As usual all sorts of things have delayed the addition of this blog entry, so that it is now several weeks since I went to the cinema to see the move Centurion. It is essentially a pretty violent western with a loose second century AD setting. I rather like westerns, and try to do my best to switch off my brain before going to see anything set in the ancient world so that it doesn't upset me. So ultimately it is an enjoyable action/chase story.
History wise, well it's probably best not to dwell too much on that. The background story did not make any sense - with the governor eager to finish a war so taht he could leave his province, and the general premise that the Caledonian tribes fought so hard and in such an unusual way that the Romans had to withdraw and build Hadrian's Wall. Still it is no doubt nice to think that if you are a Scottish nationalist. Was quite surprised to see Inchtuthil depicted as a tiny outpost rather than a base for an entire legion.
Equipment wise, the legionaries looked generally OK & rather reminiscent of Gladiator, although sadly they carried big, broad-headed spears rather than pila. It would be nice if one day someone could get this right in a movie. Just about everyone was in lorica segmentata and there did not seem to be any auxiliaries of any sort, although one chap oddly enough described himself as a peltast. The legion displayed all the enthusiasm of movie armies to bimble along into an ambush without really looking. Inevitably the attack involved setting fire to things. It's been the same since Spartacus! Also not sure about a Caledonian (or Pictish in the movie) horse archer, or indeed warrior women, who in spite of woad and drab clothes look rather as you would expect movie warrior women to look - their woad and limed hair surprisingly flattering. I cannot say that seeing one of these stabbed in the eyeball with the broken shaft of an arrow quite fits with my idea of entertainment, but no doubt I am just old fashioned.
I missed Agora in the cinemas so will have to wait to rent the dvd. Have no idea whether or not it was any good, but did wonder how you could stretch Hypatia's story to a whole movie. I believe that The Eagle of the Ninth is coming later in the year, so it will be back north of the Wall again. I have fond memories of watching a BBC children's television version of this when I was young, but have been told that tapes of this no longer exist. Pity, as in my memory it was rather good.