Season 1 Episode 10


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Nov 06, 2005 on HBO
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Episode Summary

Unanimously proclaimed Dictator by the Senate, Caesar pronounces the war over, and prepares for five days of feasting and games honoring his "triumph." No longer an enlisted soldier, Pullo eyes a pastoral future with Eirene; Vorenus runs for municipal magistrate, with Posca's help; Octavian retrieves Octavia from her self-imposed exile; and Servilia invites a revenge-minded Quintus Pompey into her home, to Brutus' dismay.moreless

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John Boswell

John Boswell

Curial Magistrate

Guest Star

Giovanni Calcagno

Giovanni Calcagno


Guest Star

Dominic Coleman

Dominic Coleman


Guest Star

Lydia Biondi

Lydia Biondi


Recurring Role

Guy Henry

Guy Henry


Recurring Role

Ian McNeice

Ian McNeice


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Mark Antony: It's absurd, isn't it? Dressing up, playing at being God?
      Caesar: Playing? I'm not playing. This is not a game.

    • (addressing the Senate)
      Caesar: Many of you here today fought against me. Many of you wished me dead. Many of you perhaps still do. But I hold no grudges and seek no revenge. I demand only this - that you join with me in building a new Rome, a Rome that offers justice, peace and land to all it's citizens, not just the privileged few. Support me in this task, and old divisions will be forgotten. Oppose me, and Rome will not forgive you a second time.

    • Cicero: As soon as this farce is done, I shall retire to the country and wait for the city to come to it's senses. It is the only honorable thing to do.
      Brutus: My dear friend, we have no honor. If we had honor, we would be with Cato and Scipio in the afterlife.

    • Servilia: He has fire in him. It warms me.
      Brutus: Light more lamps if you are cold.

  • NOTES (7)

    • Awards and Nominations:

      April Ferry and Augusto Grassi won the 2006 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Costumes for a Series" for this episode.

      Jeff Beal was nominated for the 2006 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)" for this episode.

      Joseph Bennett, Domenico Sica and Christina Onori won the 2006 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series" for this episode.

    • The Conspirators Gather

      In this episode, we see the introduction of "Cassius", who aides Servilia in her writing of anti-Caesar propaganda which is then distributed under Brutus' name.

      This is (most likely) the character of Gaius Cassius Longinus, one the most well known of the conspirators and assassins of Caesar. While he is probably best known to Westerners through his character in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, Shakespeare's portrayal of his character is solely an invention of the writer.

      Cassius was a Roman patrician and military commander, who was related to Marcus Junius Brutus through marriage to Brutus' half-sister.

      Cassius served as a queastor under the Consul Marcus Licinius Crassus - a member of the first triumvirate and co-consul with Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus during Gaius Julius Caesar's Gallic wars. When Crassus' war against the Parthian Empire ended in disastrous defeat and slaughter (these events would occur during episodes 1 and 2, even though they are never mentioned in the series and Crassus is never mentioned at all), Cassius distinguished himself by saving the remnants of the army after Crassus was killed.

      After these events, Cassius governed the Roman province of Syria, defending it against the Parthians.

      Cassius returned to Rome as the events of the Roman Revolution broke - the events depicted in this series - and these events probably saved him against charges of extortion while governor of Syria.

      Cassius joined the Optimates faction of Pompey and the Conservatives, fleeing to Greece with Pompey's forces. Cassius was made the naval commander of the Optimates' fleet, and was responsible for the destruction of much of Caesar's navy. After the Battle of Pharsalus Cassius was captured, and forced to surrender unconditionally to Caesar.

      He was pardoned by Caesar, who appointed him a legate, although Cassius refused to serve in the campaign against Scipio and Cato in Africa, instead returning to Rome where he served in the Roman government. When his junior, Brutus, was favored above him by Creaser in an appointment, his hatred and resentment of Caesar seems to have been set.

      He entered into conspiracy against Caesar with Brutus, being very active in recruiting the main assassins, and lead the attack on Caesar himself, on the "Ides of March".

