Rome: Season 1, Episode 8– Caesarion

Caesarion, named after Cleopatra’s son Caesarion, supposedly the natural son of Iulius Caesar, is set, of course, in Alexandrian Egypt. I rewatched this also with the audio commentary, and the director explained a bit about the sets and costumes. Basically they wanted an Egypt that didn’t look like any previous film-Egypt, and one that looked very alien next to the Romans.  I suppose they succeeded, though the Egyptians were very disappointing after how much attention was lavished on making Rome and the Romans look authentic and yet livable with.

Caesar seems obsessed with avenging Pompey’s death.  The later cremation of Pompey’s head scene, while dramatic, didn’t seem very special religiously. I couldn’t quite make out what Caesar was saying in his prayer. Caesar did cover his head at the funeral pyre, though, a nice touch in an otherwise “meh” sort of episode.

Vorenus seems racked by guilt over having been used as an instrument of the fickle finger of fate on Pompey.  He did something sentimental and that he thought was the right thing to do, even going against the tyrants he sold himself to in order to accomplish it, and is rewarded by being used as an instrument to send Pompey, the last relic of the Republic Vorenus loved and served, to his doom. I’m not sure what the storytellers meant with all of that, so for now I’m taking it as an object lesson for Vorenus– once you cast your lot by solemn oath with one side or the other, you’re pretty much stuck with them.

Brutus says at one point to Cicero: “I write very bad poetry through the night, and in the morning I give it to the cook to stoke the kitchen fires. It’s a form of magic; my ill conscience is transformed into roast birds and pastries.” He is, I think, joking but it’s an interesting idea.

Not a lot of religion to contemplate in this episode, beyond the obvious and shallow portrayls of Ptolemy and Cleopatra as children of the gods.


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