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History behind Centurion

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History behind Centurion Empty History behind Centurion

Post by Admin on Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:20 pm

Centurion: fact vs fiction
April 21, 2010 By ReelScotland


On Saturday 10 April, Dundee’s DCA cinema opened its doors for a very special preview screening of Neil Marshall’s new historical blockbuster, Centurion. Hosted by Pictavia Visitor Centre in Angus, the evening included appearances by real-life Roman actors and a Q&A session with some of the extras and historical consultants who worked on the film.

For the 220 fans who won free tickets, it was an exciting opportunity for an advance viewing of a gripping action thriller which is surely destined for great success. As Pictavia staff member Jenny Sharp writes, it was a chance to see how this latest historical epic dealt with the myths surrounding its subject matter.

Centurion follows the legendary Ninth Legion as they battle for survival north of Hadrian’s Wall. Quintus Dias – the eponymous Centurion, portrayed by Hunger’s Michael Fassbender – is the sole survivor of a savage Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort.

He joins the legendary Ninth Legion, led by General Virilus (Dominic West) to march north and wipe out the Picts, but when the Legion is attacked and Virilus is captured, Quintus and his fellow survivors are caught up in a race to save the General and to evade capture, torture and certain death at the hands of the Picts.

Stunning cinematography and fast-paced action sequences have resulted in a breath-taking film. However, as always with historical genre films, the question remains: how accurate is it? Perhaps more importantly, since movies like Centurion are intended as escapism and entertainment, does it really matter?

One of the major draws of Centurion is that it portrays the Picts, the tribes who inhabited the North and East of Scotland during the first millenium AD. Despite remaining an enigmatic and fascinating people, to date the Picts have been surprisingly under-represented in cinematic terms. Keira Knightley’s leather-clad Guinevere in 2004’s King Arthur is one of very few examples of Picts appearing on the big screen, and – unfortunately – probably the best-known.

Happily, Centurion offers a much more comprehensive – and less romanticised – exploration of Scotland’s ancestors. Although the sympathies of Centurion’s audience are very obviously supposed to lie with the Romans, the film successfully avoids portraying the Picts as simply the bad guys.

The Ninth Legion

The remnants of the Ninth Legion

The atrocities committed against them by the Romans are clearly explained, helping to justify the Picts’ views of the Romans and their actions; and they show off an exciting and unparalleled mastery of hunting and tracking, guerilla tactics and fighting skills.

The filmmakers also deserve credit for the extensive background research they carried out, which is made obvious through the detailed depictions of Pictish weapons and dwellings, and their use of Pictish symbols in the film.

The film also subtly references the importance of family to the Picts, and the evidence which suggests women played an important role in Pictish society, both as leaders and as warriors.

In reality, however, there was a lot more to the Picts than is shown in the film. There’s no doubting the importance of warfare in their culture, but this developed largely because of the numerous military threats posed to them – starting with the Romans in the first century AD.

There is very limited reference to other, equally important, elements of Pictish life, such as their ideas about religion and art, and skills including hunting, weaving, fishing, story-telling, intricate metalwork and complex stone-carving. It is also likely that the Picts were more tolerant than is suggested by Arianne’s banishment to the forest – especially since, before the arrival of Christianity in the sixth century, the Picts’ religious beliefs were pagan.

The legend of the Ninth Legion is equally mysterious and fascinating, and Neil Marshall’s interpretation – however impressive it is cinematically – is only one possible explanation of their fate. Certainly, there is no concrete evidence to show that the Ninth was ever taken out of Britain and it appears to simply disappear in the early second century.

The idea that the Ninth disappeared somewhere in the British Isles has been popularised by a number of well-known books, such as Rosemary Sutcliffe’s Eagle of the Ninth, and this is a view which is still popular among historians. However, it may also have ended up abroad, with some sources suggesting it re-appeared in what is now continental Europe or the Middle East.

While Centurion may not give a fully rounded or balanced view of the Picts – or, indeed, the Romans – it succeeds where other films have failed in offering a fairly sympathetic and realistic interpretation of this period in history. The research carried out by the filmmakers and their attention to detail are obvious, even if a few liberties have been taken.

Ultimately, the role of a film like this is as entertainment rather than information, and it will never be able to represent its subject matter accurately. However, anything which can engage people’s interest in their history and encourage them to learn more is a very positive thing, and hopefully Centurion will raise awareness of the role of the Picts and the Romans in shaping Scotland’s history.

Jenny Sharp
Pictavia Visitor Centre

Pictavia is the centre for Pictish heritage in Angus, a modern and interactive attraction which engages visitors of all ages through touch screen computers, tactile surfaces, audiovisual presentations and a variety of activities. Check out the Pictavia website for more information.

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Post by Admin on Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:26 pm

Centurion: spot the homage
Centurion owes a debt to cult director Walter Hill, as well as Greek Historian Xenophon.

By Tim Robey
Published: 2:38PM BST 22 Apr 2010

Of all the observations you could make about Neil Marshall’s Centurion, a splatter-happy romp about the Ninth Legion which mainly consists of Romans and Picts screaming and chopping each other’s limbs off, one thing’s for sure: it must the the only film in history to contain end-credit thank-yous to both Walter Hill and “Zenophon” [sic].

The Greek historian, more accustomed to being spelled with an X, is an altogether surprising source of inspiration for a film that doesn’t seem that interested in its own historical specifics, and which is set, in any case, several centuries after his death. But I think I’ve worked it out. Marshall’s story, about Romans outnumbered and hunted down by Caledonian savages, has a vague similarity to the events of Xenophon’s Anabasis, about the journey of 10,000 Greek mercenaries behind Persian lines in 401 BC.

