sevilia road  
an historical evaluation of Season 1
 
   
 
Plot Summary: Episode V
The Ram has Touched the Wall


The fifth episode of the first season of “Rome” starts out with Pompey and his troops in Southern Italy in an absurd position. He sits in his tent surrounded by Cato, Brutus, Cicero and his other advisors as he dictates a truce that he wishes to send to Caesar. His advisors tell him it is not a good idea and are constantly telling him to rework his use of words. Cicero expresses the fact he and the rest of Pompey’s men do not like being chased around from town-to-town like sheep by Caesar’s men. Cato insists that he must not surrender and offering a truce to Caesar would be doing just that. Pompey however does not heed their warnings and assures them the truce will give them time if nothing else. Pompey then leaves the tent gazing out at the Adriatic Sea.

The scene fades to a camp set up outside Rome where Caesar sits getting a shave from his slave while Posca informs him that another person gave up his loyalty to Pompey and switched to Caesar’s side. For this, Caesar wants to reward him as well as show him mercy, but Posca believes this will be too much, for the amount of people switching from Pompey’s side to Caesar’s ranks in the dozens. As Caesar finishes his shave and begins to rinse his face Posca informs him that his niece Atia has invited him for dinner. Caesar declines and Posca compliments him on his bravery for turning down Atia, and both leave the tent.

City slaves are then sweeping the streets of Rome as a drunk Pullo staggers through. The Newsreader announces the terms of Pompey’s truce sent to Caesar in order to prevent the shedding of Roman blood.

Then there is a transition to Atia in her house walking in on her children Octavia and Octavian as Octavian paints his sister’s nails. Atia calls Octavian strange for his actions and then kneels beside them and brings up the rumor that Octavian had seduced Caesar and thus taken him away from Servilia. Despite the fact Atia expresses her pride in his seduction, Octavian adamantly denies it. Atia is already measuring the power they will acquire through this and has invited both Caesar and Mark Antony to dinner that night. However, Octavian only says Caesar has an affliction that he can speak no more about. Atia gets up and leaves angry and disappointed. Her maid Merula then approaches telling her that Caesar declined the dinner invitation, but did not explain why.

Next Vorena the Elder carries “her” baby and a jug up the stairs into her house. She passes Titus Pullo sleeping on the stairs. She then encounters her parents in the kitchen and Lucius Vorenus tells her he will be selling his slaves in order to pay for her dowry despite her mother’s objections that the time is too early for her to leave. When Titus comes in shortly thereafter complaining of sickness from bad oysters, he realizes he has misplaced Eirene. Lucius asked where she might be and Titus leaps up and ventures out to the street to retrace his night of debauchery through brothels and bars. Lucius follows asking Titus when he would return to camp, but Titus never gives a definite answer. Eventually they find her in a tent taberna in the marketplace. However, they find she is being held by the proprietor, a black African, as collateral for Pullo’s check. Pullo insults the establishment’s fare, the black man is ready to fight with Titus, but Vorenus pays the tab and Eirene is released.

The scene cuts back to Lucius Vorenus’ house where he is trying to convince Niobe to allow Titus’ girl to stay and work with her in their house. Lucius’ Niobe is disturbed by the girl’s eyes, but Lucius is angered and goes out of the house declaring that the girl will stay at their house regardless.

Niobe is then out in the market with a friend Clarissa who tells her to keep calm about the introduction of this new girl, for Niobe believes the girl is there to spy on her, because Pullo is suspicious of her affair with her brother-in-law. But Clarissa does not believe Pullo knows anything and is not acting in any way malicious.

Caesar is then in the military tent with Mark Antony and Posca discussing Pompey’s truce. There is question about whether or not it is a strategizing method, or a method of desperation. Posca suggests Caesar accept the truce in return for peace, but Antony believes “the ram has touched the wall” and thus there is no turning back at this point. Pompey indicates in the terms of the truce that he refuses to meet Caesar in person. Thus, Caesar does not end up accepting the truce, and Mark Antony is quite enraged that Caesar refuses to leave Rome to attack Pompey until the time is right.

The next scene in Gaul has Lucius Vorenus going to pick up his Gallic slaves in order to sell them. However, he is angered when the slave keeper informs him that they have all died of disease except a young boy who is weak thus will not be sold until he is well again. Lucius drags the boy back to his home and explains to his wife that the boy will be a good price when he is healthy, but until then, as the wife points out there is little that can otherwise pay the bills. Young Vorenae decides she would like to keep the slave boy as a pet and names him Rubio after a deceased pigeon she once had.

