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De Patre Vostro (About Your Father)

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De Patre Vostro (About Your Father)
Aboutfatherpro
Season Two
Number 22
Date Aired March 25, 2007
Writer Bruno Heller
Director John Maybury
Previous Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus
(No God Can Stop a Hungry Man
Next N/A
Time frame September 31 BC to August 13–15, 29 BC

Defeated militarily by Octavian, Marc Antony returns to Egypt, where he and Cleopatra settle into a world of debauchery. Octavian tries to use Pullo as leverage to Vorenus to gain access to the palace, but Vorenus stays loyal to Antony. Finally, it is Cleopatra who dupes Antony,saving her own life by sacrificing her honor. Ceasar Octavian triumphs in Rome.

SynopsisEdit

After losing the Battle of Actium, a vanquished Mark Antony barricades himself with Cleopatra in their palace in Alexandria. The palace becomes a place of never-ending orgies as Mark Antony and Cleopatra drug and drink themselves into a stupor. Octavian sends an emissary to Mark Antony, with a secret message to Lucius Vorenus, offering him amnesty if he will betray Antony and open the palace gates in an attempt to avoid a direct assault on the palace which might lead to a popular uprising. It is made clear that Titus Pullo is aware that Caesarion is his son and that Vorenus also knows this. Mark Antony refuses Octavian's offer of unconditional surrender and challenges Octavian to single combat. Vorenus also refuses to betray Mark Antony. Practice with Vorenus and then with an emasculated courtier shows how much Mark Antony's physical condition has deteriorated alongside his mental condition.

Octavian refuses the challenge as barbaric and secretly sends word to Cleopatra offering her the chance to keep the crown of Egypt and save the lives of her children if she gives up Mark Antony. She tricks Mark Antony into believing that she has committed suicide. Vorenus assists in Antony's suicide at his request. Vorenus, shocked to find Cleopatra still alive, tells her that Octavian will keep Mark Antony's children alive as a popular gesture of mercy but will almost certainly kill Caesarion as a potential rival to the rule of Rome; he also reveals his plans to escape with Caesarion in an attempt to keep him alive. It is made clear that Cleopatra knows that Caesarion is actually Titus Pullo's son.

Upon meeting Octavian and failing to seduce him as she had Mark Antony, Cleopatra realizes that he wishes to take her kingdom and parade her, alive but in chains, in Rome at his triumph. She commits suicide by clasping an asp to her breast, and as Octavian's soldiers storm her throne room, she dies, telling Octavian with her final breaths, "You have a rotten soul".

Vorenus has meanwhile escaped the palace with Caesarion and Titus Pullo is charged by Octavian with finding and killing Caesarion. Vorenus and Pullo meet near where they had previously saved Cleopatra's life in the first season and they discuss plans to escape Egypt. Their escape is thwarted at a Roman roadblock when Caesarion speaks in the manner of the Egyptian court. Although they manage to fight their way out, Vorenus is seriously (perhaps mortally) wounded. He demands that Titus Pullo take him to Rome to die.

In Rome, Octavian arrives at his mother's house, bringing with him Cleopatra and Mark Antony's twin children, Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios who he asks Octavia to take under her care. Atia takes the news of Antony's death with satisfaction, but takes little pleasure in her son's success in at last gaining supreme power; Octavia is disturbed by Atia's mood.

After a month-long journey, a badly injured Vorenus and Pullo return to Rome for an emotional reunion at the Collegium. On his sickbed, Vorenus is reconciled with his grieving children. Series creator Bruno Heller later revealed that Vorenus did not die after this scene.

At the same time, Octavian's triumph is taking place. As Livia and Octavia are about to enter a podium in the Forum, late arrival Atia takes the lead, calling Livia a "vicious little trollop," and says, "You're swearing now that some day you will destroy me, but remember that far better women than you have sworn to do the same. Go look for them now." Atia's look, however, is ambiguous as she watches a triumphal float pass by with the masked bodies of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, her lost love and his seducer, as glances are exchanged between Agrippa and Octavia.

A month later, Pullo pays Octavian a visit, lying to him about the fate of Caesarion and is rewarded. He also tells him that Vorenus didn't survive his injuries without giving details on how they were inflicted. Leaving Octavian's palace, he meets Caesarion who begins swearing revenge in his wish to claim his rightful throne as Caesar's heir, "redeeming my father's name!"

The series ends with the pair disappearing into a crowded Roman street as Titus Pullo puts his arm around Caesarion and says "Listen, about your father..."