It’s the Walter Hill connection that makes everything click. Hill, the rather underrated American genre specialist who has given us westerns (The Long Riders, Wild Bill, Last Man Standing), urban thrillers (The Driver, 48 Hrs) and occasionally science fiction (he produced Alien, took a story credit on Aliens, and withdrew his name from the ill-fated 2000 turkey Supernova), seems to be a voguish touchstone at the moment. The recent heist flick Armored, which I liked, owed a lot to Hill’s Trespass (1992), particularly its Treasure of the Sierra Madre-ish take on dishonour among thieves, and the location of an abandoned factory for their stashed loot.

But the one Marshall has in mind is The Warriors, Hill’s cult gang chase movie from 1979, which Tony Scott is supposedly gearing up to remake. It’s about a crew of New York street punks framed for killing a rival gang’s leader, and having to make their way back to safe ground on Coney Island. Sound familiar? Maybe not, but the book it’s based on, Sol Yurick’s The Warriors, begins, wouldn’t you know, with a quote from the Anabasis.

The characters in the film are called things like Ajax and Cleon, and the murdered boss is named Cyrus. They don’t actually exclaim, “Thalassa, Thalassa!” when they espy the Coney Island waterfront, as Xenophon’s posse did when they reached the Black Sea, but you get the idea.

In turn, I’d love to be able to claim that the funniest line in The Warriors was actually a direct translation of the ancient Greek for “The chicks are packed!”, but, sadly, my recall of the text isn’t good enough.

Funnily enough, the Hill film Centurion reminded me of most wasn’t this anyway, but his terrific 1981 picture Southern Comfort, about a squad of National Guards who really antagonise some Cajuns in the Louisiana bayous and find themselves bloodily picked off. Both contain plenty of impalings and lots of clambering around in the woods – I’d bet my right arm that Marshall has seen it.

Though his film isn’t in the same league, it’s fun playing Spot the Homage.

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Post by Admin on Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:49 pm

Centurion and The Eagle of the Ninth: one of our legions is missing...
A Roman regiment cursed by Boadicea has inspired two new films, Centurion and The Eagle of the Ninth.

By Tom Payne
Published: 12:08PM BST 23 Apr 2010

It seems impossible that a whole legion of the Roman army could disappear – we’re talking about some 5,000 men. But this is what seems to have happened to the Ninth Legion. Julius Caesar founded the regiment, which had a proud fighting record. But the last we hear of it as a body of fighting men is from York, in AD 109. Then, nothing.

Historians speculate, but nobody has strong evidence for anything that happened next. The most popular theory is that the men vanished in Scotland, the part of the world that they could never conquer. And the mystery has become a gift to storytellers ever since.

This year, no fewer than two films are tackling the story: one, Centurion, directed by Neil Marshall, trades in the fearsome reputation of the Picts, the painted warriors who used guerrilla tactics against the Romans for centuries. Another, The Eagle of the Ninth, directed by Kevin Macdonald, is based on the novel by Rosemary Sutcliff, and is due to be released in a few months.

In the ultra-violent Centurion, starring Michael Fassbender, Dominic West and David Morrissey, Roman soldiers rush through snow and survive using tricks that would make Bear Grylls squirm, such as downing a stag’s blood and raiding its stomach for just-eaten berries. They use waterboarding, and wee in the water as they dunk their victims in it. As Dominic West’s general snarls, “When will people learn not to f--- with the Ninth?”

Yet people did mess with it. Boadicea managed to massacre the Ninth two generations before its supposed disappearance. And, in Sutcliff’s novel, this earlier disaster haunts the legion’s legacy: Boadicea is supposed to have cursed the legion as she died. It is a more supernatural fate than the one depicted in Centurion, although, unlike Centurion, a film version of The Eagle of the Ninth is likely to have a plot that goes beyond an extended chase sequence.

The novel opens on a march to Devon, and much of the action takes place north of Hadrian’s Wall. The hero is a young centurion called Marcus Aquila (to be played by Channing Tatum). He goes in search of his father’s old legion, and then the eagle, which is the legion’s standard, or identity. Marcus is another Roman who thinks he’s landed at the wrong end of civilisation, but then he spends time with his wise uncle (Donald Sutherland in the film), who has gone native.

Lurking under both films, the mystery remains, and with it the notion of the indomitable, unfathomable Briton. As someone remarks in Centurion, “Even the land wants us dead.” And in The Eagle of the Ninth we read that the Caledonians “loosed their arrows into us from behind every tuft of sodden heather, and disappeared into the mist before we could come to grips with them. And the parties sent out after them never came back.”

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Post by Admin on Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:11 pm

Seven Screen Gems of the Ancient World
The empire strikes back this week, as celebrates the release of Neil Marshall's CENTURION

Neil Marshall heads on a very roman holiday with his latest film CENTURION. Lead by Irish actor Michael Fassbender, the film follows the story of Rome's effots to take Britain for its own - much to the Picts dismay... With Rome retreating and the Pict king out for revenge, Fassbender and his few remaining merry men are on the run from Pict mercenary Etain - played by a mute Bond girl Olga Kurylenko

To celebrate the release of CENTURION, picks seven of the best movies of the ancient world...


Charlton Heston takes his turn as a galley slave before slugging it out with Stephen Boyd in the chariot races. A true Roman epic - it runs a hefty 417 minutes!


The dimple-chinned Kirk Douglas plays the gladiator hero who leads a revolt, but eventually ends up getting crucified. It could only be Stanley Kubrick...


Ridley Scott's Gladiator showed us Rome as we'd never seen it before - fast, exciting and complete with a digitally modelled Colosseum. The film brought the ancient world back to the big screen, not to mention one Russell Crowe...


Directed by Tinto Brass and based on a screenplay by Gore Vidal, this 1979 film is a portrayal of the depraved emperor Caligula. Malcolm McDowell plays a fiendish, depraved and merciless Caligula - which is exactly how he should be.


Rome, created by Bruno Heller originally aired on HBO in 2005 and ran for two seasons. The series was filmed most notably in the Cinecittà studios in Italy where Ben Hur was made five decades earlier. Irish actor Ciarán Hinds earned an IFTA for his perfomrance of Julius Caesar in the series.


