Friday, August 03, 2007

The Scottish Spartan

I just finished the first season of Rome. Very satisfying, though the large cast of characters was confusing and my utter lack of knowledge regarding this time in history didn't help. The names were all somewhat familiar and I do know that Caesar was killed by Brutus, and I thought he said, "Et tu Brute?" But apparently he did not, according to
Caesar almost certainly did not, in fact, utter these precise words upon his assassination. Plutarch says that he died wordlessly while Suetonius says that he said "Καὶ σὺ τέκνον" (Kai su, teknon?), Greek for "You too, my child?" (literally, Even/and you my child) (Suetonius, De Vita Caesarum, LXXXII [1]).
In Rome, he just looked understandably distressed prior to expiring.

So then I was on a little ancient history kick and watched 300, about the Spartans battling the Persians at Thermopylae. Based on a graphic novel (which I still want to call a comic book, sue me) by Frank Miller, 300 was absolute eye candy-- all those rippling Spartan thighs, with impressive six packs a close second. Either these men were in incredible shape or they used a whole heck of a lot of body paint. There were lots of disembodied heads flying around and severed limbs spurting blood but it was all so very stylized that even the gore looked great. I watched the "making of" extra which was a mistake because the director basically said of every single shot, "this was fake," "this is all cgi," "this is blue screen" etc until all the things that seemed cool and magical just minutes before were no more than computer trickery.

But what was oh so odd is that Gerard Butler, the actor playing the Spartan king Leonidas, had this incredibly thick Scottish brogue, just a touch more mild than Sean Connery, if you can imagine. Butler is Scottish and I guess they just let him go with it. Anyway, I was able to brush up on my history and learned a thing or two which I'm certain will get crowded out shortly with facts about Nicole Richie's upcoming jail stay or Tom Cruise's incredibly creepy new haircut.

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