals, and hardly being cordial or nice unless you were Jupiter or Jove (i.e. King of the Gods!). For more information on stories of the Greco-Roman Gods; check it out here.

#4. Characters or Items: MYTHOLOGICAL CROSSOVER

Films or Series: The Little Mermaid; 1989 & Hercules;1997

Courtesy of WDWMAGIC.COM & Allyinwonderland.

Courtesy of WDWMAGIC.COM & Allyinwonderland.

Commentary: This connection between Disney and Greco-Roman mythology was included merely for fun and humorous sake. Since Ariel is not a “real” or “true” mythological character- most of this means nothing.

Disney Mythology: The world of Disney (in films) does not remark of this correlation other than “memes” that fans have figured out and one conversation reported with two Disney actors:

Courtesy of Evergreenring.

Courtesy of Evergreenring.

Courtesy of Pinterest of Thalia Grace.

Courtesy of Pinterest of Thalia Grace.

Greco-Roman Mythology: According to Greek mythology, Ariel’s father, Triton, is the son of Poseidon, which would make the sea god Ariel’s grandfather. Poseidon’s brother Zeus is the father of Hercules, so Herc and Triton are first cousins. The child of your first cousin is your first cousin once removed, therefore Hercules and Ariel are first cousins once removed.

If this is still causing issues in the respect to “your mind is blown;” I have provided a helpful image of a family tree illustrating this (here). However, since Ariel does NOT exist then perhaps it is better said that King Triton and Hercules are related.

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I do hope you enjoyed this! I have more similarities next week! Some of them are super obvious and others are bit harder to discern! Have an awesome weekend!