Season 1 Episode 11

The Spoils

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 13, 2005 on HBO
out of 10
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311 votes

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Episode Summary

Vorenus sees to it that veteran soldiers receives severance on behalf of Caesar, and is then invited along with Niobe to one of Atia's parties.

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  • The Spoils

    The Spoils was another perfect and very entertaining episode of Rome and I really enjoyed watching because the action scenes were intense, the drama was intriguing, and what happened among the various characters was very engaging. It was sad to see Pullo take the route he did, but in the end it was amazing and heart-warming to see his friend Vorenus take up arms to fight by his side. I was awe struck and inspired by this episode and look forward to watching the next one to see what will happen next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • At the beginning of the episode, we see Pullo chase down and kill an elder statesmen in the Aventine. Which turns out to be of serious significance.

    Vorenus negotiates with another veteran of the 13th , Mascius, who demands land in Italy for veterans and gains even more favor with Ceasar when they reach acceptable terms to both sides, though it is more acceptable to Ceasar. Pullo's new associations with Estrates lands him in severe trouble. Neither Ceasar or Vorenus will help Pullo, now on trial for death for killing a very vocal supporter of Ceasar, despite Octavian's attempts to convince them. But Octavian, despite Ceasar's wishes, gets Timon to retrieve him a lawyer though it is to no avail. No respected or talented lawyer would dare to take Pullo's case, to speak on behlaf of a traitor. Mascius and other veterans show up to his trial to save him by force but Vorenus stops them from acting, still showing almost no sign of remorse at the conviction of his friend. Pullo is convicted. While in the arena, after refusing to fight, Pullo takes the lives of many men in defense of the 13th and not his own life. As he defeats many but gets wounded in the process Vorenus finally takes arms up in defense of his friend, taking a life himself and helping Pullo to gain the crowds favor. They walk free of the arena, Pullo's life spared. This is an intense scene, I mean one again this is a scene with some serious gore but it is most impressive as is Ray Stevenson's (Pullo). He always stands out for me in every episode because he is my favorite character and quite an impressive actor but in this episode in particular it really comes through on a primal level, which is the basis for his character Pullo. He acts primal, on instinct.

    Atia throws a party, which Vorenus and Niobe attend due to Vorenus's great favor with Ceasar, where she and Mark Anthony are reunited mending their emotional and physical relationship. She also atttempts to warn Ceasar of Brutus's eminent betrayal, plebian sketches cover the walls showing Brutus with a knife to Ceasar's throat. But Ceasar will hear none of it. However, proving that he is no fool, he asks Brutus to govern the land that he is giving to veterans. Brutus seeing this as an act of agression and distrust against him gives in to his mother's wishes and "see what can be done".

    This episode is one the best of the season and very pivotal.moreless
  • It blew me away. The storyline with Vorenus and Pullo was very, very good. And the scene with Caesar and Brutus was even better.

    Wow. This was by far the best episode yet. Wonderful tension, wonderful build up, amazing acting... A really, really great episode.

    My favorite scene was the one between Caesar and Brutus. Finally we get to see some of the inner workings in their friendship and how they interact with one another. We get to see what their friendship and bond has been, what it is and how it will go south. Tobias Menzies gave an incredible performance; he has all along been able to bring a lot to this character who has been so poorly written. Brutus shines in this scene, Ciaran Hinds' Caesar is almost meek in comparison. Brutus has gone down in history as one of the worst traitors of all time, which has led to him being pictured most of the time as a character you despise. But the reason why his betrayal went down in history was that he was so close to Caesar, and the man must have had a lot of good qualities for his actions to be considered so awful. There were many people who took part in killing Caesar but Brutus is the one we remember. Menzies has brought that quality to this character that the writers did not give him, a sense of the good side of Brutus and why he was so well thought of. In this scene he makes clear why he feels betrayed by Caesar and what makes him decide to turn on him. He has been faithful to Caesar throughout the plottings of his mother and yet Caesar does not believe him, which is what causes him to betray him. This scene is probably the best in the entire series so far, it blew me away. Some of the best acting I've seen on television.