      Cassius would also be very active in the events and power struggle following the death of Caesar, but these events are not yet the in the scope of this series - at least not until season 2.

    • This episode shows the return of Quintus Pompeius - who was also seen the the episode stealing from Saturn.

      There seems to be little, if any, historical evidence for the actions of such a person.

      However, Sextus Pompeius (along with Gnaeus Pompeius) was one of the minor leaders of the Pompeian conservative faction, and after the Battle of Thapsus help rally the Pompeian cause in the Roman province of Hispania - until the Battle of Munda wiped out the last effective resistance of the Pompeian faction.

      As "Sextus" is a reference to a "6th" son, it seems that the writers have created a role for the "Quintus" - referring to the "5th" son - the "lesser know older brother" of Sextus, apparently.

      There doesn't seem to be any evidence against the existence or actions of this character - but he seems to be an invention of the writers.

      It is also possible that "Quintus" is a 'composite character', meant to be a blending of Sextus and Gnaeus, who despite their historical prominance, are not mentioned anywhere in the series.

    • Vercingetorix

      This episode shows the execution of the leader of the Gallic tribes against Julius Caesar during the Gallic Wars.

      While the chiefs of conquered peoples were displayed in the triumph of a successful general (or Dux), and while they were usually executed following the triumph, it is not generally thought that they were executed as part of the triumph as depicted here. Rather, they were placed in the the Tullianum. This was an ancient prison (ancient even by the time of Caesar;s triumph), built in the Forum Romanum about 400 B.C.E. As imprisonment was not a recognized punishment for Roman citizens under Roman law, it was used only for high-level foreign prisoners - such as captured military commanders. They were usually held here until their execution, or until they died in prison.

      It is thought that Vercingetorix was either strangled (as is the method of execution depicted in the episode), or beheaded in the Tullianum shortly after Caesar's triumph.

      The rude disposal of his body by the Romans, it's rescue by Gallic slaves, and the woodland funeral pyre are all inventions of the show's writers, with no historical support - but they are plausible and poignant touches.

    • The Roman Triumph

      The Triumph was a combined Roman civil and religious ceremony. Like many of the Roman ceremonies, the religious elements were largely copied from earlier Etruscan ceremonies.

      To be awarded a triumph, a military commander had to meet three criteria.

      1. He had to be a Roman Consul who won a major victory, as a military general, against a foreign power - bringing money and slaves to Rome. Caesar's triumph is commemorating his victories in Gaul - and not his victories over the Pompeian faction. This is why Vercingetorix is featured in this triumph.

      2. The legions under his command must have voted to award him the title of Imperator in the field of battle.

      3. He must petition the Senate for the right to hold a triumph, and receive permission.

      The ceremony consisted of a large procession, along a specific ceremonial route, starting from the Campus Martius (the "fields of mars" - the area devoted to military training and housing outside the walls of Rome), along the Via Triumphalis, and through the Forum to the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.

      The parade consisted of chiefs of conquered peoples (who were typically executed after the triumph) wagons of spoils from the campaign, musicians, dancers, the victorious legions (note: this was the only time the soldiers of a legion could legally enter the Pomerium - the sacred borders of the city of Rome - as a fully armed legion), banners depicting scenes of the campaign and victory, and finally, the triumphator himself, in a chariot, pulled by two white horses, with a laurel crown held over (never touching) his head by a slave who was to continuously repeat the refrain "Memento mori" ("Remember thou art mortal.").

      Upon reaching the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus the laurel crown held over the triumphator's head would be offered up to the God.

      In the later years of the Empire, only members of the royal family - or those designated to stand in for them - could be awarded a triumph.

      Particularly noteworthy triumphs would also be commemorated after the triumph by the building of a monument - such as the Arch of Titus. It might be noted that this practice was emulated by Napoleon when he built the Arc de triumph in Paris to march his returning triumphant armies through.

    • A missing major battle?

      In this episode, Caesar is granted the rank of Dictator (even though Brutus calls it Imperator), while being the apparently only sitting Consul.

      This would place the episode in 45 B.C.E.

      If so, we are missing a major chunk of the last civil war of the Roman Republic: The Battle of Munda.