Based on Homer's Epic the Iliad, Troy is Wolfgang's Peterson's (of Das Boot fame) attempt at bringing to the big screen history's most famous battle. Granted not the strongest film of its genre but it played its part in bringing other films such as 300 and Alexander to the big screen.

Quo Vadis

One of the highest grossing films at the time of its release, Robert Taylor plays the Roman commander who falls for a Christian girl, while Peter Ustinov has a great time going way over-the-top as the Emperor Nero...

CENTURION is in Irish cinemas now.

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Post by Admin on Sat Aug 28, 2010 9:39 pm

Found underneath the A1, the home of Rome's legendary lost Ninth Legion
Posted by kluciole at 8/28/2010 5:22 PM

An artists' impression of the imperial Roman fort at Healam Bridge. Archaeologists working on the Highways Agency scheme, believe the 'industrial estate' which has been discovered helped sustain the military in this imperial fort

Ahead of their time: An artists' impression of the imperial Roman fort at Healam Bridge, North Yorkshire. Archaeologists working on the Highways Agency scheme, believe the 'industrial estate' which has been discovered helped sustain the military in this imperial fort

Found underneath the A1, the home of Rome's legendary lost Ninth Legion
26th August 2010

It was one of the oldest and most feared legions in the entire Roman Empire.

But, at some point after 108CE, it vanished - never to be heard from again.

Now archaeologists have discovered a Roman 'industrial estate' near ruins which may once have been home to the famous Roman Ninth Hispanic Legion - the lost legion.

The unearthed site includes the remains of a water-powered flour mill used to grind grain and produce food for the soldiers, clothes, food remains, graves and pottery.
The site was excavated as part of a £318 million Highways Agency scheme to upgrade the A1 between Dishforth and Leeming in North Yorkshire.

Remains of a sacrificed horse recovered from the site,

Remains of a sacrificed horse recovered from the site, which scientists believe was an important centre during the Roman occupation


They might have changed the way we live, but the Romans were rather short on fashion sense.

Romans kept their feet warm by wearing socks with sandals the archaelogists discovered.

Rust on nails from 2,000-year-old footwear showed impressions made by fibres.

It is close to a ruined fort at Healam Bridge, which formed part of the Roman frontier 2,000 years ago.

The Ninth Legion had fought victorious campaigns across the Empire, from Gaul to Africa, Sicily to and Spain and Germania to Britain.

Many believe that the Ninth Legion disappeared after it was sent to fight the savage Picts in Scotland and never returned.

Other theories are more mundane, however , and suggest that it was either sent to another part of the Empire where it was disbanded or that its name was stricken from the records after it was shamed in battle.

Theories about what happened to the Ninth Legion have spawned a number of novels, TV series and films.

Excavations carried out during a £318million upgrade of the road in North Yorkshire have given archaeologists an insight into how the economy supported a military garrison all those centuries ago.


Film : Centurion (2010) Quintus Dias (Michael Fassbender), Brick (Liam Cunningham)

* The Ninth Legion formed part of the invasion of Britain under Aulus Plautius in AD43.
* Previously it had fought the Gauls in 58-51BC and was loyal to Caesar during the Civil War against Pompey in 49-45BC
* It was stationed at a fortress near Lincoln before moving to Yorkshire.
* The Ninth suffered terribly in the revolt led by Queen Boudicca in 60 BC, losing up to 80% of its men
* It was never heard of after AD 117.
* Some believe that the legion may have been beaten in battles with the Picts, so disbanded in disgrace and was never mentioned in writing again.
* This theory also suggests that the loss of the Ninth in the North prompted Emperor Hadrian to cut his losses and build his wall
* Others believe that it may have simply been transferred to another part of the Empire, possibly the Netherlands.
* The mystery formed part of the plot of the recent film Centurion starring Michael Fassbender, above, and countless novels

The area was developed to provide food, drink and other trade-related services to the neighbouring imperial fort at Healam Bridge, near Dishforth.

There was a water-powered flour mill to produce food for the garrison as well as legions travelling along the Roman road of Dere Street.

Large timber buildings next door, probably occupied up until the 4th century, would have been used to process food and livestock, brew beer and make pottery.

Archaeologists have found coins, brooches, shards of pottery and half a ton of butchered animal bones on the site.

They dug up 14 human cremations and the well-preserved skeleton of a horse underneath a building.

It is thought to have been slaughtered as a sacrifice to the gods to bring the building luck.

Cultural heritage team leader Blaise Vyner said: 'We know a lot about Roman forts, which have been extensively studied, but to excavate an industrial area with a mill is really exciting.

'We hope it can tell us more about how such military outposts catered for their needs, as self-sufficiency would have been important.'

The industrial area comprised a series of large timber buildings, mostly on the north side of a beck, which powered the mill.

It would have supplied the fort with goods and provisions - probably processing meat and other food, as well as flour - and could also have developed into something of a settlement focus in its own right.

There is also an indication that the Roman occupants may have worn socks - rust on the nail from a Roman sandal appears to have impressions from fibres which could suggest that a sock-type garment was being worn.

He said: 'You only have to look up the road to Catterick to see how garrison towns are serviced by local shops. Perhaps we have something similar here.'

Gary Frost, Highways Agency project manager, said the excavation, which started in July 2009 and was completed this summer, gave experts a unique window on the past.

He said: 'They uncovered a hidden world, showing how the Romans sustained the fort and the surrounding area.'