    From one friendship to another, Vorenus and Pullo have hit rock bottom at the start of this episode. It was touching to see how low Pullo had sunk after losing the affection of Eirene and the friendship of Vorenus. He is a man who likes to paint himself out to be a big, strong guy who can depend on himself, but he does need people to care about him. The scene where he makes a sacrifice for Eirene and Vorenus was quite moving. But the major weight of the storyline in this episode is carried by Vorenus. Finally he gets to do something other than try to break free from Caesar and fail. Kevin McKidd gives a splendid performance, guiding us through Vorenus' feelings and his inner battle. He really shines the most in the scene with Pullo in the arena. Without saying a word he watches the man he claims is dead to him in that situation and just through the look in his eyes are we able to follow his emotions and what leads him to the point where he joins the fight. I was practically cheering when he went into the arena. I'm usually skeptical to those kind of moments, but it worked very well in this episode.

    So far this is my favorite episode, by far. A terriffic build up to what I assume will be March 15th next episode.moreless
  • This was a great episode!

    The whole battle with Pullo and Vorenus in the arena was the best scene in the series, bar none. Nothing can be better than this! It was a great episode. The other parts were bland but the arena scene makes up for it. Salve Vorenus! Salve Pullo! Salve Mausidius! Salve Niobe!
  • How Do You Solve a Problem Like Caesar? Written by Bruno Heller Directed by Mikael Salomon

    "Plebs love to see their betters fight. It's cheaper than theater and the blood is real."--Brutus

    Upon my first viewing of this thrilling episode all I can say is “Wow”. Rome has clearly defined the odds of becoming the next great television series. As I watched the series for 11 straight weeks, I am really starting to get into it (and also starting to understand it better) plus with only 1 episode left and a 1 ½ year wait until 2007 it makes me hungry for more.

    Probably the most important plot this week involves Titus Pullo. Pullo is obviously still upset over his misunderstanding with Eirene and when he kills her boyfriend he is banned from the Vorenii villa. With his banishment comes the loss of his friends Vorenus & Eirene and the loss of his job since veterans are not as honored as they are in the 2000s. Pullo decides to pursue Erastes Fullmen’s offer and proceeds to kill a few men. One of the men, Pullo kills in broad daylight. The victim being a very popular and prominent businessmen. Pullo is soon infamously known and is the “talk of the town”. When no one will represent Pullo, Octavian asks that Timon find Pullo a suitable lawyer. When lawyers offer to take the job, Timon offers a bribe but hires someone who has trouble speaking in public. When Pullo is taken in front of an audience, the lawyers represent their cases however when Pullo’s lawyer begins to speak the crowd starts to protest which ensues with the throwing of rocks and garbage and the jeers of profanity. Pullo is then sentenced to death. As a sign of a peace offering, Pullo sacrifices a cockroach to the gods and that he asks forgiveness to Eirene and to Vorenus and that he be spared from the depths of a terrible afterlife. Pullo arrives chained in the arena and is forced to fight the gladiators. Pullo hesitates his moves at first but winds up killing a majority of the gladiators. When Pullo comes down to the final gladiator, a rather tall man with a spiked sword he knows that he is done for. Unexpectedly Vorenus comes out of the crowd, comes from behind and slashes the gladiator’s leg. The crowd suddenly cheers for Pullo as he is walked out of the arena.

    Brutus continues to be pressured into killing Caesar with proof in graffiti. The drawings are those currently decorating several of the city’s important walls. Brutus is later offered the job of the leader of Macedonia by Caesar. When Brutus is advised by several others that it should be he that kills Caesar, he panics as this is something he is not ready to do since they are such good friends and all…yeah, such great friends. Brutus is near tears when he confides in Caesar to assure him that he is not a tyrant. Caesar tells him that people have to make their own decisions oblivious to the fact that Brutus may actually kill him.

