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Rome, the Eternal Story: From Ben Hur to The Eagle

Posted January 21, 2011 to photo album "Rome, the Eternal Story: From Ben Hur to The Eagle"

The Eagle explores a part of ancient Roman history rarely seen on stage. But the history of Rome changes throughout history as well.

Slide 1: Exploring New Territory
Slide 2: Rome - The Eternal, Ever-Changing City
Slide 3: Rome and the American Imagination
Slide 4: Ben Hur, the great American/Roman Novel
Slide 5: Ben Hur (1907) in Silent Film
Slide 6: Ben-Hur (1925) and the Epic Grandeur of Rome
Slide 7: Scipio Africanus: The Defeat of  Hannibal and the Fascist Italy
Slide 8: Quo Vadis - Nero’s Rome as a Totalitarian State
Slide 9: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1959) and the Race to Freedom
Slide 10: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1959) and Making Rome Gay
Slide 11: Spartacus (1960) and the Return of the Opressed
Slide 12: Cleopatra and American Excess
Slide 13: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Rome turned Jewish
Slide 14: Satryicon (1969), Ancient Rome through Fellini’s Eyes
Slide 15: Caligula (1979): Rome Goes All The Way
Slide 16: Monty Python’s The Life of Brian - Rome as Parody
Slide 16: Gladiator (2000), and the Return of Rome
Slide 2: Rome - The Eternal, Ever-Changing City

Slide 2: Rome - The Eternal, Ever-Changing City

Director Kevin MacDonald’s Rome is not the Rome found in other films. As Roland Barthes so perceptively pointed out in his 1954 essay “The Romans in Films,” “the sign is ambiguous.” Rome is both eternal and ethereal, a cultural landscape we all share but whose precise meaning continually shifts through history. In our popular imagination Rome has been at times one of history’s largest empires; a colonial power that persecuted Christ; a degenerate society in thrall to gladiatorial blood sport; a culture overseen by the magical and idiosyncratic mysticism of the pantheon of Roman goods and goddesses; the civilizing force whose soldiers bought culture to barbarians of Europe, Asia and Africa; and some or all of the above. As the following films highlight, each generation seems to re-build Rome in their own image.