Season 1 Episode 5

The Ram Has Touched The Wall

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Sep 25, 2005 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
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Episode Summary

Caesar weighs Pompey's counteroffer against Antony's recommendation to chase down Pompey's vulnerable army. Vorenus is forced to reconsider his career choices after a series of business setbacks leave him with little income to support his family. A jealous Atia concocts a clever scheme to separate Caesar from Servilia. Pullo is recruited to tutor Octavian in the art of soldiering, but ends up learning a lesson or two from the boy.moreless

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  • The Ram Has Touched The Wall

    The Ram Has Touched The Wall was a perfect episode of Rome and I really enjoyed watching this entertaining episode because the story grew even more intense as Titus uncovers the truth about Vorenus's wife and her brother-n-law, Ceaser is mocked by drawings of him and Servillia all over the walls of the city and Pompey flees. It was interesting and fun to watch Vorenus go back to Marc Anthony to accept the offer he was given previously. I like how fate has spun Vorenus and Titus into the tapestry of history. It was cool how Titus and Octavius took matters into their own hands. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • OK to watch.

    Caesar examines Pompey's counteroffer against Mark Antony's advice to attack Pompey's army. Vorenus's business becomes a money losing streak when his slaves become infected by a disease and most of them die from it. Atia's jealousy finds a plan to get Caesar from Servilia's influence. Atia recruits Pullo to tutor Octavian in the art of warfare. Pullo learns something from the boy in the process. This episode show something about how people behaved in the days of the empire. Vorenus and just like many Romans owned slaves like they were poultry. Something condemnable today, but highly practices in those days.moreless
  • The Senate and Pompey agree to accept Ceasar's proposal of a truce, though Pompey refuses to meet with Ceasar in person.

    The Senate and Pompey agree to accept Ceasar's proposal of a truce, though Pompey refuses to meet with Ceasar in person. Both he and Mark Anthony are very disturbed by this news, planning on Pompey's refusal to that they might march against him. But all is not lost Pasca, Ceasar's slave, points out that though Pompey has agreed to the truce his refusal to meet with Ceasar may be just the insult, or excuse, they need. Mark Nathony hot of foot to leave immediately is very displeased when Ceasar refuses to leave Rome. Mark Anthony confides in Atia that Ceasar has been unmaned by Servilia, already a growing source of anger to Atia she enlists the help of her man Timon to drive Servilia and Cesar apart. Needless to say, she succeeds. And though this spurs Ceasar to march on Pompey Mark Anthony is disappointed to learn he will be left behind to defend Rome.

    Servilia is not so easily cast aside, seeking out those who would oppose her. Evander, Niobe's former lover and father to Lucious, is brought to her and confesses that Timon was behind the plan. Servilia knows he is Atia's man, cursing Servilia and Ceasar for their trechery.

    Meanwhile, Atia enlists Pullo to tutor Octavian in the ways of soldiering and though he makes a mediocre soldier as best his mind proves to be quite sharp and of great aid to Pullo. Seeking Octavian's council on his fears of Niobe's infedelity, Octavian makes a point of saying without proper proof it would be yet another grievance to acuse her wrongfully. They must have fact or remain silent. Both Pullo and Octavian meet in the dark of night and capture Evander to demanding to know the truth. At first he says nothing but after Pullo tortures him he admitts to the affair he had with Niobe and that Lucious is Niobe's son, and his. They kill Evander and vow that Vorenus must never know the truth of the matter.

    After Vorenus takes a postition as a "bodyguard" to save his family from poverty he is left remiss when he must return to Mark Anthony and except a previously declined offer and becomes one of the Evocati.

    Meanwhile, Ceasar's legions reach Pompey's camp but all that is left if the burning remenants. Pompey and his followers have fled to Greece.moreless
  • An overall average episode lifted by a great scene towards the end.

    This episode felt like it was asleep for the most part. The tempo was low, not too much interesting happened, most of it was just continuations of things they have talked about in previous episodes. Like the senators and Pompey, it felt like we had seen that scene before.