A bird's eye view of the site which includes the remains of a water-powered flour mill used to grind grain and produce food for the soldiers, clothes, food remains, graves and pottery

Under the A1: A bird's eye view of the site which includes the remains of a water-powered flour mill used to grind grain and produce food for the soldiers, clothes, food remains, graves and pottery

A 2nd century AD Roman brooch recovered from the site

A Roman coin 218-222 AD, showing Julia Maesa - Grandmother of two Roman Emperors

A 2nd century AD Roman brooch, recovered from the site and a Roman coin 218-222 AD, showing Julia Maesa - Grandmother of two Roman Emperors

Article: HERE

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Post by Admin on Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:20 pm

Posted by kunthra

Centurion is the title of a film released this month in the U.S.. The film is a U.K. production and was inspired by the story of the Ninth Legion. Historically speaking, the Ninth Legion was scheduled to march into present day Scotland, but the record of the legion disappeared. The film gives a possible explanation as to what happened to the Ninth Legion. For those of you who like action thrillers, you might be interested to take a look at this film.

A centurion (centurio) was a high ranking military officer of the Roman army. Under the Marian reforms, a centurion commanded 100 men. The centurion was responsible for training and drilling his men and leading them into battle. To be a centurion, one had to be able to read and write Latin, have some sort of political, economic or social connections and have some experience on the battlefield. Being a centurion was dangerous. They were often on the front lines, fighting with their men.

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Post by Admin on Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:30 pm

Daily Record man Craig finds out if he's got what it takes to make it as a Roman soldier

Sep 6 2010 By Craig McQueen

EIGHTEEN-MILE marches, brutal combat training and years spent away from home - the life of a Roman soldier was far from an easy one.

Those who signed up for the Roman army would spend the next 25 years defending the empire, stretching from Britain to the Middle East and involving all sorts of tasks, from military campaigns to building infrastructure.

But at least it was a job that kept you in good shape, which I discovered after spending just a few hours with some modern-day experts.

They'd thrown down the gauntlet to mark the DVD release of British film Centurion, telling the fictional story of the ill-fated Ninth Legion who marched towards Scotland, hell-bent on wiping out the Picts.

Michael Fassbender stars as centurion Quintus Dias, the sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, while The Wire star Dominic West is the commander of the Ninth Legion.

Today, my centurion would be just as scary. He's Ocratius Maximus, better-known as Paul Harston. The 43-year-old runs Roman Tours, a firm providing historical characters for clients in all walks of life, from corporate hospitality to education.

He told me life as a Roman soldier was not for the faint-hearted, but it did have the benefit of forcing you to use muscles you never knew you had.

He said: "The first layer you wear as a soldier is the tunica, which is made out of wool. It's usually quite large, it adds a bit of comfort and it's drawn up around the waist to add an extra bit of padding and to give you ease of movement.

"The next layer is a subarmalis, which is made of leather or canvas. It takes the weight of the armour, it creates a comfort layer and is also an insulation layer to protect the expensive woollen layer underneath.

"It's also a secondary layer of protection as stabbing through that is quite difficult.

"Then you've got your lorica hamata, which is chain mail for the layman. One size fits all and it's a protective layer against cutting, stabbing or slashing.

"Your belt is a cinculum militaire, which is a plated belt with an apron to cover your groin. On your left hip is a small knife called a pugio and on your right hip is the infamous gladius, the short, stabbing sword, which is drawn with the right hand. You'll then wear a neck scarf called a focale, which gives you comfort and your galea, or helmet.

"This is a brilliant piece of kit with a butting plate across the front to absorb energy from blows and cheek guards to protect the jaw without limiting vision.

"Then there's the massive shield, called the scutum, which is made from thin laminated layers of wood glued on top of each other before being covered with leather and edged with bronze to resist splitting."

Just standing with all this gear on is hard work. While it did feel comfortable enough to keep on for a while, the extended period of drill which followed proved tough enough to leave me out of breath.

Paul, or Ocratius as I would now call him, said: "You'll be aching in places you never knew you had. Over time it'll change the way you move and your posture. Your body will start developing muscles and layers of fat you didn't have before."

Immediately, it became clear why those who make a habit of stepping back in time like this - be it for fun or to make a living - are in great shape.

The load I had to carry didn't stop there. I was then handed a javelin called a pilum, to be carried in my right hand, and a heavy pack called an impedimenta, to be carried on the end of a pole slung over my shoulder.

Ocratius said: "It contains three days' rations of food, water and wine, clothes, blankets, spare clothing, sandals, socks, subligaria, which is underwear, an oil lamp and a statue of your favourite god or goddess. Then there's dice games, fire lighting kits, knives for butchery, some form of musical instrument, perhaps a frying pan, a fish hook and a kit for sewing and repairing your gear.

"Basically, you've got to be self-sufficient.

"Your life is in that pack. You'll notice how much you have to fidget and fumble with it until you get to a place where you're comfortable with it."

He wasn't wrong. Carrying it all required brute strength and technique as well. So much so, by the time we reached our training ground - which was only a short distance away - I was ready to admit defeat.

Only this wasn't an option. As well as better sanitation, medicine, education, irrigation, public health, roads, a freshwater system, baths and public order, the Romans also pioneered many modern warfare techniques over their centuries of battles and I was now to be schooled in the basics.

As a group, we were taught how to use our wooden shields to form a defensive wall to stave off the enemy, and that's not easy when your own centurion tests out your efforts by launching himself at you at full speed.

Again, it was a test not only of strength, but of ability as well. Stance and posture had to be just right if you were to prevent yourself from falling over.

Soon, we started work on the most difficult bit - close-quarter combat. Using a range of different weapons, we were shown how to go about protecting ourselves using our shields, while at the same time finding a way to strike that lethal blow.

I did manage some success, but it was outweighed by the number of times I was easily picked off by my opponents. I'd have been lucky to last 10 minutes on the battlefield.

But it did prove waging war Roman-style required a serious level of fitness and sharpness. If the physical demands weren't tiring enough, keeping your wits about you as the enemy approached was just as hard.

Ocratius said: "But by the first and second centuries, people were volunteering to be soldiers and spending 25 years in service. After that time, you got a good pension. It was so attractive you didn't need conscription.

"It's estimated the survival rate of Roman soldiers at this time was in excess of 70 per cent, as two thirds of them didn't see active combat, such was the size of the empire.

