BBC’s ‘Ancient Rome’

While I’ve usually been a fan of historical documentaries, a recent try at BBC’s Ancient Rome series proved to me that these creatures can be deadly to sanity.

So, as a person who is relatively well versed in history, I would rather advise to stay away from the genre, or at the very least from this specific series.

Maybe it would not have been *that* bad if nearly every person who was commented on didn’t just freak out and start yelling at everyone in the room. It quite left the impression that everyone in leading positions for the 550-odd years covered by the series might have had a tad problem with the concepts of patience and listening to advice. Which, maybe they did… but I seriously doubt that.

Leaving that “small” issue aside (after the second, of six, episodes, I was dreading any scenes in command tents just because some officer was bound to say something which made the commanding officer yell at everyone about “Rome/duty/his-own-awesome-ass-that-needs-no-advice”) it might be considered passable. Although the directors certainly did not choose the best episodes, or maybe, the best ways of depicting said episodes to create some sort of a link going through the entire series, the one saving quality might be that most of the actual history seemed intact.

I had the important quantifier “most” there, for there certainly were a few quips I had. Say, not mentioning the double-fortifications that Julius Caesar built at Alesia (I mean, why else even mention the damned battle), insisting that Carthage was salted (which I believed to be a refuted myth that sprung up sometime after the actual events but well refuted by modern historiography due to several reasons, the least of which not being the price of salt and the fact that the settlement intended to be the harbour for North Africa reverted back to Carthage sometime soon after that moment due to the unstable silting conditions in the new place), and other smaller issues. As on insisting calling everyone “Emperor”. Well… could possibly grant them that, but I am not feeling inclined for that.

For some reason it just seems to me that the directors considered all of this and then left it out because the “average person” (if one exists, let me know) not suitable enough to just give him/her accurate information instead of what they would think is true. But maybe, Rome was a different place than what my memory wants me to believe. In which case, well done filming crew, but I still won’t watch this again. It’s just not worth it.

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