Both Cato and Scipio commit suicide at the beginning of this episode, hard to watch even though they’re very much portrayed as the “bad guys” here. It really drives home how, by Roman standards, they feel as though their honor is completely irredeemable after their defeat at the battle of Utica. Back in Rome, Caesar watches a satiric play of it all and does not seem amused. He has been, of course, thwarted in his ability to forgive Cato and Scipio (and by doing so humiliate them all the more), but also I suspect that he thinks this satiric take-down lessens his own glorious victory.
It’s interesting commentary on period Roman mores. Although modern people also don’t find much honor in defeat, we also have ideas about being a gracious loser and living to fight another day that would be a bit foreign to the Romans. Some of the largest amount of internal conflict we see is with Brutus, who is horrified at himself for having not killed himself, which he feels would have been more honorable than surrendering to and deferring to Caesar. His mother is clearly displeased with him as well, feeling that his actions shame his family name.
Cicero says something, either in this episode or maybe back a couple, about how he has to be more careful of his family name and keep it “polished up” more than Brutus needs do with his, as Cicero doesn’t come from as old and noble a family line as Brutus. Not disgracing the family name is more important than personal survival. A grim and sobering POV indeed!
- Why is marcus brutus important to roman history (wiki.answers.com)
- Rome: Season 1, Episode 8 – Caesarion (titarufiaprisca.wordpress.com)