Rome, season 1, episode 1: The Stolen Eagle

I’ve decided to start by looking at two different historical dramas about ancient Rome. To begin with, I’ll be looking at Rome, the 2 season HBO series that follows the last years of the Roman Republic. Its debut season was ten years ago. I’ll then focus on the 1970s BBC classic I, Claudius, which jumps forward a couple of decades to examine the life and times of the first four Roman emperors. The shows have some overlap in characters and events/background history. I have already watched these shows and am a fan of both, though I do slightly prefer one to the other. (We’ll get to that in good time.)

Disclaimer: I have a working knowledge of Roman history of this time period, but I am certainly no expert. I welcome any comments to elaborate on the historical background, as well as any general observations about the shows.

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This blog is essentially me detoxing from academia. I recently graduated with a master’s in English and before that I earned a bachelor’s in English and European History.

So, basically, I wrote a lot of literary analysis papers and I also got tired of writing literary analysis on other people’s terms. I enjoyed my time in grad school and still love to learn (and write literary analysis), but I no longer want to write about texts and themes chosen for me on someone else’s time table.

Currently I am working part-time at a library and doing freelance technical writing on the side. My new-found freedom from syllabi, midterms, and annotated bibliographies is lovely. I had forgotten what free time was–but I’m also not 100% sure what to do with it.

One way I have kept myself occupied is by studying topics I didn’t have the time to learn more about when I was in school. During my stay in the academic world, I became fascinated with narratology and narrative structure. I didn’t know it at the time, but my interest was piqued by an undergraduate paper I wrote about the narrative choices in Pat Barker’s Regeneration. I thought the novel’s point of view shifts were a rhetorical reflection of the book’s excellent, thought-provoking content, but the idea of actually studying narrative beyond that one project still didn’t occur to me until nearly a year later when I was a first year graduate student in a class about adaptation theory.

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