I, Claudius: Reign of Terror
November 4, 2017 11:28 PM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Rome, AD 30–31. Tiberius has retired to Capri. Sejanus consolidates his hold on power in Rome by engineering the banishment of Agrippina and her eldest son Nero and having her other son Drusus arrested and starved to death. Sejanus has divorced his wife and approaches Tiberius about marrying Livilla.

Reign Of Terror
Out first scene in the past shows Sejanus' ex-wife begging Antonia for help in getting her children back from Sejanus (under Roman law, children 'belonged' to the father, not the mother). The thing that always strikes me first about this scene is that even Claudius is now grey-haired - so a lot of time has passed. Sejanus' ex says if Antonia doesn't help her, she will tell Tiberius that Livilla murdered Castor with Sejanus' help and Antonia's family name will be ruined (Livilla, in case anyone has lost track, is Claudius' sister and Antonia's daughter; Castor was Tiberius' son). Apicata, the ex, claims that she has slaves who will talk freely or under torture - presumably she means informally, since evidence from slaves was only acceptable in court if it had been obtained under torture. We have already seen that Antonia despises Livilla, but she refuses to believe that her daughter is a murderer and kicks the other woman out. Before she goes, Apicata calls Antonia 'Mark Antony's daughter', reminding us just how old Antonia is and how different Rome was when she was a child. Well, much the same actually, but with different people.
I’m so done with this show, and I’m not even done, and IT JUST KEEPS GETTING MORE UPSETTING.

posted by the man of twists and turns (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Antonia: That's her punishment.
Claudius: How can you sit out here and listen to her?
Antonia: And that's mine.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:51 AM on November 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

sense of smmmelllllll
posted by fleacircus at 1:14 AM on November 5, 2017 [2 favorites]

So, first things first, I must quote the esteemed Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey's comment when the series was discussed on the blue: "Favorite moment is after Sejanus execution and his sister Aelia runs to Claudius (who was strong-armed into marrying her) crying "They're killing everyone!" and Caludius' reaction is one of DEATH-COOTIES! MARKED-FOR-DEATH-COOTIES! GET AWAY! EEEEEW! DON'T TOUCH ME WITH YOUR MARKED-FOR-DEATH-COOTIES!

I paraphrase."

With regard to the review, I read Apicata calling Antonia "The daughter of Mark Antony" as a reference not to her age, but as a rebuke to Antionia's speech about honour and duty.

Antonia says: "You destroyed [Rome], all of you with your greedy ambition and petty selfishness."

Apicata's response roughly translates as: "Fuck you lady, wasn't my dad who helped overthrow the republic."

Two stand out moments in a really dark episode: Claudius' pedantry about Elephants. Antonia's discussing an assassination plot, and he's still worried about elephants.

Second: Livia's prediction about Tiberius naming Caligula as his successor was dead on. Also "Is that a joke uncle?"

"Not yet, but it will be".

Now, I'm not going to spoil this, but that's a very interesting and very very relevant comment. Particularly because now it's pretty clear that in this series we're watching as same basic process repeats itself, and the players can't really change it. We went through it once with Livia, and again with Sejanus. Livia's motivation for power and methods were worlds away from Sejanus'; Sejanus failed where Livia succeeded, but it feels the same somehow. The exiles, listening to helpless screaming of a family member, the murders of those who were on the wrong side... this is just how it goes now.
posted by Grimgrin at 9:34 PM on November 5, 2017

Really glad to see another I, Claudius post, but for some strange reason I don't seem to be in the mood to minutely analyze the point of no return for a mortally wounded democracy
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 7:46 AM on November 6, 2017

the point of no return for a mortally wounded democracy

Dan Carlin talks about how he wanted to do an episode on Cleopatra, but to do that you had to understand Octavian and Antony, and to do that you had to understand Julius, and to do that you have to understand the conflict between Marius and Sulla and the Marian reforms, and in order to understand that ...
Well. Maybe it was inevitable.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:35 AM on November 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

next episode
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:49 PM on November 18, 2017

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