sevilia road  
an historical evaluation of Season 1
Plot Summary: Episode VIII

The scene opens with the Brutus returning home for the first time since he left Rome to join Pompey’s forces against Caesar. His mother Servilia comes out to meet him, but her silent greeting comes off as cold and leaves one wondering if her son’s safe return from battle has any emotional impact upon her. As quickly as she enters, she exits again leaving Brutus as confused as the audience. Meanwhile, in the Forum it is announced to the public that Caesar has defeated Pompey in a decisive battle and that the traitor Pompey, as he is labeled by the announcer, has fled to Egypt with Caesar in pursuit. The return of prominent Pompeians, most of whom are future conspirators, is also announced with an admonition that they not be harmed under Caesar’s merciful protection.

Following this scene, the audience is brought to Alexandria where Caesar and the thirteenth legion meet the ceremonial welcome which Pompey had expected. Caesar and his retinue including Posca, Antony, and Vorenus enter the palace to see the Egyptian court surrounding three priests each standing in front of an urn of burning incense. The priests are chanting while Pothinus, the chief advisor of the pharaoh, gives the introductory litany of Ptolemy XIII. The pomp and circumstance of this ceremony is humorously contrasted by the bored demeanor of the prepubescent ruler.

An intermediary scene then occurs just outside the palace with two Egyptian children throwing rocks at Pullo. Pullo throws a rock back chasing them off. After this quick interlude, the scene returns to Caesar, Ptolemy, and their two retinues. Caesar asks the Egyptians of their war preparations to their faux perplexity. He mentions the dispute between Ptolemy and his sister Cleopatra VII at which the young king throws a small temper tantrum, and Caesar makes clear that the conflict must not hinder the shipments of grain from Egypt to Rome. He then inquires the whereabouts of Cleopatra to which Pothinus responds that nobody knows. Posca whispers in Caesar’s ear to say that he is lying and that the Egyptians are holding her captive somewhere beyond the city. To change the subject, the Egyptians mention having a gift for Caesar, and a large servant brings forth a basket. Caesar’s grave facial expression suggests he expects what is to follow as the severed head of Pompey is brought forth. Ptolemy begins prattling on about what he wanted to do to the head until Caesar silences him and expresses his displeasure at the fate of his old friend. He tells the Egyptians that he will return the next day and that he will desire to have Pompey’s executioner presented to him.

Another intermediary scene follows in which Caesar cremates the head of Pompey in a traditional ceremony. During his recitation of prayers tears roll from his eyes showing his personal anguish. The plot picks up with Caesar, Antony, and Posca alone in an inner chamber together. Posca declares that the winds are favorable for sailing to which Caesar responds by saying Antony will take half the legion back to Rome and announce Pompey’s death. Meanwhile, Caesar will stay in Egypt to arbitrate the dispute between the royal siblings so that Rome does not suffer from a lapse in grain shipments. Antony and Posca raise concerns of both the size of the Egyptian army as well as the possibility of Cato and Scipio raising more troops in North Africa, but Caesar remains resolute to stay.

An intermediary scene follows with Caesar ordering Vorenus to find Cleopatra and return her to him. Vorenus expresses his guilt in not bringing Pompey to Caesar because it would have saved him from his fate at the hands of the Egyptians. Caesar merely dismisses him to his task. Caesar then meets Ptolemy and his court in the royal chamber. The Egyptians claim the murderer of Pompey has fled. Caesar orders them to find him and then demands the debt of Ptolemy XII Auletes, the late father of the current Ptolemy, be repaid to the sum of 17,000,000 drachmae. Pothinus objects to the high sum which Posca claims to include money owed to Rome under the agency of deceased citizens, namely Pompey. Pothinus quips that only Roman law requires such stipulations, and Caesar asks him what other type of law there is while referring to him as “you wretched woman.” Pothinus immediately apologizes, but Ptolemy rises from his throne and casts the debt tally at Caesar’s feet. Caesar reminds him that he is a vassal of Rome and commands him to sit down when he protests. Pothinus cites an inability of the Egyptians to pay, and Caesar lowers the price to 10,000,000 drachmae. When Pothinus counters that even that amount will take time to collect, Caesar reveals his intention to stay and arbitrate the royal dispute while they do so.

