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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 7: Scipio Africanus: The Defeat of  Hannibal and the Fascist Italy

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.”