"On the borders of the empire where there was a lot of fighting and killing, the survival rate dropped."

It would take a lot more training if I was to make the grade. The Roman empire might have been feared and admired throughout Europe, but civilian life is more appealing.

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Post by Admin on Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:44 pm

Sunday, 19 September 2010
Trivium Maximus - 100 Facts About Ancient Rome
When Empire did a feature in their November 2009 issue about the then-forthcoming film Centurion, it was accompanied by 100 facts about ancient Rome.

I'll be bringing you all 100 facts over five posts of twenty each. I hope you enjoy them. If you don't, then I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next!...

1 to 20
21 to 40
41 to 60
61 to 80
81 to 100
Posted by Adam at 20:31
Labels: Trivium Maximus (Main)

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Post by Admin on Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:46 pm

Sunday, 19 September 2010
Trivium Maximus - 1 to 20

Thumbs up for the first twenty Roman facts!...

1) The Romans had automatic doors.

2) They also had one-armed bandits.

3) The initials SPQR stand for The Senate and the Roman People, and were the banner under which Rome conquered.

4) According to legend, Rome was founded by twins Romulus and Remus, who as feral children suckled a wolf.

5) The Latin word for she-wolf, lupa, also means prostitute.

6) In addition to the Romulus and Remus legend, Rome is also said to have been founded by refugees from Troy.

7) Roman public toilets typically seated between ten and thirty people, without any privacy.

Cool They didn't use toilet paper, rather a wet sponge on a stick.

9) The Colosseum was built with money from the world's first paid-for public toilets.

10) There were no public toilets at amphitheatres.

11) The Colosseum was named after the Colossus statue of Nero that used to stand on the site.

12) As well as hosting gladiatorial fights, the Colosseum put on live sex shows.

13) Despite their reputation for sexual promiscuity, excessive lustiness in a Roman was considered a character flaw.

14) The Romans believed oral sex to be unclean.

15) Romans considered small penises beautiful. Large ones were mocked.

16) If a Roman man had sex with a slave, it wasn't adultery.

17) If a Roman man paid for sex, that wasn't adultery either.

18) Unpaid-for sex with a freeborn man or woman was adultery, which was punishable by death.

19) If a Roman slept with a son or duaghter who was the result of sex with a slave, it wasn't considered incest.

20) Rome's Circus Maximus - where chariot races took place - could hold around 270,000 spectators.

Posted by Adam at 20:38
Labels: Trivium Maximus

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Post by Admin on Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:23 pm

Top 10 Myths About the Romans

Share This- Published May 5, 2008

For many, the only exposure to Ancient Rome comes from what they have seen in the movies or on television. Unfortunately, films like Gladiator, Spartacus, Barabbas, and Demetrius and the Gladiators don’t present a very accurate depiction of life in Rome and the arena.

Considering the fact that the Roman Empire existed for so long, and so much of our own Western society has derived from it, it is no surprise that we all have at least one or two misconceptions about the Empire and its people.

For this reason, we have put together a list of the most misconceptions people hold about the Ancient Roman society and customs. Fortunately most are easily proven wrong as you will see when you read on:
Thumbs Up

Contrary to popular belief, the emperor did not give a thumbs up or down for a gladiator as a signal to kill his enemy. The emperor (and only the emperor) would give an open or closed hand – if his palm was flat, it meant “spare his life”, if it was closed, it meant “kill him”. If a gladiator killed his opponent before the emperor gave his permission, the gladiator would be put on trial for murder, as only the emperor had the right to condemn a man to death. In the image above we see this myth in action.


HBO/BBC created an excellent series called “Rome” which covers a number of years of the Roman Empire. In the series they have, unfortunately, slandered the good name of one of the main Characters, Atia (Mother of Octavian – Augustus – and niece of Julius Caesar). In the show she is seen as a licentious, self-absorbed and manipulative schemer who is Mark Antony’s lover. In reality, Atia was a highly moral woman, well regarded by Roman Society at the time. Tacitus had this to say of her:

In her presence no base word could be uttered without grave offence, and no wrong deed done. Religiously and with the utmost delicacy she regulated not only the serious tasks of her youthful charges, but also their recreations and their games.


A very persistent myth about the Romans is that they would feast until they were full, then visit a room called a vomitorium to “vomit” the food out so they could start over again. This is a myth – the vomitoria were actually passages that enabled people to move quickly to and from their seats in an amphitheater. These vomitoria made it possible for thousands of Roman citizens to be seated within minutes. In the photograph above [source] we see a real vomitorium.
Romans Spoke Latin

While it is true that the Romans did speak a form of Latin known as vulgar Latin, it was quite different from the Classical Latin that we generally think of them speaking (Classical Latin is what we usually learn at University). Vulgar Latin is the language that the Romance languages (Italian, French, etc.) developed from. Classical Latin was used as an official language only. In addition, members of the Eastern Roman Empire were speaking Greek exclusively by the 4th century, and Greek had replaced Latin as the official language.
Poor Plebeians

In modern days we tend to use the term plebeian to refer to the common or poor classes, but in Rome, a plebeian was just a member of the general populace of Rome (as opposed to the Patricians who were the privileged classes). Plebeians could, and very often did, become very wealthy people – but wealth did not change their class. Wikipedia has an excellent article on this which you can read here.