    Vorenus is starting to feel a bit repetitive. First he tried to get out of being a soldier, then he was sent with Marc Antony to meet up with Caesar. Then he tried to start a business but went back to Antony (though without taking the offer). Then he tried to work as a bodyguard but ended up back with the army. Enough already, we all know he's going to be a soldier so quit dragging it out.

    Caesar and Servilia were quite boring. I know it's a historical fact that they had an affair, but no sparks fly between the two actors which makes it a bit hard to relate to. I don't like the character of Servilia, she's a snake in disguise. I prefer Brutus over her, at least he's not vengeful. Yet. He seems to be wishing he was still with Caesar, struggling with his conscience and his loyalties. He has some dimension, unlike Servilia.

    My favorite scene in this episode is the scene where Augustus-to-be and Pullo torture the man Niobe had an affair with. Normally I can't stomach torture scenes, but this was an exception. It was just so well written and well performed, it was impossible not to like it.

    For one I really enjoy seeing how dedicated Pullo has become to Vorenus. When the series began he hated him, but now he seems to both look up to him and feel protective of him. You get the feeling that not a lot of people have been there for Titus Pullo, and when he finds someone he can turn to with any problem he will be loyal to him at all times. I wonder if the relationship between the two soldiers will turn out like the one between Caesar and Brutus, with one betraying the other to the death. In any case, it was touching to see Pullo going to such great lengths to take vengance on the man who slept with Vorenus' wife. While I'm not all that fond of the character of Pullo he has come a long way, and Ray Stevensson is doing an excellent job.

    For another I got a big kick out of seeing Octavian in this situation. He is already starting to show the determination that will one day give him the Roman empire. I really like this character, he is probably my favorite in the series, and he got a great chance to develop in this scene. Just the fact that he comes with Pullo to do this and takes charge even though he's just a boy and Pullo is a seasoned soldier makes him a very interesting character.moreless
  • Unbelievable!

    Pullo sees the expression on the face of his best friends wife talking to her sister's Husband and he gets suspicious about their relationship... Almost on a whim, with, of all people, octavian's help, they kidnap the guy and drag him into the sewer for an ... interigation... But obviously had predetermined that his life was forfiet. I don't want to spoil it for everyone, but by far the single greatest sceen in the series, the best episode in the series so far (but then again, I have only seen 8 episodes so far). You see Octavian shaping up to be a force to be reconed with as he wins the blind brute force loyality of Pullo. This will be extremely important in the future.moreless
John Bennett

John Bennett

Elderly Priest

Guest Star

Alessio Di Cesare

Alessio Di Cesare


Guest Star

Sean Madden

Sean Madden


Guest Star

Manfredi Aliquo

Manfredi Aliquo


Recurring Role

Lydia Biondi

Lydia Biondi


Recurring Role

Ian McNeice

Ian McNeice


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Julius Caesar: We'll leave when the time is right.
      Mark Antony: When?
      Julius Caesar: When the time is right.
      Mark Antony: But we should have left Rome long ago. The apple is ripe for the plucking, and we just sit here doing nothing?
      Julius Caesar: Pompey is not an apple and I am not a farmer.

    • Pullo: I've never actually tortured anyone. I don't know how.
      Octavian: You don't know how?
      Pullo: They have specialists!

    • Posco: Atia invites you to dinner tonight.
      Caesar: Again! Buone Dia! Not tonight in any case.
      Posco: What excuse shall I give?
      Caesar: None.
      Posco: This is the second time you have refused an invitation from her.
      Caesar: I need not account for myself to Atia.
      Posco: As you say... not a sapient choice, perhaps, but brave, sure.

    • Posco: Show such mercy to every man that deserts Pompey, you will pauperize yourself. There's dozens of them coming in every day.
      Caesar: Judicious use of mercy is worth ten thousand men, and if my last coin buys me a throne, that's a fair price.
      Posco: Throne?
      Caesar: Poetic licence.

    • Cato: We're not men, we're worms.
      Cicero: Worms is harsh. Worms cannot run away as speedily as we do. Caesar has not even left Rome, Gods know why not, yet his legions chase us from town to town with great ease. We're more like sheep than worms.