    Vorenus is officially starts his position as Official Magistrate. The magistrate is like the modern day equivalent of a Public Works/Complaint Department. When Vorenus is asked by an old war friend if he can ask Caesar to offer him a piece of land in Northern Italy, Vorenus has to ask the boss Caesar if he will approve of this important matter. Caesar of course cannot offer him a piece of land in Italy since it will go to hard-working civilian families. When Mascius refuses Caesar’s offer, Vorenus asks him to make a compromise. The compromise turns sour and the two leave without any harmonious agreements. Caesar soon invites Vorenus and Niobe to join him at a party thrown by Atia to introduce themselves to the social structure of Rome. The two arrive at the party nervous and intimidated however Atia makes sure that Niobe feels like “one of the girls”. They soon leave shortly after without anyone noticing.

    Other important events in “The Spoils”…

    *A part I find annoying in this episode was the old lady saying “Murderer” repetitively. I actually thought Pullo was going to slice the old lady but I guess he didn’t feel like killing two birds with one stone. He probably would have been in deeper hot water if he did murder her.

    *Was Atia actually being serious when she complimented Niobe? In my view, I believe so since it is rarely in her nature to give such tasteful compliments. Can it be that Atia actually likes someone more than herself?

    *Atia also cares enough for her uncle to warn him that Brutus is plotting something and not to be trusting when it comes to Brutus being of confidence.

    *On the Servilia front, not too much from her this week but still hears from Caesar that she is no good.

    *I think it is probably better for Pullo and Vorenus to remain friends because even friendship in ancient Rome is sacred. Would Pullo actually have had a chance if the spiked gladiator took a shot at him?

    Let me just say, “The Spoils” was absolutely fantastic. Bruno Heller’s script was extremely well written, Mikael Solomon (previously of HBO’s Band of Brothers) did very well in his directing debut on Rome. The acting on all parties was superb and this episode is a not to miss for any fan. You heard it here first!

Ewan Bailey

Ewan Bailey


Guest Star

Michael Culkin

Michael Culkin

Presiding Magistrate

Guest Star

Douglas Dean

Douglas Dean

Lawyer #1

Guest Star

Manfredi Aliquo

Manfredi Aliquo


Recurring Role

Guy Henry

Guy Henry


Recurring Role

Ian McNeice

Ian McNeice


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Vorenus: Do you not understand what is at stake here?
      Mascius: Brother Pullo's life.
      Vorenus: Politically. What is at stake politically.
      Mascius: Politically. I fuck politically in her fat ass.

    • Caesar: What did Mascius say?
      Vorenus: He will accept Pannonia for twelve.
      Caesar: Very good. I did not think he would sell himself so cheap. I must send you to negotiate all my corruptions.
      Vorenus: (sharply) I would rather not, sir.
      Caesar: I spoke in jest.

    • Caesar: What would they have me do? I cannot make farmland.
      Mark Antony: Certainly you can. It's called eviction.
      Caesar: And who shall I evict?
      Mark Antony: Your enemies.
      Caesar: Enemies? I have enemies still?
      Mark Antony: Strange to say.
      Caesar: I shall make friends of them in time.

    • (Mascius approaches Vorenus in front of his family)
      Mascius: Ah...these Roman bitches. I've done nothing but fuck and eat and fuck since I got here.
      Vorenus: We're not under goatskin now, brother.
      Mascius: No disrespect to your women, huh?

    • Cassius: Look at that.
      Brutus: It is a chair. What of it?
      Cassius: A chair? It's a throne!
      Brutus: I believe thrones are generally more decorative. That is decidedly plain, and chair-like.

    • Brutus: Mother. I owe Caesar no more friendship. I must do my duty.

    • Caesar: Be reasonable! You're on every wall with a knife at my throat! It would be foolish to ignore it.
      Brutus: Only tyrants need worry about tyrant killers.

    • Brutus: Had you told me you were to march on Rome and asked me for my allegiance I would have given it. I would have judged you insane, but I would have given you my allegiance because I look on you as my father.
      Caesar: Brutus--
      Brutus: But you did not ask me for my allegiance. You demanded it at sword point. I betrayed nothing.

    • Caesar: You know I've always looked upon you as my son.
      Brutus: Oh dear, one of those conversations.

    • Mascius: I thought Pullo was dead to you.
      Vorenus: He will be dead to all soon.

    • Octavian: Did you order his death?
      Caesar: I didn't know he existed until he didn't.

    • (Speaking to Octavia)
      Marc Antony: Your mother is a vicious and heartless creature. But I find I am wretched without her.