Romans Wore Togas

When we think of Romans, we almost always imagine men in togas. But in fact, the toga was a very formal piece of clothing – to say that the Romans always wore togas would be the same as saying that the English always wear top-hats and tails. Juvenal says this: “There are many parts of Italy, to tell the truth, in which no man puts on a toga until he is dead”. The average roman would have worn tunics.
The Salting of Carthage

There is a popular misconception that when Rome conquered Carthage, they salted the farmlands to prevent anything from growing. In fact, this is a 20th century myth which has no bearing in reality. When the Romans conquered Carthage, they went from house to house capturing slaves and slaughtering the rest. They burnt the city to the ground and left it as a pile of ruins. This resulted in the loss of a great deal of historical information on Carthage, which makes the study of it difficult in modern times.
Et tu, Brute

Caesar’s last words were actually “And you also” as recorded (in Greek) by Suetonius: Και συ Τέκνον (kai su teknon). These words were spoken to Brutus, which is undoubtedly the reason that Shakespeare coined the phrase: “And you, Brutus”. The meaning of his last words is unknown – but it would seem fair to think that he was telling his murderer: “you will be next”. Caesar was bi-lingual (Greek and Latin) and Greek was the dominant language in Rome at the time, so it is not unreasonable that his last words would have been uttered in that language.
Gladiators Were All Men

In fact, women were gladiators too (though they were called gladiatrices – or gladiatrix for singular). While the first documented appearance of gladiatrices appears under the reign of Nero (37 – 68 AD), there are implications in earlier documents that strongly suggest they existed before. A strong condemnation against female gladiators of the Flavian and Trajanic eras can be found in the Satire VI of Juvenal, decrying the fact female gladiators were typically from upper-class families and seeking thrill and attention. Emperor Severus banned female gladiators around AD 200 but records show that this ban was largely ignored.
Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned

In fact, most modern historians believe that Nero was not even in Rome when the fire started. The fire started in shops selling flammable goods, though it was later blamed on the Christians (which brought on a new onslaught of persecutions). Nero was actually in Antium when the fire started, and when he heard about it he rushed back to Rome to organize relief efforts. According to Tacitus: “the population searched for a scapegoat and rumors held Nero responsible. To diffuse blame, Nero targeted a sect called the Christians. He ordered Christians to be thrown to dogs, while others were crucified and burned.”

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Post by Admin on Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:20 am

Peripheral Vision: 'Centurion' Is Myth Made Real
The Ninth Legion is bloddied by Neil Marshall
By Michael Simpson | Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Neil Marshall has got a reputation. The British writer-director of Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Doomsday has been likened to, among others, Eli Roth and Rob Zombie. That's by virtue of being named with them as a member of the so-called Splat Pack.
Michael Fassbender is a standout as Quintus, the Centurion of the title.<br />

If you have seen any of their films you'll know that their connection is obvious. Bloody obvious. The gushing red stuff comes in buckets when Roth and Rob Z. are behind the camera and Marshall can clearly stand the sight of it, too. Dog Soldiers and The Descent were fine suspense films but you wouldn't watch them with your granny. Unless, that is, she once worked in an abattoir.

Marshall has followed up those films with the equally bload-soaked Centurion, which was recently released on DVD by eOne. Part Roman epic, part chase film and part sword-and-sandal adventure, Centurion is a thematic departure for the director in ways that should strengthen his filmmaking credentials. It has faint hints of the supernatural here and there but clearly Marshall intended it to be grounded in reality. Yet, the inspiration was a myth, however, as Marshall explains in an interview on the recent DVD release.

"Somebody told me about the legend of the Ninth Legion, this Roman Legion that marched into the mists of Scotland and vanished without a trace." Marshall says. "It's this huge great mystery and books have been written about it. I started doing my research and found out that it is just that: just a myth, and historians have since disproved the whole idea. But I just thought the legend is better than the truth in this case."

In Marshall's version of the fate of the Ninth, the Legion is sent north to eradicate the troublesome Picts. These Celtic tribes object to Rome's occupation of their land and have been helping to keep the Romans from securing a hold on Britain. Despite their supposedly superior training and organization, the soldiers of the Ninth are no match for the Pict's guerilla tactics and familiarity with the bleak, cold mountainous terrain. The Legion falls into an obvious trap and is decimated by a decisive. Only a handful of Romans survive. Led by the Centurion of the title, Quintus Dias (played by Michael Fassbender), the lucky few set out across the forbidding landscape pursued by an enemy that has condemned them to a brutal death.

"I wanted to find out what might have actually happened in the myth if they did disappear," Marshall says. "Were they ambushed by the Picts and what did the Picts do to them and if there were any survivors, how would that have worked out. "

For Marshall, Centurion is a temporal about-turn after his last film, the futuristic sci-fi thriller Doomsday. Both Doomsday and Centurion, however, suggest that Marshall has a fascination with the cunning tribal warriors in Britain's early history. It was mediaeval history he referenced in Doomsday. In Centurion he turns the clock back as far as 117 AD.

Although Centurion is history not horror, Marshall can't entirely escape his inclinations towards the latter genre. The hints of the paranormal are embodied in the character of Etain, the Picts' best hunter (played by Olga Kurylenko). At times her abilities seem almost preternatural. She is also reminiscent of a Predator in the ruthless dedication she shows to hunting down and killing Quintus' band of fugitives (coincidentally the plots of Centurion and Nimród Antal's Predators have much in common). Horrific imagery is also inherent Marshall's style. Marshall, himself, described fighting in the age when the film is set as 'barbaric.' Combat was hand-to-hand. Being able to maim your opponent first was the difference between life and death. Centurion thus provided its director with historical justification for grisly imagery.

"I'm not one to hold back when it comes to the bloodletting on screen and certainly not on a film when it comes to people hacking at each other with axes and swords," Marshall says with a smile. "I figure, lets depict it as it probably was, which is brutal and nasty."

