BARONY OF RISING WATERS, EALDORMERE – A cinematic debate about Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 film, Spartacus, turned ugly this weekend at Kingdom A&S. Lady Publia Hostilia Asina was the center of the controversy, as she asserted that if Spartacus felt his freedom was important enough to instigate the slave revolt, he should at least sign his name to it.
When it was pointed out that the film made it explicit that Spartacus’ insecurities about his own lack of education prevented him from signing his name to anything, Lady Asina responded with: “There were proper channels to pursue if a slave wanted to be freed. If Spartacus wanted social change, he should have owned his words. Otherwise, he should have kept his trap shut and not upset the other slaves.”
Lady Asina took a very different perspective than most viewers of the film, stating, “If he’s instigating rebellions and gaining traction at the expense of the Roman Empire, he should have grown a pair and at least named himself as leader.”
When it was pointed out that if they had spoken up, non-Roman slaves would almost certainly have been crucified on the spot, Lady Asina scoffed. “Other people suggested methods of affecting change in Imperial Roman society and could not have done it anonymously with any success. Had I been in Spartacus’ place, I would never have tried to instigate a rebellion while concealing my name. That method would never have worked in real life.”
One Spartacus fan asked whether her opinions about political anonymity extended to voting. Lady Asina answered, “Absolutely. If you have any political opinion, you should own it. This idea that identifying yourself will lead to censure and social consequences is ridiculous. There’s a reason that the Roman Empire was so much more successful than the Republic – people always owned their political opinions. Always.”
When another fan brought up the question of whether or not the Roman Empire was really as successful as Lady Asina claimed, she responded: “Without a doubt – and it was in no small part due to heroes like Crassus who stood up to anonymous troublemakers who only wanted to stir up dissention through anonymity, by wisely crucifying the whole lot.”
One thought on “Staunch defender of the Roman Empire: “Clearly, they were all Spartacus.””
Well, Aesop lived in the 6th century BCE, and what he wrote was pretty critical and a bit subversive. Spartacus lived between 103 and 71 BCE so that’s around 400 years of other methods of affecting change…and really things just got worse. The Seleucid Empire collapsed and Rome had a slavery bonanza right around Spartacus’ time.
I know, I know: it’s satire. Calm down. I’ll be in my bunk.