|Cover of the US release of the first I, Claudius DVD.|
Speaking of TV, one of my all time favorite television shows was and maybe always will be is I Claudius. Now you can have your HBO’s Rome or Gladiator or anything else you want, but they don’t really compare to Claudius. This show was true genius.
It's the story of a twitching, stuttering crippled idiot of a boy who kept records of his family where everyone was expected to succeed in life except him. It tells the story of The Divine Augustus and his wife the Lady Livia and how Claudius was able to endure everything from childhood to maturity, from deception and intrigue to an adulteress wife Messalina and become the fourth Roman Emperor.
I think there maybe only 6 or 8 episodes in the entire series and it was done by the BBC in the mid 70’s, which means of course there was no money put into it and sometimes it shows. But being based on a story by Robert Graves written in the 30’s, what it lacks in production values is more than compensated for by good storytelling and acting done by performers who, if they are still alive, carry a few Sirs or Dames in front of their names now.I won’t tell you about who conspired or killed or slept with whom to get the man or woman or position that they wanted or needed, but I will say that for every move portrayed in the show, if there was no back up by the Praetorian Guard or the army, then it was doomed to failure. The military was always in charge and this is what I learned about Mediterranean politics.
It’s kind of like in ’52 when Col. Nasser overthrew the Muhammad Ali dynasty and deposed King Farouk in Egypt. He had the military behind him to back him up and become the second President of country. Anwar Sadat, who although may have been just a junior officer under Nasser, rose to become Vice-President and then President when Nasser died in 1970. When Sadat was assassinated 11 years later he was succeeded by his Vice-President Hosni Mubarak who was a also the former Air Chief Marshall in the Egyptian air force. Now the military is directly in charge of Egypt’s state of affairs since the resignation of Mr. Mubarak and the military will determine the process of democratization for the country during the next few months. The revolution will not be televised.
|MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)|
I’m talking about the real movers and shakers behind the palace or barrack walls, the ones with the stars on their epaulets and the braids on their chests. The ones who have been in charge since before Cleopatra and Akhenaten before her will decide will decide what will happen in the future and they won’t show you how it’s to be done because the revolution will not be televised.