Legend of the Legion
The legend of the fate of the Ninth Legion has gripped the imagination of several writers and filmmakers. Perhaps the most famous story based on the myth is Rosemary Sutcliffe's 1954 children's story, 'The Eagle of the Ninth.' This tale has already been adapted into a BBC TV serial and will be soon be seen on the big screen courtesy of Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland). The Eagle will star Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland and Mark Strong. It is due for release in February, 2011. Other filmed or printed versions of the legend include the following:

* 'Red Shift' – Published by Alan Garner in 1973
* 'Legion from the Shadows' - Published by Karl Edward Wagner in 1976
* The Eagle of the Ninth - BBC TV serial of Sutcliff’s book aired in 1977
* 'Warriors of Alavna' – Published by N. M. Browne in 2000
* 'The Last Legion' – Published by Valerio Massimo Manfredi in 2002
* The Last Legion – 2007 feature film directed by Doug Lefler and starring Colin Firth and Sir Ben Kingsley, based on Valerio Massimo Manfredi’s novel
* 'Last of the Ninth' - Published by Stephen Lorne Bennett this past August

Notwithstanding the nastiness, Centurion should not be dismissed as merely an excuse for Marshall to indulge his taste for bloodletting. First of all, it is an effective thriller with a convincing period atmosphere, an intelligent (if sometimes clichéd) script and some excellent performances. It is also elevated by some fantastic scenery and a dramatic score by Ilan Eshkeri.

Standouts in the cast include The Wire's Dominic West and Magneto-to-be, Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class). Both men, it seems, were born to play Romans. It may be no coincidence that each is reminiscent of another famous actor who featured in one or more memorable Roman epics.

In West's case that actor is Oliver Reed (Gladiator). West and Reed share a similar physical appearance and the former brings the same air of authority to the role of doomed Roman General Titus Flavius Virilus that Reed was capable of. Fassbender, meanwhile, has the something of Charlton Heston (Ben Hur, Antony and Cleopatra) in his facial features. Like Heston, he suits the role of an underdog driven by pride and duty to overcome a seemingly hopeless cause. His physical stature, body language and enunciation are perfect for Qunitus. He is both the film's titular character and its emotional heart. Through Fassbender, Quintus gives the Romans an admirable face despite the Picts' accusations that the invaders have raped, brutalized and murdered the local people.

"[He is] somebody who lives in the shadow of his father, as such, and feels like he's got a lot to prove and basically volunteers for the post to come here [to Scotland] basically to, I guess, prove himself," Fassbender explains on the DVD. "As the film progresses he's thrown in the position of command. I thought it was quite interesting to sort of play with his doubts and the journey of the man in terms that he actually steps up to the plate and takes command."

Also worth noting about Centurion is the lengths the cast and crew went to in making the film feel real in more ways than just being brutal. Most of the action takes place on and around the mountains of Scotland. Unusually for a film of this type, that is also where it was filmed. It can be a bleak, wet, cold environment now and it would have been far more of a wilderness in Roman times. Marshall's intent was to make the audience feel what it would have been like to be stuck out there in the mud, fog and snow.

"It was vital that we captured the landscape when we were up in Scotland and get the big shots and get the mountains and all that kind of stuff," Marshall said in the behind-the-scenes DVD featurette 'Blood, Fire and Fury,'. "My only comments about the palette when we were filming it [were] that I want it to feel cold. I want the audience to feel what the actors are feeling."

To capture the forbidding landscape, the crew of Centurion had to carry their gear into the piercing wind on the moors and mountainsides that were used as locations. This included cameras, wardrobe pieces, weapons and, of course, bags and bags of fake blood. The result is film with a haunting beauty. It could sell the Scottish Highlands to tourists if scenes of stunning scenery were not often punctuated by dismemberments, decapitations and stabbings.

Given the excellent period detail and high production values Marshall has achieved on a relatively small budget, Centurion could be his most accomplished movie to date. It is not perfect: the final resolution felt a little too romantic in light of what had gone before and there were places in which the brutality did seem to go beyond what was necessary for capturing realism. Overall, though, it succeeds at being a grim but accessible and convincing historical action-adventure. There is an expansive feel about it but its style is a far cry from classic Hollywood Roman epics. In terms of its depiction of ancient combat, it might be the sword-and-sandal equivalent of Saving Private Ryan. When people fight with swords and axes, limbs are gonna get lost.

Sounds like the perfect film for a man with a reputation for spilling blood.

Centurion was released on Blu-ray and DVD in North America by eOne (left). The special features accompanying the film include a commentary by Neil Marshall, Sam McCurdy (Director of Photography), Simon Bowles (Production Designer) and Paul Hyett (Special Make-Up Effects Designer). There is also a behind-the-scenes featurette and a selection of interviews with members of the film's cast and crew (from which the quotes in this article were taken).


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Post by Admin on Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:06 am

A bloody renaissance
Posted 19 hours ago

Blood and lust, religion and corruption, humanity at its best and its worst: Ancient times were a brutal time to live and die. And now the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages are back for our entertainment.

With poetic licence freely exercised, ancient sagas from these eras are energizing movies and miniseries on a scale unseen since the 1960s. This renaissance is showing up in home entertainment, in many cases as direct-to-DVD releases, part of an accelerating trend.

I recently wrote about Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn's Valhalla Rising, starring Mads Mikkelsen. Even though the eccentric Refn thinks he was making a unique science-fiction film that just happened to be set among Vikings, Valhalla Rising is far from alone. In recent weeks, we have seen a flood of new titles with ancient or historic settings, among them the final season of The Tudors, set just beyond the Middle Ages, as well as season one of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, a retelling of the mythic story of the Roman gladiator.

Also new to home entertainment is The Pillars of the Earth, an eight-part mini-series based on Ken Follet's best-selling novel about the building of a cathedral in 12th century England. That sits well with Arn: The Knight Templar, a Swedish-based European production about The Crusades; Agora, a Spanish production set in Egypt's fabled Alexandria during the twilight years of the Roman Empire;

and Centurion, a bloody British thriller that loosely speculates on the fate of the Roman Empire's legendary Ninth Legion, which may have been decimated in a battle with the Picts in Scotland 1,900 years ago.

