Sunday, July 02, 2006

The way we learn history now...

I have just watched “Murder in Rome” on the ABC. It was a dramatisation of Cicero’s first case: the defence of Sextus Roscius against the charge of patricide in 81BC. I have read Steven Saylor’s “Roman Blood”, the first in the Subura Series with the world’s first detective, Gordianus the Finder, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Timewatch’s production is quite good, and certainly brought forth the facts of the case, although perhaps the scale was a little diminished—in the size of the crowd in the forum, the intimidation of Chyrsogonus’ forces, in the length of the advocate’s speeches, and in the need to project the voice (many comments were almost “sotto voce” rather than pitched in such a way to carry to the back of the crowd). Still, Cathy sat through all of it and watched it with me, and anyone who had never heard of the case before will have come away with the basic facts. Proof once again that we all learn our history on the telly—or in the historical novel (eg. Saylor) or in the cinema (eg. Da Vinci Code). One day, I might even read Cicero’s actual account of it, but I was rather put off Cicero in reading the Catiline Orations in second year Latin at Adelaide Uni…


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