Caesar is then playing a dice game in bed with Servilia. She orders him to never leave her, but he insists he never has. They then are in bed sleeping together.

Cut to Atia in bed with Mark Antony who is complaining about Caesar stalling his attack on Pompey. Antony then mentions that Servilia is responsible for unmanning Caesar and Atia immediately gets uneasy.

The next scene is Atia in her house yelling about the intolerable situation at hand as Octavian sits by, not agreeing with her. She blames Servilia for keeping Caesar from chasing Pompey and getting them power. However, she stands by the fact that she only wants this because it is best for the republic. A servant then enters and announces that Octavian’s tutor has arrived and Atia reveals that she has engaged Octavian’s soldier Titus Pullo in teaching Octavian in the art of male activities. Octavian objects stating he would rather read Greek philosophy, to which Atia reacts by slapping the head of a groveling serving slave and declaring “Here’s a Greek philosopher for you!”

Octavian is then fighting Titus Pullo in a courtyard outside Atia’s house with wooden shields and swords. Titus knocks the sword from Octavian’s hand rather easily and Octavian is very easily frustrated by this. They both take a rest on the bench and Titus tries to encourage Octavian that he is improving, but Octavian does not feel he is or can ever be a soldier. Titus then asks Octavian if he should do something about the affair he suspects is going on between Niobe and her brother-in-law. Octavian discourages this because suspicion is not enough; he needs facts before acting.

Pompey stands in the ocean on a beach. A slave delivers him Caesar’s refusal of the truce then kneels down nearby as Pompey reads it. Pompey gets annoyed and tells the slave he’s got it good as a slave because he does not have a will. He then drops Caesar’s paper into the ocean.

Fade to a steam bath where Lucius Vorenus walks in to visit Erastes Fulmen, local “gangster” of sorts, and asks him to borrow money, much to his surprise. Lucius assures him he will pay him back, but his friend discourages this explaining it as being a dangerous business. Lucius accepts defeat, but his friend tells him he can make money in other ways, specifically working for him in “discouraging trouble” since no one will mess with him because of his former primus pilus centurion position. Lucius is not enthused, but his friend emphasizes the “good money” he would be making.

In a market Lyde is arguing with Evander telling him that SHE is his wife. Titus watches from a concealed area as she slaps her husband and storms away.

Fade to nighttime in the marketplace where two men have finished drawing an obscene naked picture of Caesar and Servilia having butt sex on a public wall.

The next morning, Niobe is dressing Lucius in their room for his new “bodyguard” position. He informs her that such a position is at least “a start”. Then Calpurnia, the wife of Caesar is carried out of their home and through the marketplace streets on a cushioned litter; the small parade is led by slaves and Caesar himself. Every person whom Caesar passes is laughing and mocking him. Caesar is asked about this by one of the men with him and then Calpurnia catches sight of the obscene picture of her husband and Servilia. Back home, Calpurnia is furiously running away from Caesar and gives him an ultimatum: either get rid of Servilia or she will divorce him. She leaves the scene hurriedly and Caesar just watches after her as Posca cautiously reminds him that the influence of Calpurnia’s family is critical to them winning at this point, so divorce is not an option. Lucius Vorenus at his new job is being lead through the market by Erastes Fulmen accompanied by several other armed men. They go off the road to a dark room with Hindus in turbans from India sitting around in a circle. Erastes is very rude to the lead turban man Tanjit and then demands the money he owes him for buying truffle pigs from him. But Tanjit objects: he was sold bad pigs and will only pay a quarter of the price. Erastes does not take this well and asks Tanjit if he is afraid to die. Erastes then hits Tanjit in the face with a piece of pottery and a fight breaks out between the armed men and the turban men. Finally, Erastes gets a hold of the Tanjit and holds him down, ordering Lucius to break his arm. He has to give the order twice, but Lucius abides. Erastes gives Tanjit one last chance to give him his money, but when he continues to refuse, Lucius is ordered to slit the Tanjit’s throat. Again, the order has to be given twice, and Lucius is a great deal more hesitant, and finally walks out of the room without a word. He walks home and Niobe greets him, as their children play in the background. He tells her that he was asked to kill a man, so this job is over. Niobe does not seem as disturbed about it as he does, for she asks how they will be able to feed their family if he refuses to kill?

