Actually I was kind of playing with the title of this post, because what I really found wonderful is this BBC production of one of Cicero’s legal performances. It’s “Murder in Rome,” about the Roscius trial, and you can watch it on youtube. I loved the actors, the acting, the production, the script, everything.

The grandstanding, the power, the setting, the drama! It’s all so theatrical and so un-modern. And although I knew that Cicero wouldn’t be killed, I still had that pit in my stomach with the suspense of how things would turn out and who would prevail. So exciting!

It’s clear I sure wouldn’t want to have lived in Rome at the time, such Barbarians. But as I have been thinking for a quite some, le plus ça change…

Other little remarks: What a handsome Cicero! And it’s nice that the audience seems to be mostly composed of North African-looking people (i.e., non-lilly white Brits), and lots of people with that “rabble” look, teeth missing, etc., but it’s a bit overdone – it’s supposed to be Rome! And I don’t see Italian-looking people. It should have been more mixed with some Italian movie extras thrown in there.

And all the main actors are British – OK, so it’s a BBC production, but again the two guys who got the farms look like they had just stepped out of a Robin Hood movie to me! That’s all I could think – they are Prince John’s hatchets, wrong movie set! Maybe it’s because they’re speaking this British English – more than their looks. It’s true that they could pass for Italians, and I’m not saying Rome wasn’t a huge ethnic melting pot, I just missed more of that Roman/Italian character, the faces, etc. And as nice as this Cicero actor was, it would have been nicer if they had cast someone around 27, so that we could get that prodigy feeling, more realism regarding how young he was…

I tried to imagine them speaking in Latin, but it wasn’t all that easy… It would be so nice to see a Latin production one day – with Italian actors for the accent! 😉

Cicero’s speech.
Outline of the case/Cicero’s strategy
Brief description of the events
Chapter 4 of Anthony Trollope’s book, The Life of Cicero, here.
Perseus info – E H Donkin.

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