      It was the last conflict between the conservative Roman faction, and the legions of Julius Caesar.

      After the death of Scipio at the Battle of Thapsus, and the suicide of Cato, the remaining conservative leaders - including the sons of Pompey (Gnaeus and Sextus Pompeius) - fled to the Roman province of Hispania in modern day Spain. There, they raised a force of 13 legions with which to challenge Caesar.

      Caesar had returned to Rome from the African victory, to assume the office of Dictator, but upon hearing the Pompeian forces in Hispania, left Rome to meet them. He took with him 8 veteran legions - some of which had been with him ever since his Gallic campaigns (including X Gemina - which would play a pivotal role in the campaign) - and 8,000 Cavalry troops - and also enlisted the aid of his ally, King Bogud of Mauritania. It is worth noting that be took Octavius (his appointed heir by this point) with him, and appointed him the commander of the Cavalry.

      The two armies finally met in the plains of Munda, near Osuna, in southern Spain. The battle lasted some time, until a feint by the 10th legion (X Gemina) against the Pompeian right flank pulled troops away from the Pompeian legions' left flank to reinforce the line. The cavalry, under Octavian's command, fell upon the weakened left flank, and at the same time the forces of King Bogud attacked the Pompeian camp in the rear. Finding themselves facing forces on both flanks (form the 10th legion and the Cavalry troops), the front, and from the rear, the Pompeian legions broke their lines and fled.

      The end of the battle signal led the end any meaningful struggle between Julius Caesar and the conservative Pompeian faction.

      Following the battle, Caesar continued a "mopping up" operations - "pacifying" the remaining parts of Hispania sympathetic to the Pompeian faction, and destroying cities suspected of harboring Gnaeus and Sextus Pompeius - in fact Gnaeus Pompeius was captured and killed. Caesar's naval forces - under Gaius Didius - destroyed the majority of the remaining Pompeian ships as well.

      With the Pompeian faction effectively and essentially eradicated, Caesar returned to Rome to sit as sole Consul, and was quickly re-appointed as Dictator of Rome.

    • Confusion over Caesar's Titles?

      In this episode, Caesar is granted the rank of Imperator by the Senate, for a period of ten years.

      This seems to be a bit of historical confusion. The title Imperator has more than one meaning in roman history, and neither seems to fit here.

      In the days of the Republic, the legions of a military commander could proclaim their general an Imperator after a major victory. This was a step required for the Senate to grant the general a triumph. Since Caesar is being given the right to hold a triumph, he must have been given this distinction by his legions already.

      In the days of the Empire, the term Imperator was part of the titulature of the Roman emperors - and in post-roman Europe, the term became a synonym for Emperor. However, the days of the Empire are not yet upon Rome.

      The powers being granted to Caesar are that of another "special magistrate" entirely: the office of Dictator (in Latin, pronounced dic-TAT-or - with a short a sound, not the long a sound in the English pronunciation).

      The rank of Dictator gave the welder a time-limited, absolute power, with immunity for prosecution for their actions once their office elapsed. Dictators were appointed for a specific task and were limited to a 6-month term, although most people appointed to the office resigned much sooner - as soon as their tasks were complete.

      Only two people in Roman history were given the rank of Dictator beyond these limits: Lucius Cornelius Sulla and Julius Caesar. (see the notes attached to the episode Stealing From Saturn for comments about Sulla).

      In the context of the show, Caesar is already Imperator, declared so by his legions, and should have been awarded the rank of Dictator by the Senate.

      It should also be noted that, historically, this was not the first time Caesar had been given the rank of Dictator, but the second or third (it's unclear which in terms of the show, as the writers have apparently left out some major historical events). He had been given the rank of Dictator after the death of Pompey, and his return to Rome, but before his departure for Egypt. He resigned this position after only 11 days however. He was again given the title of Dictator after the Battle of Thapsus. After the Battle of Munda, Caesar sat as Consul without colleague before he was declared Dictator a third time. He was eventually declared "Perpetual Dictator" in 44 B.C.E. - two years before his death.