Servilia is then in her bedroom as her maid Eleni comes in and announces the arrival of Caesar. Servilia runs out to greet him in excitement, but he refuses her embrace. He then tells her they must say good-bye forever, for he is moving out to chase Pompey. Caesar is very stern about ending this affair with Servilia. She begins to cry, claiming that they love each other, but he tells her he has to do what is right for the sake of the republic. This one mention of “the republic” sets her off crying furiously and then trying to hit him. He in turn strikes her very hard several times, forcing her to stumble backwards until she is in a heap on the ground weeping. Caesar with tears welling up, storms off, merely leaving her there.

Atia sits on her couch thoroughly enjoying herself in the company of her maid Merula. Octavia walks in seeming annoyed and asks what mischievous plan is so delighting her mother. Atia denies that she has formed or delights in any plan.

Caesar is then in his military tent packing, intent on leaving Rome. Mark Antony enters and applauds Caesar for finally leaving, but Caesar tells him he will be remaining behind in Rome to “keep the peace” with the 13th legion and Posca assisting. Antony is outraged by this and insists to be treated as the soldier that he is. But, Caesar insists that he follow orders and then leaves the tent.

Now we return to Pompey who is still walking about his beach holding a stick. Cicero and Brutus are watching him from a distance and Cicero begins to discuss the possibility of leaving for his farm nearby and stay for the harvest season. He asks Brutus if he would like to accompany him, but Brutus declines, insisting that it is best to stay put. They then discuss the importance of keeping a good name and good status in Rome. The scene ends with Pompey seated, drawing in the sand.

There is a quick cut to Caesar and his soldiers on the march

.Then we see Servilia brooding in her room, lying on her bed and staring off into space as her made, Eleni, looks on secretly, then leaves.

Next, Lucius Vorenus goes to command tent where only Mark Antony now resides, reading documents and giving order to slaves. Lucius asks Antony if he can take him up on his offer to be re-enlisted in his Legion among the Evocati. Antony at first hesitates because he never makes the same offer twice, but eventually does agree and promotes Lucius to prefect but with a pay cut of 1000 sesterii. Lucius looks ready to object, but does not and Antony dismisses him.

Servilia still lies on her bed in despair as Eleni enters dragging a man and revealing to Servilia that he was one of the men who painted the pictures that so angered Caesar. He said he had been hired by the horse-Jew and Servilia immediately deduces Atia as the culprit and goes to get dressed.

Caesar continues to gallop towards Pompey’s position.

Lucius Vorenus returns home to Niobe and tells her the good news that he now has the rank of Evocati praefect first grade, but that he has sold himself to a tyrant. Despite him not being very thrilled about it, she seems quite grateful.

Vorenus then sets out to the Temple of Mars, in Evocatii uniform dress. A man greets him at the door and leads him inside.

Now the next few scenes are pulled together by a voice-over from Servilia as she curses Caesar with pain, impotency, suffering and death of his troops. She also curses Atia with the death of her children as well as further pain and suffering on her part. She invokes the gods of the inferno and her ancestors and promises to worship them with sacrifice if they do this for her. She lays out the curses on lead metal curse tablets, which she then has her servant Eleni deliver to the outside of Atia’s house.

During this time of her cursing, we also get to see Vorenus in the lower room of a dark temple standing vigil next to a fire with the priest of Mars. We also see Octavian sneaking out of his house and meeting up with Titus Pullo at night. They capture Evander and drag him down to the sewers.

Once the three men are in the sewers, Octavian and Pullo begin to interrogate the brother-in-law of Niobe to see if he was in fact having an affair with her. They are going to kill him anyway, but they try to get more information out of him first and do so by torturing him. Pullo seems to be unsure of how to torture Evander, and it is Octavian who shows his heartless, tyrant-like demeanor in instructing Pullo on exactly how to torture Evander. They do finally kill him and dump him in the sewer. Both men agree never to speak of the incident again.

Meanwhile, the priest of Mars puts blood on Vorenus’ face and after a ritual declares him officially a member of Antony’s Evocati.

In the end, Caesar and his men reaching the Adriatic Sea come upon a deserted camp and are informed that Pompey and his men have sailed to Greece.

