Deus Impeditio Esuritori Nullus
(No God Can Stop a Hungry Man)
Season Two
Number 21
Date Aired March 18, 2007
Writer Mere Smith
Director Steve Shill
Previous A Necessary Fiction
Next De Patre Vostro (About Your Father)
Time frame c. 32 BC

Fresh hostilities break out between Octavian and Mark Antony when Rome's grain supply is threatened.


Rome is facing a dire shortage of grain, forcing Octavian to barter with Mark Antony to get new shipments sent from Egypt. Mark Antony and Cleopatra continually increase their demands in exchange for grain, eventually driving away Octavian's negotiator. In so doing, Antony hopes to push Octavian into declaring war, which Antony believes he can win due to his support among the Roman people. As a last resort to sway public sentiment to his side, Octavian sends Atia and Octavia to Alexandria, knowing that Antony will reject his lover and lawful wife respectively.

Following many weeks at sea all the while suffering from sea sickness, Octavia and Atia arrive in Alexandria, where they are carried in litters to the gate of the royal palace. Much to their surprise, they are not met at the gate by anyone and are forced to wait outside in the heat.

Jocasta greets Atia and Octavia.

While they are waiting outside the palace, Jocasta appears, and much to Atia and Octavia's shock, she is dressed head to toe in Egyptian wear. She explains to Octavia that Cleopatra prefers all the women in court to look this way. Posca then emerges from the palace and awkwardly ushers Jocasta back into the palace, barely breaking words with Octavia and Atia. Octavian's hunch that Antony will reject his lover and his lawful wife are proven correct: Antony refuses to see Atia and Octavia (because he's in the middle of having sex with Cleopatra) and sends them back to Rome. He commands Vorenus to send them away. When Vorenus emerges from the palace to tell her she

Vorenus commands Atia to leave.

must go, Atia flies into a rage and strikes at Vorenus multiple times. Vorenus once again demands that they must leave and Atia again refuses to leave until she sees Antony. Atia is finally convinced to leave only after Vorenus threatens to use the Nubian guards to forcibly take her back to the docks. Back at the ship, Octavia throws her wedding ring out of the window and into the ocean. Back inside the palace, Posca and Jocasta have decided to flee the ever increasing madness of Antony and Cleopatra's court. Posca explains to Jocasta that they must leave nearly everything they have behind if they are to escape Alexandria. Jocasta states that she doesn't care and that she wants to go home. They are suddenly interrupted when Vorenus enters their room. Vorenus realizes that they are planning to defect,

Posca and Jocasta about to escape.

but is understanding of their plight and makes it clear that he will not stand in their way. Posca asks Vorenus if he does not wish to accompany them back to Rome, but Vorenus, ever faithful to Antony, politely declines. Posca and Jocasta are able to safely board the Roman ship and make it successfully back to Rome.Posca and Jocasta suddenly arrive at the ship seeking to return to Rome and to flee the ever increasing madness of Antony and Cleopatra's court. Octavian greets Atia upon her return to Rome and is immediately slapped by his mother for causing her such embarrassment and heartache. She informs Octavian that Posca has something he'd find of interest and then storms off. Posca presents Octavian with the last will and testament of Antony and Cleopatra, which he had stolen before leaving the palace. Octavian uses this as evidence that Antony has gone mad and has become a threat to the state, spreading the news to the people

Maecenas reads Antony's will.

and gaining the Senate's support in a war against Antony. The people of Rome are enraged that their former hero Antony could have so openly rejected his wife in favor of an "Egyptian whore." Public opinion is now solidly in Octavian's camp. Octavian summons Titus Pullo for a personal audience in the Senate house and requests that Pullo come with him to Egypt, hoping that Pullo could reason with Vorenus and mediate for Antony. Pullo expresses his doubts, but agrees to escort Octavian. At the Aventine Collegium, where Pullo is rationing out grain to increasingly restless Romans, Pullo makes final arrangements with his men and Vorenus' children, and leaves Mascius in charge. However, the night before Pullo leaves, he is attacked by Memmio, who Pullo had imprisoned in a small cage since his defeat in the gang wars. Memmio knocks Pullo unconscious and moves in to kill him with a knife. Gaia intervenes, killing Memmio, but is mortally wounded when Memmio stabs her in the abdomen. She As Gaia is being treated by a local doctor, she, aware that she is dying from her multiple stab wounds, confesses to Pullo that she had

Gaia is disposed of in a pond.

killed Eirene and their unborn baby. Pullo, seething with anger at this revelation, chokes her to death. The next morning he dumps her body unceremoniously into a muddy pool, thereby ensuring to Pagan custom that she will never enter the netherworld and her spirit will wander aimlessly in limbo because she has not received proper funeral rites.


  • Because no complete translation of Ancient Egyptian exists, the language substituted for Egyptian in the series is Coptic, which is the language most similar to Ancient Egyptian.
  • Rome was in such a dire shortage of grain from 39-36 BC that there were many reports of cannibalism.
  • Vorena the Elder has joined her aunt Lyde as an acolyte of the goddess Orbona. Orbona was the goddess who granted new children to the childless. She was also the patron goddess of orphans.
  • Octavian is shown in the episode as having somewhat kinky sex with his wife, Livia. Octavian's biographer Suetonius wrote that Octavian was a man of large sexual appetite and that "he was fond of deflowering virgins, who were brought to him from all quarters, even by his own wife."
  • Antony is seen with a tattoo on his chest of a snake coiled around his breast biting into his heart. This is obvious foreshadowing to the manner of Cleopatra's eventual death.
  • The Romans considered Alexandria to the be the only city in the world that could rival their own in importance.
  • Atia makes a point of saying that "the Ptolemies were originally goat herders." She is referring to Cleopatra's royal blood line. This blood line began with Ptolemy I, who was one of Alexander the Great's Macedonian generals. He was also a close personal friend of Alexander since childhood. Following Alexander's death, Ptolemy took control of Egypt and established the royal dynasty that Cleopatra descends from.
  • During the filming of Antony and Cleopatra's love making/fighting scenes in this episode, the set was constantly blasting a recording of Marilyn Manson's cover of "Tainted Love."
  • Historically, Octavian publicly revealed the contents of Antony's will at a special meeting of the Senate. The Senators were most troubled by the fact that Antony desired to be buried in Alexandria, even if he were to die in Rome.


Vorenus: Sir your "wife" instructed me to tell you something.
Antony: Oh?
Vorenus: She instructed me to tell you that "you are cowardly scum".
Antony: [laughs] She did, did she? - and what's your opinion of that?
Vorenus: It's not my place to have an opinion , Sir.
Antony: Ah - tell me anyway.
Vorenus: Is that an order?
Antony: Yes. That's an order.
Vorenus: You're no coward, but you do have a strong disease in your soul. A disease that will eat away at you - until you die.
Antony: Really. Hmm. And what is this disease?
Vorenus: I don't know. I'm not a doctor.
Antony: No - no you're not. So how can you be so sure of your diagnosis?
Vorenus: I recognize your symptoms. I have the same sickness.


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