Vorenus and Pullo are next seen awaiting a sign to follow to Cleopatra. Pullo insults the Egyptian gods, and Vorenus contends he speaks in ignorance because of Egypt’s ancient greatness. It then returns to the Egyptian court fretting over Caesar’s debt collection. Pothinus fears he will supplant Ptolemy with Cleopatra if they do not pay so they agree to have her killed instead by the suggestion of Theodotus. The assassins sent out by Achillas pass by Vorenus and Pullo who follow them through the desert on horseback to the location of Cleopatra. The princess is shackled in a large litter with a few slaves, and the assassins allow themselves to be announced to her. As they prepare to slay her Pullo enters the tent while Vorenus supposedly takes care of the men outside. Pullo and the chief assassin battle, and Pullo overcomes him.

The scene shifts back to the Egyptian court. Theodotus postulates the idea of attacking Caesar directly because of his few men at hand. Achillas speaks hesitantly due to Rome’s overall might which Theodotus disparages as already waning. After Pothinus seconds the opinion of Theodotus, they decide to rouse the city. They also send Pompey’s murderer Septimus to Caesar with a message declaring his identity. Caesar has him summarily beheaded and places his head on a spike outside the palace. The Egyptians standing outside viewing the spectacle perceive it ominously, and angry murmuring can be heard among the crowd.

Back in Cleopatra’s litter, she inspects a coin with Caesar’s bust while smoking her pipe. Her slave, Charmian, disparages both Caesar’s image and the pipe, and the princess slaps her for her impudence. Cleopatra then has her throw the pipe out the side of the litter to show her resolve when Charmian questions her ability to do so. Outside the drapery, the audience can see the giant litter being moved by dozens of slaves toward Alexandria. During these events Pullo mentions to Vorenus that he thinks the princess desires him to which Vorenus is skeptical. Later that night while the princess suffers withdrawals from her pipe, Charmian mocks her ability to seduce Caesar in such a state. Cleopatra mentions being fertile that night, and they decide to bring in Vorenus to impregnate her so that she could claim the child as Caesar’s. Vorenus nearly succumbs but ultimately leaves the task up to Pullo, who performs with gusto to an ululating chorus outside. He then tells Pullo to never speak of it again if he wishes to continue living. The next day Vorenus and Pullo bring Cleopatra to Caesar wrapped in a burlap sack to avoid the knowledge of the Egyptian court. Caesar seems to be immediately enamored of her.

The scene then shifts to the Egyptian court where Ptolemy is enjoying himself kicking a blindfolded Pothinus. The festivities are interrupted by the entrance of Cleopatra and the Romans. Ptolemy flees to his throne, and Cleopatra follows him and remarks about how silly he looks upon their father’s throne. Cleopatra then accuses Pothinus of causing her brother’s hostility towards her. When she declares her intent to have him executed he implicates Theodotus, and the Romans execute both of them. They then place their severed heads next to that of Septimius, prompting more outcries from the Egyptian populace. The amassing mob outside causes Vorenus to assemble his men by the palace gate.

The audience then sees Cleopatra and Caesar together with the princess asking Caesar if his wife has bore him sons. When he says she has not, Cleopatra underhandedly disparages them by claiming a man without sons is without a future. The conversation turns to tactics, and Cleopatra declares to Caesar that she is his slave because he saved her life. The two then make love, allowing Cleopatra to claim Caesar’s parentage if she becomes pregnant. Meanwhile, back in Rome Servilia seduces Octavia with similarly calculated intentions against Atia. Additionally, Achillas rallies the mob outside the palace and begins attacking the thirteenth legion by pelting stones at them over the walls. The soldiers respond with the testudo, or tortoise, strategy of defense.

The scene then falls upon the senate house where Brutus and Cicero speak alone of current events. Cicero fears what will happen if Caesar dies in Egypt with the siege having gone on for months now because he is their only protection against Antony. Brutus merely remarks that he does not care for politics anymore for which Cicero chides him. He mentions the army of Cato and Scipio in Africa in case Caesar should perish. Antony then enters and commences a faux friendly and pointless story to them. He then interrupts himself to speak of his own merciful nature. Cicero tries to walk past him, and Antony takes his hands, slowly forces him to the ground, and threatens him that he will nail them to the senate house if he hears anymore talk of treason from him. After this threat, Antony tells them of Caesar’s victory in Alexandria.