 

 
Dramatis Personae
Lucius Vorenus

Semi-fictional character. The former primus pilus centurion who seeks a way to support his family trying to avoid exerting violence or committing murder at all costs. However, he must eventually surrender his morals to Mark Antony’s Evocati in order to sustain his family.
Titus Pullo

Semi-fictional character. One of Caesar’s centurions staying at Vorenus’ house who spends his free time getting drunk or conspiring against Evander. He teaches Octavian the ways of a Roman soldier and also gains his help in capturing and torturing Evander to death.
Julius Caesar

Real character. The commander who remains behind in Rome instead of pursuing his enemy Pompey only to appease his mistress Servilia. Eventually he does leave Rome after rejecting the offering of a truce by Pompey.
Pompey Magnus

Real character. The commander of the army stationed at the Adriatic Sea. His indecision is very prominent as he has trouble formulating a truce to Caesar and can only pace about the beach.
atia

Real character. The power-hungry niece of Caesar, who sabotages Caesar’s relationship with Servilia to ensure her own security by hiring men to publicize Caesar’s affair with Servilia. She further takes advantage of her own son trying to force him on Caesar and be man enough to usurp Caesar’s power.
marc antony

Real character. The commander of Caesar’s Evocati Legion and unwillingly of the 13th Legion stationed in Rome. He is quite bitter and unforgiving towards Pompey and his truce.
brutus

Real character. The member of Pompey’s army who is loyal to him, refusing to desert even when Cicero offers him the opportunity.
Servilia

Real character. Caesar’s mistress who acts very devoted to him. After Caesar breaks off their affair, she places curses on both him and his niece Atia.
Octavian

Real character. Atia’s son who is used in Atia’s power play with Caesar. He does manage to break free of his mother’s rules and helps Pullo get valuable information from Evander.
Posca

Fictional character. Caesar’s servant who is an advocate for making peace with Pompey, and is there to remind Caesar of the importance of his assets.
Octavia

Real character. She is the daughter of Atia who is very skeptical of all her mother’s devious actions, while being quite fond of her brother.
Glabius
Content 12
Cato

Real character. He is a member of Pompey’s army who is strongly opposed to Caesar and impresses upon Pompey the importance not to show signs of surrender in the truce he sends to Caesar.
Scipio
Content 14
Cicero

Real character. The member of Pompey’s army who is very reluctant to remain with Pompey and does not maintain faith that their commander can make the correct decisions for this army.
merula

Fictional character. Atia’s servant who aptly relays messages to her mistress and is comfortable enough to share a laugh with her.
Newsreader

Fictional character. He announces to the people of Rome the truce that is ensuing between Caesar and Pompey.
Niobe
Fictional character. The wife of Lucius Vorenus who is in a panic, both about the lack of money her family is taking in and about the possibility that Pullo suspects she had an affair with Evander, her brother-in-law.
antony's tribune
Content 19
Castor
Content 20
Evander
Fictional character. Niobe’s brother-in-law whom she had an affair with when she believed Vorenus to be dead. Evander was tortured to death and thrown in the sewer by both Pullo and Octavian.
Lyde
Fictional character. The sister of Niobe and wife of Evander who is not pleased to find that Evander has taken up with another woman.
Eirene
Fictional character. The young girl belonging to Pullo whose name means “peace” in Greek. He only keeps her because she calms him down, and Vorenus has to buy her back from a proprietor. She comes to live in Vorenus’ house and Niobe fears her to be Pullo’s spy.
Clarissa
Fictional character. Niobe’s friend who assures her that Pullo does not suspect anything about her affair with her brother-in-law.
Calpurnia
Real character. The wife of Caesar who finds out of her husband’s affair with Servilia and gives him an ultimatum that sends Servilia away. It is also her father’s support that is essential to Caesar in this war, and breaking ties with her family would lead to disaster.
Erastes Fulmen
Fictional character. The “gangster” or Roman businessman who hires Lucius Vorenus to try and help him keep the peace. He orders Vorenus to maim and even kill those of which he does not approve.
Flamen Martialis
Fictional character. The priest of Mars who performs the Evocati induction ritual for Vorenus.
Vorena the Younger
Fictional character. The younger daughter of Lucius Vorenus who takes a liking to Rubio, the slave her father brings home and tries to keep him as a pet.
Rubio
Fictional character. Vorenus’ weak slave boy, the only one of his Gallic slaves still alive whom Vorenus takes home to strengthen in order to eventually sell. He is named by Vorena the Younger after a dead pet pigeon.
African Barkeep
Fictional character. The man who held Eirene from Pullo until his bill from the night before was paid.
Slave Trader
Content 31
tanjit
Fictional character. The leader of the Hindus from India who did not pay for the pigs Erastes Fulmen sold to him. When Tanjit refuses cooperation, Fulmen orders Vorenus to maim and eventually kill him.
Vercingetorix
Content 33
Timon
Content 34
Eleni
Fictional character. Servilia’s faithful maid who is constantly assisting her mistress, be it investigating her break-up with Caesar, or delivering the curse tablets to their rightful owners.
Milo
Content 36