    • Cassius: The people will not accept a tyrant's death unless a Brutus holds the knife.

    • Caesar: I don't think my back could take another one of Cicero's eulogies.
      Marc Antony: He praises you so long and high one might think he was being sincere.

    • Mascius: You and Pullo are like Castor and Pollux.

    • (trying to get Pullo to fight back so they can kill him)
      Gladiator: Just hold your sword, just stand and hold it. You don't have to wave it about or anytthing.

    • Brutus: But I have pledged myself his friend. No--I am his friend.
      Cassius: So for friendship, you would let the Republic die?
      Brutus: I am just a man. The life or death of the Republic is not in my hands.
      Cassius: You are precisely wrong.

    • Cassius: The plebs love liberty, and your name--
      Brutus: They would not pluck a hair for liberty. The plebs like to see their betters fight. It's cheaper than theater and the blood is real.

    • Vorenus: You have too much metal on you.
      Vorena: It's not so much.
      Vorenus: I'm a magistrate, not King of Asia.

    • Caesar: I often wish I were back in Gaul. There's something pleasantly simple about warfare.

    • Cassius: Don't worry about those scribbles. King Caesar knows you're his loyal friend.
      Brutus: Oh, I'm not worried about that. No. It's just... do I truly look like that?
      Cassius: It's near.
      Brutus: Well it's tragic.
      Cassius: Ah, but an image cannot capture your vim... your noble vitality.
      (Brutus gives Cassius a slightly annoyed look)
      Cassius: I speak only what is true. You have that grace in action they say your noble ancestor had. That's why the plebs put you on the walls. They see him in you.
      Brutus: They see my wretched name, that's all. Simpletons. Let us speak of something else.
      Cassius: There's weight in names, eh?
      Brutus: You may call a cat a fish, it will not swim.

    • Mabinio: My piss pots were all broken this past nine day.

  • NOTES (2)

    • R. Russell Smith, William Freesh and Maurizio Argentieri were nominated for the 2006 C.A.S. Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series" for this episode.

    • Retired Soldiers

      The soldiers who are being retired and given land by Caesar are the soldiers of the Legio X Equestris, and Legio XIII Gemina - the 10th and 13th Legions - the "twin legions" of Julius Caesar.

      Presumably there are also other veterans being resettled, but it is historically known that the men of the Legio X Equestris settled around Narbonne (or Narbo to the ancient Romans), in southwestern France - which is where Caesar is seen to settle some of the soldiers with Vorenus' "help"/

      Legio X Equestris was created by Caesar for his Gallic campaigns in 58 B.C.E. They took part in The Battle against the Nervians, the 55 B.C.E. Roman invasion of Britain (take note BBC viewers!), and the siege of Gergovia. After the Gallic wars, they remained loyal to Caesar in his "civil war", being present at the battles of Pharsalus, and Munda. In 45 BC Caesar disbanded the legion and settled it's troops. The legion would be reconstituted however, under Augustus Caesar in 42 B.C.E.

      Note that references to Legio X Equestris and Legio X Gemina are the same legion. The legion was stripped of it's honorific Equestris and re-dubbed Gemina when it rebelled against Augustus Caesar

      Legio XIII Gemina's exploits are, of course, part of the series. However, much of the history before the series parallels the Legio X Equestris: formed in 57 B.C.E. by Caesar, they also fought against the Nervians and at the siege of Gergovia. During the civil war, it was the 13th that crossed the Rubicon with Caesar, fought with him during the African campaigns against Scipio and Cato, and finally at The Battle of Munda.

      In 45 B.C.E. Caesar disbanded the 13th legion, giving the veterans farmlands in Italy - more desirable lands than those of the Legio X Equestris apparently.

      The 13th Legion would be reconstituted by Augusus as well, in 41 B.C.E.

      The Legio XIII Gemina would go on to serve as an effective and well honored fighting force, unto 89 A.D. when the legion was assigned to garrison the Roman province of Dacia in modern Romania - although Vexillatio, or detached units, of the 13th would continue to serve as temporary reinforcements in other Legions. They would remain here until at least the 5th century.