Some trivia… this day in ancient Roman history

I always check each day the fun site rogue classicism for interesting trivia.

Let’s look at today’s entry there.

This Day in Ancient History

ante diem xvi kalendas apriles

Festival of Mars continues (day 17)

Liberalia — a festival of general merriment and wine drinking in honour of Liber Pater (another name for Bacchus)

Agonalia — the rex sacrificulus would offer a ram to various deities

45 B.C. — Julius Caesar defeats Pompey’s sons and Labienus at Munda

136 A.D. — the future emperor Marcus Aurelius dons the toga virilis

180 A.D. — death of Marcus Aurelius at Bononia

461 A.D. — death of Saint Patrick (traditional)


Do you like the movie Gladiator?  There are some great moments in that film.  While the film makers did some absolutely absurd things to Marcus Aurelius… after all, the idea that Marcus Aurelius would have wanted to restore the Republic is pure fantasy … Gladiator does include the day Marcus Aurelius died at Bononia.

Okay… enough of that.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Alice says:

    Despite the gore, I like Gladiator very much. Maximus is fantastic convert material – praying to his family idols something along the lines of, Blessed Mother, protect me, let me know my Father’s will…

    Too bad there was absolutely no reference to the Christian martyrs – filmed but cut out.

  2. Alice: Too bad there was absolutely no reference to the Christian martyrs – filmed but cut out.

    I never knew that. Interesting! Perhaps a “director’s cut” will include that someday.

  3. Rob F. says:

    Fr. Z: Done. I have seen it on my DVD. Brief, but potentially quite moving. I say potentially, because it looked like the prop that the lion was attacking was just a prop, and not a martyr. It was rightly cut out as looking too fake.

  4. Alice says:

    Rob, that’s right. And the director justifies the cut by saying something like – Oh, martyrs. Yes that’s been done. Ho hum.

    It’s odd to see a movie set in 180 AD Rome without a speck of Christianity. That’s modern movie-making: Forget the “Historical Jesus” track. Let’s just pretend Christ never existed! I think I’ll pop in “Quo Vadis?” tonight instead.

  5. Athanasius says:

    There is a “director’s cut” which puts the scenes of the martyrs back in.
    Ridley Scott, the director is a heathen, and sadly doesn’t take much interest in religion. Yet, his justification during the commentary made some sense from a film perspective, he said that if you put in scenes with Christian martyrs, the film becomes about Christianity and not about the subject. It is a segue into a story which in itself is at least as big as the plot.

    From a film perspective that makes perfect sense.

  6. Liam says:

    Rodney Stark’s statistical extrapolations suggest that Rome may have had about 7,000-15,000 Christians aout of a population of roughly 700,000 in that period. So not showing Christians would not be terribly inaccurate.

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