Romans Just Like Us (on screen anyway)

From Natalie Haynes in the Times’ entertainment pages (this one is filling my box and Facebook notification thingy; tip o’ the pileus to quite a few folks) … a good excerpt:

Spartacus reflects so many of our current obsessions: the actors are uniformly gorgeous, toned and buff, like models. It’s never questioned. These are gladiators — they spend all day working out. Well, maybe, but think what the Romans and Greeks used to look like on TV: Peter Ustinov was no John Hannah. And it’s even more obvious when you look at Perseus in the original Clash of the Titans movie and this year’s remake. Harry Hamlin was very pretty, but he would have needed a year in the gym to look like Sam Worthington.

So while it’s tempting to believe that we are like the Romans that we see on TV — the sex, the violence, the swearing, the beautiful naked ladies and the hot, naked guys — the truth is that we are simply constructing a vision of the Romans that shows us as we would like to see ourselves. Which raises the question of how much historical accuracy matters in entertainment.

via Why the Romans on screen are just like us – Times Online.

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