The final scene opens to the dead Ptolemy floating in the reeds of the Nile. It then shifts to Caesar and Cleopatra exiting the palace with their infant son in tow. The soldiers, including Pullo but not Vorenus, cheer at their commander’s supposed offspring.

Dramatis Personae
Lucius Vorenus
–Semi-Historical Character
Centurion of the XIII legion, Vorenus undertakes the task of finding Cleopatra as a type of penance for allowing Pompey to escape his grasp when he held him. After waiting in the desert for a time, he and his companion Titus Pullo follow a band of assassins sent to kill the princess. Once they are overcome, he leads Cleopatra back to Caesar, and on the way there Cleopatra attempts to seduce Vorenus in order to become pregnant. His sensibilities prevent him from succumbing, so he enlists Pullo to do so. Once they are back in Alexandria, Vorenus resumes command of the legion and repels the onslaught of Achillas. After the siege when Caesar presents his newborn son, Vorenus alone of the men does not cheer because of his doubts about the child’s lineage.
Titus Pullo
–Semi-Historical Character
Legionnaire of the XIII, Titus Pullo accompanies Vorenus in seeking out Cleopatra. When the two find her and battle her assassins, Pullo kills most of the assassins and considers the princess enamored of him. Thus when she demands him to impregnate her, he acquiesces with gusto. Afterward Vorenus swears him to silence, and to that end he maintains the façade of Caesar fathering Cleopatra’s child at the end.
Julius Caesar
– Historical Character
As the newly victorious consul of Rome, Caesar has pursued his rival Gnaeus Pompey Magnus to Egypt where the latter had hoped to seek refuge in defeat. Upon finding his old enemy unceremoniously disposed of by the Egyptians, however, Caesar finds himself having to arbitrate a royal dispute, collect Roman debt, and give Pompey a proper burial. In the end, due to the obstinacy of the young king and the persuasiveness of Princess Cleopatra, Caesar champions Cleopatra and defeats her brother to place her on the throne.
Pompey Magnus
– Historical Character
– Historical Character
marc antony
– Historical Character
The commander of the XIII legion follows Caesar to Egypt and remains there until Pompey has been buried properly. After that, Caesar sends him back to Rome with half the legion to announce Pompey’s death. While he is in the city, he overhears murmurs of treachery from Cicero and makes a promise to nail his hands to the Senate House if such talk is again connected with his name.
– Historical Character
A former Pompeian, Brutus returns to Rome under the protection of Caesar, but his mother does not display happiness at his return. He decides to withdraw from politics, but Cicero encourages him otherwise, especially when Caesar becomes bogged down in Egypt. Despite the possibility of Caesar’s death, Brutus does not appear to lean toward any political action in case of such event.
– Historical Character
The mother of Brutus, Servilia does not seem pleased at the return of her son from his campaign with Pompey. Rather than pay attention to him, she turns toward seducing Octavia in order to exact revenge upon Atia.
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– Non-Historical Character
Caesar’s most trusted advisor and slave, Posca stays close to his master in order that he may keep him up to date on the details of his consular affairs. As such, he reveals to Caesar that the Egyptians know the whereabouts of Cleopatra and reminds him of their troop numbers when Caesar devises to stay in Egypt with only half a legion.
– Historical Character
Lonely due to the death of Glabius, Octavia becomes easy prey for Servilia’s machinations against her mother.
– Historical Character
The daughter of Ptolemy XII, Cleopatra should have shared the throne with her brother as his wife, but his advisors convinced him to drive her from the court in their grab for power. Once Caesar arrives, the advisors of the king prepare to kill her, but Caesar’s agents prevent them from doing so and bring her to him. On the route there, she plans to seduce Caesar to have his child, but because of her cycle she decides to have a Roman impregnate her immediately in order to pass the child off as Caesar’s. After being rejected by Vorenus, she accepts Pullo. Upon arrival at Alexandria she wastes no time in seducing Caesar and seeing to the deaths of her enemies at court. While Caesar’s forces fight off her brother’s mob, she lures Caesar further into her power, and at the end of the siege she bears a child of which she convinces him to accept paternity.
