TV antiquity

Swords, sandals, blood and sand

By Sylvie Magerstädt

TV antiquity
Hardcover +
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781784995324
  • Publish Date: Mar 2019
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526100061
  • Publish Date: Mar 2019
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information


    TV antiquity explores representations of ancient Greece and Rome throughout television history. The first comprehensive overview of the 'swords and sandals' genre on the small screen, it argues that these shows offer a distinct perspective on the ancient world. The book traces the historic development of fictional representations of antiquity from the staged black-and-white shows of the 1950s and 1960s to the most recent digital spectacles. One of its key insights is that the structure of serial television is at times better suited to exploring the complex mythic and historic plots of antiquity. Featuring a range of case studies, from popular serials like I, Claudius (1976) and Rome (2005-8) to lesser known works like The Caesars (1968) and The Eagle of the Ninth (1976), the book illustrates how broader cultural, political and economic issues have over time influenced the representation of antiquity on television.


    Part I: The ancient world as serial television drama
    Part II: Pepla and politics: the emergence of a television genre (1960s)
    Case study 1: The Caesars (1968)
    Case study 2: L'Odissea/The Odyssey (1968)
    Part III: Costumes and censorship: the BBC's Roman Empire (1970s)
    Case study 3: I, Claudius (1976)
    Case study 4: The Eagle of the Ninth (1977)
    Part IV: Cult and kitsch: Greco-Roman myths on American television (1980-90s)
    Case study 5: The Last Days of Pompeii (1984)
    Case study 6: Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995-99)
    Part V: Expanse and spectacle: the postmillennial revival of a genre
    Case study 7: Rome (2005-07)
    Case study 8: Spartacus (2010-13)
    Conclusion: what is the future of TV-antiquity?


    Sylvie Magerstädt is Principal Lecturer in Media Cultures at the University of Hertfordshire

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