I watched Britannia, with Julie, and am rewatching I, Claudius.
I just started reading “Silver Pigs,” the first book of the historical mystery series by Lindsey Davis about Marcus Didius Falco, a private investigator in 1st Century Rome. I read many of those books years ago but I have essentially forgotten them so I’m quite enjoying “Silver Pigs.” I did not get through the whole series then, and plan to do so now. I expect it’ll take me a couple of years but that’s OK.
And I just started reading Mike Duncan’s “Storm Before the Storm,” a history of the events that led up to the fall of the Roman Republic.
The Roman Republic rose from an obscure village to the first megacity, conquering Italy and beyond. It lasted 500 years. Think of how long that is – that’s the equivalent of the early 1500s to today. The Republic must have seemed immutable, a permanent fixture of the world, like the land and sky. And then it went away. Potential parallels to today are obvious.
I think of Roman TV shows as being set in the same universe as I, Claudius, like Marvel superhero movies or Star Trek shows. The Claudiverse – or Clavdiverse! Britannia is a series about events that take place entirely offstage during the 11th episode of I, Claudius, “A God inColchester.” One of the main characters of Britannia gets namechecked twice in that “I, Claudius” episode. “Rome” is a prequel to “I, Claudius.” And so on.
Reportedly, when David Milch pitched “Deadwood” to HBO, he went into the meeting with a series in mind that would have been set in ancient Rome. Milch was obsessed with the concept of civil society rising up out of disorder – you can see that in “Deadwood” and his earlier show, “NYPD Blue.” So his idea for a series would have followed two ordinary soldiers in the Vigiles Urbani, the police and firefighters of imperial Rome. According to the story, when Milch took the meeting the HBO executives said they already had a Roman series, which become “Rome,” and so Milch thought fast on his feet and the series became “Deadwood.”
“Deadwood” was fantastic but I want to see that other series. I even have a made-up title for it: “SPQR Blue.” 📓📚📺