An unparalleled exploration of films set in Ancient Rome, from the silent Cleopatra to the modern rendition of Ben-Hur.
No sooner had the dazzling new technology of cinema been invented near the end of the 19th century than filmmakers immediately turned to ancient history for inspiration. Nero, Cleopatra, Caesar, and more all found their way to the silver screen and would return again and again in the decades that followed. But just how accurate were these depictions of Ancient Rome?
In Ancient Rome on the Silver Screen: Myth versus Reality, Gregory S. Aldrete and Graham Sumner provide a fascinating examination of 50 films set in Ancient Rome, analyzing each for its historical accuracy of plot, characters, costumes and sets. They also divulge insights into the process of making each movie and the challenges the filmmakers faced in bringing the Roman world to vivid cinematic life. Beginning with the classics from the dawn of cinema, through the great golden age of sword-and-sandals flicks in the 1950s, to the dramatic epics of the modern day, Aldrete and Sumner test the authenticity of Hollywood’s version of history.
Featuring remarkable custom-made paintings depicting characters as they appeared in film and how they should have appeared if they were historically correct, Ancient Rome on the Silver Screen delivers an invaluable perspective of film and history. This unique collaboration between professional illustrator and award-winning Roman historian offers a deeper understanding of modern cinema and brings Roman history to life.
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