It took me a very long time to get around to watching this, and then an even longer time to get through all the episodes, but I’m finally done, and I can report that I really enjoyed it! While it starts as the story of two Roman legionnaires, it quickly widens up into a number of fascinating, interlocking stories (and for those of you who think, “Boy series!” there are a lot of interesting, powerful female characters). Standouts include Polly Walker as the endlessly scheming Atia and James Purefoy being HOT HOT HOT as Marc Antony. The costumes were gorgeous — I have no idea how authentic they are, and guess that they might have been sexed up for modern audiences, but it’s one of the few times I’ve found myself watching anything set in the ancient era and really LIKING it — especially the women’s hairstyles.
Janet Stephens is probably a pretty good resource on ancient hairstyles. She does the forensic archaeology thing to try to recreate hairstyles seen in archaeological and historic sources using items that would have been available. If nothing else, you might find it fun. This is her Youtube channel:
Alright, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m hardly an expert on Roman clothing. I have little knowledge of ancient dress, and what I do know is more skewed towards Greece – but at a quick glance and memories of the art that seeped into my latin classes a few years ago, it looks…alright. There’s not a lot of shows in this era to compare it to, so I’m not sure what kind of grade it would get, but the background characters in these screencaps look very good. That said, the second one is bothering me. It feels like chiffon and elastic.
Are you ever going to do a full review of this series?
They did a pretty decent job capturing the details. The hairstyles are amazing and are probably some of the best recreations out there. It’s a pity the show didn’t last longer although the last episodes had some issues. A first rate effort.
This was one of the few programs about ancient Rome that my Classical Archaeology professor and the students really liked. I can confirm that most of the clothes (styles, adornments and hair) are on point, or very close to being right. This was the only recreation of Roman life that we didn’t laugh outright at, or use as snark fodder (see, the travesty that is Pompeii).