– Historical Character
A slave of Cleopatra’s, Charmian assists her in plotting to seduce Caesar and conceive a child which could plausibly be his. She first takes issue with Cleopatra’s addiction to opium which earns her a hard smack, but she is ultimately successful in weaning the princess from the drug. She also solicits the services of Vorenus and Pullo in carrying out their ruse.
Ptolemy XIII
– Historical Character
The adolescent king of Egypt, Ptolemy displays an outward hatred of his sister at the very mention of her name and shows the utmost disregard toward the severed head of Pompey, incurring Caesar’s wrath. He also challenges Caesar when the latter seeks to collect the debt owed to Rome by Egypt. All of this combines with Cleopatra’s allure in turning Caesar against him. Once his sister returns, his haughty attitude disappears, and in the end his corpse is discarded unceremoniously into the Nile.
– Historical Character
Having surrendered himself after Pharsalus, Cicero is allowed to return to Rome under Caesar’s protection. He begins to worry, though, when Caesar’s war in Alexandria escalates because of the animosity between himself and Antony. As such, he tries to convince Brutus to join him in seeking out Cato and Scipio in Africa. Antony overhears this and threatens Cicero with the nailing of his hands to the rostra.
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–Non-Historical Character
The news reader announces Caesar’s pursuit of Pompey into Egypt along with the return of Cicero and the future conspirators Cassius, Casca, and Brutus.
– Historical Character
A eunuch and influential figure in Ptolemy’s court, Pothinus handles most of the king’s business affairs. He and the other courtiers of Ptolemy serve as the driving force for ousting Cleopatra, killing Pompey, and attacking Caesar. However, once Cleopatra returns, her first act is to have Pothinus executed.
– Historical Character
Despite only being Ptolemy’s tutor of rhetoric, Theodotus holds considerable clout at court. He convinces the king and other courtiers that killing Pompey is a good idea and pushes Achillas to do away with Cleopatra as well. Additionally, he simultaneously has Achillas raise unrest against Caesar and sends Septimius, Pompey’s killer, to Caesar as he had demanded. His tricks ultimately catch up with him when Pothinus implicates him in the ousting of Cleopatra, and he is executed at the same time.
– Historical Character
Captain of the king’s body guard, Achillas holds the military might of Egypt. As such, Pothinus and Theodotus incorporate him into their schemes and employ his men to their ends such as killing Pompey, attempting to kill Cleopatra, and fighting Caesar. Achillas escapes the palace before Cleopatra’s return and leads the siege against the palace. However, the episode does not reveal his ultimate fate.
– Historical Character
A former solider of Pompey’s Septimius is surrendered unknowingly to Caesar by Theodotus. Due to this, he becomes the first casualty of the Alexandrian War.
cleopatra's Herald
– Non-Historical Character
When the assassins sent by Achillas arrive, this servant of Cleopatra’s enters her tent to announce their intention to kill her. Despite his neutrality, Vorenus slays him along with the assassins.
Non-Historical Characters
The assassins are sent by Achillas as the behest of Theodotus and Pothinus to do away with Cleopatra. Unknowingly, they also lead Vorenus and Pullo to the princess who kill them before they can carry out their task.
Soldiers of the XIII Legion
– Semi-Historical Characters
The soldiers defend the palace from the attack of the Alexandrian mob.
Alexandrian Boys
– Non-Historical Characters
These boys throw rocks at Pullo when the Romans first arrive in Egypt. This action in some ways foreshadows the later attack of the Alexandrian mob.
alexandrian Mob
Semi-Historical Characters
The mob builds up during the episode starting with the execution of Septimius. Their anger grows when their own countrymen Pothinus and Theodotus are killed, and Achillas then leads them in a siege of the palace. Their defeat is announced at Rome by Antony.
Egyptian Priests
– Semi-Historical Characters
The priests stand between Caesar and Ptolemy during their first interaction burning incense and chanting over the king.
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Slave Trader
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