    • Atia: I've engaged that soldier of yours.
      Octavian: Vorenus?
      Atia: Was that it? Not the sullen Catonian one, I don't like him... The cheerful brutish one.
      Octavian: Pullo.
      Atia: That's it. What extraordinary names these plebs have.

    • Octavian: This is absurd. I have no soldery stuff in me, and this exertion brings on a fever. I feel it in my spleen.
      Pullo: You're just not used to it. Takes time. I've seen you kill -- there's plenty of soldier in you.
      Octavian: It's not the killing -- it's the waving about of swords I find tedious. I dare say I can kill people readily enough as long as they're not fighting back.
      Pullo: Never fear young Dominus. We'll make a regular terror of you.
      Octavian: At best I will be a middling swordsman.
      Pullo: It's better than nothing.
      Octavian: There, you're wrong. Graveyards are full of middling swordsmen. Better to be no swordsman at all than a middling swordsman.

    • Atia: Your tutor has arrived and waits in the rear yard.
      Octavian: Tutor? What tutor?
      Atia: Well it's high time you learned the masculine arts. How to fight and copulate and skin animals and so forth...
      Octavian: There's plenty of time yet for all that.
      Atia: There's plenty of time for you to bury yourself in worthless scribbles. You may read those old greek fools until blood runs from your eyes, you'll be none the wiser.
      Octavian: I cannot agree. The greek philosophers have much to teach us.

    • Gaius Octavian: Move forward. Your life is over. The only question is, how do you want to die?

    • Mark Anthony: The poor sad wretch gives everything you ask for; the Senate will ratify your status, you get your Triumph, stand for Consul, and Pompey shall withdraw to Spain. He'll suck Posca's cock if asked nicely!

    • Caesar: They say slaves talk of bravery as fish talk of flying.
      Posca: They say that do they? How very witty of them.

  • NOTES (4)

    • The ram has touched the wall, no mercy!

      The title of the episode comes from the latin phrase "Murum aries attigit" - which was the battlefield policy that once the battering ram had struck the gates of the fortification, there would be no mercy shown, even to those that surrendered.

      This policy was supposed to be an incentive for the besiged to surrender before a costly and bloody siege began, rather than gamble on being slaughtered without mercy if they could not win.

    • Posca (Caesar's slave and aide) mentions that Caesar dare not divorce Calpurnia, as he needs the influence of her family.

      Posca is probably referring to Calpurnia's father, Lucius Calpurnia Piso Caesoninus, who was Consul of Rome in 58B.C.E., and Proconsul of the province of Macedonia 57-55B.C.E. Clearly Calpurnia's family is influential.

      Piso also helped have Cicero (leader of the moderate faction in the Senate - see Episode #2: How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic) exiled from Rome until 57B.C.E. Given who his father-in-law is, it's clear why there is no love lost between Cicero and Caesar.

      Caesar will not divorce Calpurnia; she was his wife until his assassination in 44B.C.E.

    • In addition to being inducted into the Evocati, Lucius Vorenus is promoted from Centurion to "Prefect, first grade". It's not quite clear what position Vorenus is being offered, as there were many different kinds of "Praefecti". However, translations of various kinds of Praefecti are rendered "camp commandant", "cavalry commander", "fleet commander", etc. Prefects seem to occupy the level of officer just below the "general staff" - the "Praefectus Castrorum", for example was third in command of an entire Legion. The modern equivalent of Vorenus' promotion would be to be promoted from the rank of Captain to the rank of Colonel - a promotion of three grades upon his re-enlistment!

    • Toward the end of the episode, Lucius Vorenus is inducted into the Evocati. These were Roman soldiers who had fulfilled their required military service, and who had obtained their discharge from the army, but had voluntarily returned - often at the request or invitation of a high ranking military commander such as their general, or even one of the Consuls.

      A more modern equivalent would be those U.S. soldiers who were drafted into the U.S.-Vietnam conflict, served out their "tour of duty", and who enlisted for additional tour(s) - although as can be seen in this episode, the Roman Evocati enjoyed much more prestige, and their re-enlistment included religious overtones as well.

      The higher ranks of the Roman Legions were often filled by Evocati. This is consistent with Anthony offering Vorenus the rank of Prefect.