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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 3: Rome and the American Imagination

Slide 3: Rome and the American Imagination

Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, and “Roman Orgy in the Time of the Caesars” by unnamed Chinese artist.

Oberlin professor Kirk Ormand, put it this way: “Rome is a virtual chameleon as a site of projection: at times Rome represents a tyrannical empire populated by actors with suspiciously upper-class British accents, doomed to be overthrown by plucky Christians who all have American accents. At other times Rome (especially the Republic) is America, the forerunner of our notions of law and, curiously, democracy. In still other venues Rome is characterized by excess, either negatively, as when an emperor (such as Nero) demonstrates moral failure through sexual and economic profligacy, or positively, when Caesars Palace becomes a celebration of that most American of activities, going to the mall. We can identify with Rome, or distance ourselves from it; in either case, Rome becomes a safe space in which to explore anxieties about shifting gender roles or sexual identities, or America's role as a former colony of Great Britain, or as an emerging world empire.”