Lately I’ve been watching the HBO series Rome. It’s got the fairly gratuitous nudity and violence to earn its way into the adult category. I’m finding fun to watch, despite the fairly preposterous plot device of having two common soldiers seemingly trigger every major historial event in the time of Caesar, Mark Antony and Octavian. It is indeed a good history lesson of the days of Caesar, his assassination, the first triumvirate, Cleopatra, etc. It also portrays a living, pulsing city full of graffiti and blood.
In Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist, he writes, “Rome’s particular speciality, from its very first days until the end of its empire, was simply to plunder its provinces to pay for bribes, luxuries, triumphs and soldiers’ pensions nearer to home.” This TV show basically backs up this argument.