We take a closer look:

* The Pillars of the Earth (DVD & Blu-ray): Follet's cathedral tale is fictional but set against the real history of the bloody civil war, which became known as The Anarchy, that followed the death of King Henry I. We focus on a humble yet visionary stonemason who starts building the cathedral for the glory of God. But King Stephen, his nobles and his church leaders are corrupt and murderous. The cathedral becomes the crucible of a decades-long battle between good and evil. Rufus Sewell, Eddie Redmayne, Donald Sutherland, Matthew MacFadyen, Gordon Pinsent and Ian McShane headline a strong international ensemble. The storytelling starts strongly in early episodes, flags in the repetitive middle, but thankfully makes a strong return at the end under director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan. This is a co-production of Canada and Germany with major help from England's Scott brothers.

* Arn: The Knight Templar (DVD & Blu-ray): In the midst of political turmoil in Scandinavia, and mired in a controversy over choosing his one true love, a young man (Joakim Natterqvist) is banished to the Holy Land to fight in the Crusades. Despite having to face his friend and foe, the Islamic hero Saladin, Arn survives his 20 years, only to face more bloodshed back in Sweden. This version is a streamlined cut of an original two-part epic and it emphasizes the honour of the moral individual over the corruption of Church and State. Inspired by a true story.

* Agora (DVD only): Rachel Weisz is excellent as Roman-era astronomer and philosopher Hypatia, although Alejandro Amenabar's film is uneven and off-kilter at times. Nevertheless, using historical facts for his melodrama, Amenabar depicts the religious massacres that turned the Romans, Christians and Jews into equal opportunity murderers during the early 400s.

* Centurion (DVD & Bluray): Michael Fassbender roots his saga in a heightened reality as English writer-director Neil Marshall goes off the beaten path to dramatize the fate of the Ninth Legion. The paradox is that, while Fassbender is our hero as the Roman centurion, our sympathies are with the wild Picts -- especially Olga Kurylenko's wild-child -- because they are defending their territories against an arrogant, racist and bloodthirsty invader.

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Post by Admin on Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:20 pm

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Director and Writer: Neil Marshall

Michael Fassbender - Centurion Quintus Dias
Dominic West - General Titus Flavius Virilus
Olga Kurylenko - Etain


My Plot:

In 117 A.D. , The Roman outpost was raid by the Picts. All roman soldiers were killed except dias. Dias was taken as prisoner but later he used to escape.

The Ninth Legion marching north to take down the picts. While marching they saw picts chasing dias. Dias was rescued by the roman soldiers. After they proceed marching to finish their mission. The Ninth Legion were ambush in unfamiliar ground. All romans soldiers of the ninth legion were killed except the 7 soldiers including dias.

The seven brave men try to rescue their general. But they are not success to rescue the general but they killed the Son of Picts King. Because of that happening. The Picts King ordered his men including Etain to kill those roman soldiers. The seven soldiers were chased. Until they become three because some of them were killed while they are chased.

Dias and Two of his men. Used to rest to the witch's house. After few days of recovering Dias and his men continue the adventure. While walking they saw a roman outpost. While in that outpost they see Etain's Group. They defend the outpost until 1 from them were killed and also Etain's Group were killed including Etain.

Dias and his men continue their journey until they find the Roman's Army Base. But the roman upper man planned to killed dias. Dias survived and he left the base. He go back to the beautiful witch house.

Movie End.
History: The Massacre of Ninth Legion:

The Massacre of the Ninth Legion was an event during the revolt against Roman rule in Britain launched by Boudica, queen of the Iceni of Norfolk. Attempting to relieve the besieged colonia of Camulodunum (Colchester, Essex), a large vexillation of the Legio IX Hispana, led by Quintus Petillius Cerialis, was battled by a horde of British tribes, lead by the Iceni. Approximately 80% of the Romans soldiers were killed in the battle. The event is recorded by the historian Tacitus in his Annals.

In AD 60 or 61, the southeastern area of the island rose in revolt under Boudica, while the governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was campaigning in Wales. The Iceni were joined by the Trinovantes, and their first target was Camulodunum, formerly the Trinovantian capital, now a colonia or settlement of discharged Roman soldiers. Tacitus reports it was poorly defended, and archaeology confirms its former military fortifications had been levelled by this time. The colonists appealed for aid to the procurator, Catus Decianus, who sent only two hundred auxiliaries. Camulodunum was burned, and the temple, where the last of the defenders took refuge, fell after a two-day siege.

Defeat of the Ninth Legion:
The Ninth Legion, commanded by Quintus Petillius Cerialis, attempted to relieve the siege. It is unlikely that the entire legionary strength of some 5,000 men were involved in the battle. Detachments of the legion were spread out across a network of small forts; on short notice, Cerialis was likely able to call on only the first cohort, possibly two others, auxiliary infantry, and a unit of some 500 cavalry - a total of perhaps 2,500 men. They may have taken the Roman road to Camulodunum from Durovigtum (Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire), a march of some 75 miles which would have taken three days. However, they arrived too late to relieve the colonia. The British tribes fought the legion in the field and defeated it, routing the Romans. Tacitus says their entire infantry strength was wiped out, with only Cerialis and his cavalry escaping to their fortified camp. Despite this significant event, the battle is not recorded in any large detail. The location of the battle is claimed by the village of Great Wratting, in Suffolk and a village in Essex.

While the Romans regrouped, the rebels destroyed two more cities, Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St Albans, Hertfordshire). Ultimately, Suetonius Paulinus was able to force the Britons into a pitched battle now known as the Battle of Watling Street, probably somewhere in the Midlands, and despite being heavily outnumbered, defeated them. The army in Britain was reinforced to the tune of 2,000 legionaries, 4,000 auxiliaries and 1,000 cavalry. Quintus Petillius Cerialis went on to aid his brother-in-law Vespasian's campaign for the empire in 69, and successfully suppressed the rebellion of Civilis in Gaul later the same year. He was appointed governor of Britain from 71 to 74, and was consul for the second time in 74, and possibly again in 83.

Source : Wikipedia : Massacre of Ninth Legion
Posted by LordRaizo at 10:24 PM

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