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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 7: Scipio Africanus: The Defeat of Hannibal and the Fascist Italy
Italy is one of three countries (the other two being the United States and Great Britain) whose film industries have been fascinated with the Roman Empire. Fascist Italy looked to its Roman past to justify its imperial African ambitions in Africa. To that end Mussolini financed Carmine Gallone’s 1937 epic Scipio Africanus, which depicts Scipio Africanus’s defeat of Hannibal, a North African from Carthage, at the Battle of Zama in 202 B.C. The cast of thousands included Italian soldiers—many of whom were conscripts for the North African campaign. Upon its release, the film’s cinematographer, Luigi Freddi, without a hint of irony, explained the film’s purpose: “Scipione was conceived on the eve of the African undertaking [the annexation of Ethiopia] and was begun soon after the victory… It was desired to symbolize the intimate union between the past grandeur of Rome and the bold accomplishment of our era.”