TriviaEdit

  • Akin to Caesar's death in the previous season, Mark Antony is depicted as covering his face when he is grieving over the "death" of Cleopatra.
  • Since the real Atia had died in 43 B.C., her presence at the triumph of Octavian is fictional.
  • Antony really did challenge Octavian to single combat.
  • Bruno Heller has referred to Antony's fight against the Eunuch as a "Joe Pesci moment".
  • Antony calls Octavian's messenger "young Hermes". Hermes was the Greek equivalent of Mercury, the messenger god.
  • The historian Plutarch wrote that Antony and Cleopatra founded a drinking and eating society called "Those who live without compare." Following their defeat at Actium, they dissolved the society and formed a new one called "Partners in Death."
  • While drinking together, Vorenus and Antony recall a former comrade with a great singing voice who was killed at the Battle of Gergovia when he took a spear to the eye. The battle, fought in 52 BC, was a victory for the Gauls during the Gallic Wars and one of the few times Caesar was defeated.
  • Plutarch and many other ancient historians stated that Cleopatra died by the bite of an asp. In antiquity, an asp was a rather generic term for any number of venomous snakes. It's likely that the actual snake that assisted in her suicide was an Egyptian cobra, a deadly snake capable of killing a human in under 10 minutes with a single bite.
  • Cleopatra's final line of the series, "You have a rotten soul", was a statement made to Bruno Heller by a random elderly woman in New York City's Central Park. The elderly woman approached Heller and his wife out of the blue, made the statement to his face, and then walked off.
  • When Octavian returns to Rome, Atia insults him by calling him a "king." This was a very large insult to any Roman because the entire Republic was, in a sense, based since its foundation upon a common hatred of any form of monarchy. Octavian publicly referred to himself as "first citizen."
  • The scene where Caesarion's cover is blown when he inadvertently responds in Egyptian to a question asked in Egyptian by a Roman sentry is derived from a famous scene in The Great Escape. In that film, two escaped English POW's are caught by a Nazi soldier when they are spoken to in English by the soldier and inadvertently reveal themselves when they instinctively respond in English.
  • During Octavian's triumph, a slave is seen riding in the chariot directly behind him holding a wreath over his head. Whenever a general was receiving a triumph, there would always be a slave standing directly behind him at all times during the procession repeating a mantra in his ear. This mantra was "respice post te, hominem te memento", which translates to "look behind you, and remember that you are human."
  • In lieu of having real enemies paraded through the streets during a triumph, as was the case with Vercingetorix, effigies of the dead would act as substitutes. The episode takes some liberties, with the scene depicting Octavian's triumph where the masked corpses of Antony and Cleopatra are seen fixed to a cart. However, the historian Dio Cassius does record that an effigy of Cleopatra upon a couch was paraded at Octavian's triumph.
  • According to the historians Suetonius and Plutarch, Octavian, although disappointed he could not bring Cleopatra back to Rome, was impressed at her courage and permitted both her and Mark Antony to be buried together. The tomb still remains undiscovered, but is believed to be somewhere around Alexandria.  
  • The game that Octavian is playing in his final scene is merels, which was a popular Roman board game that was equivalent to modern backgammon.
  • It is unclear what actually happened to Caesarion, but the most commonly agreed upon story is that he was lured back to Alexandria in 30 BC and there murdered.

QuotesEdit

Antony [examining the knife Cleopatra apparently used to kill herself] No - this won't do. Let's use a proper, Roman sword.
[Vorenus offers his sword, Antony takes it, regards it for a moment then draws it]
ly respond in English.

'Antony: It's a damn good sword. [Throws the sheath away, looks around the room] It's a good place to die at any rate. Could've been a ditch in Gaul. Men that knew Alexander ... once stood here.

Vorenus: Good a place as any, I suppose
Antony: Lucius Vorenus -- iron to the end. Don't you die here with me. You get out while you can.
Vorenus: I will do that. It's been an honour - serving with you Sir.
Antony: Has it? I - I hope so. [positions the tip of the sword above his stomach] Brace it there, eh?
Vorenus: Any instructions or messages, sir?
Antony: No - Just ... Tell the people I died well. I died Roman.

[Discussing Pullo]
Cleopatra: Is he a good man?
Vorenus: Define "good".

[Atia moves to the head of the women's procession for Augustus' triumph]
Livia: Excuse me?
Atia: Yes?
Livia: Oh, I don't mind really, but it is really I who should go first. If you consult the priests, I'll think you'll find the wife takes precedence.
Atia: I don't give a fuck what the priests say. I'll not let a vicious little trollop like you walk ahead of me. I go first.
Livia: I take no offense, of course. You are not yourself.
Atia: I know who you are. I can see you. You're swearing now that, someday, you'll destroy me. Remember that far better women than you have sworn to do the same. Go look for them now.

Aggrippa: We should have taken her [Cleopatra] there and then. 
Octavian: Why abduct her when she'll come on her own accord?
Aggrippa: And what if she follows Mark Antony instead, eh?
Octavian: She betrayed Antony so that she might live, why would she lose heart now?
Maecenas: You can have that effect on people.
Octavian: I was all sweetness and light with her... charm itself.
Maecenas: Yes, that is your most disheartening manner.

[last line of the series]
Titus Pullo: (to Caesarion) About your father...

ReferencesEdit

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