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Subject: Boardgame in _I, Claudius_ episode? rss

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Jeffrey D Myers
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"Always rely upon a happy mind alone." Geshe Chekhawa.
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Well, I'm finally getting around to watching the _I, Claudius_ PBS series again. (BTW, glad that the U.S. House kept PBS funding intact.) At the very beginning of the second episode, Caesar Augustus is playing a board wargame with a map of Europe with his nephews grandsons!

I imagine that it was simply made up to film the episode, but my intuition has been known to be wrong.... Anyone know the real scoop?
 
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Michael Cousins
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Finedon
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I know the one you mean, it looked like an ancient version of Risk!!!
 
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Halloween Jack
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More Roman Boardgames : http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/w/x/wxk116/roma/rbgames.ht...
 
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Kendall Miles
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I remember the game you're talking about, I just thought it was something made up for the series.
 
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upandawaygames.com
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I agree -- made up. There's no evidence of any such thing in the literature of the period. But! Claudius was apparently quite a gamer! He even had a game built into his coach so that he could game away for hours and hours while he traveled!

This is my favorite mini-series of all time by the way, but looking forward to seeing how the new one on Rome will be this coming Tuesday.
 
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Paul Carmouche
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My sense is that the game was invented for the series, and is not based on a historical game.

All the games that I've read about from that period are abstracts.

Of course, the military leaders of Rome naturally would have planned campaigns over maps, probably could have used pieces on the maps for illustrative purposes and MIGHT possibly have invented some "rules" for the adjudication of the imagined battles. (This is exactly how the Prussians developed their Kriegspiel games in the 19th century.) But if such a spontaneous invention of modern wargaming occured, it was not of sufficient note for anyone to write about, and no artifacts of it exist today AFAIK.

I think this was just an invention by the writers to show the relationship between Claudius and his nephews.
 
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Michael Tsuk
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You were right the first time; the two boys playing with Augustus in that episode were his grandsons Gaius and Lucius, sons of Agrippa and Julia. (Augustus adopted Gaius and Lucius as his heirs).

I also think the game was invented by the filmmakers; there's nothing like it in the book.
 
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nick A
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Yet another post echoing the 'made up for the series' line. I'd say Gaius and Lucius were playing an invented, latinized monopoly - from memory they're rolling dice and moving counters round a board coming up with lines like 'Belgica! Belgica's mine'. I seem to remember there's a debate about whether it's worth buying/building hotels on Britain.

And isn't it a great series ...
 
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John Reiners
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I think they might have been playing a prototype of quo vadis?
 
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Chris Page
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Brilliant, brilliant series.

I think it was probably an invention for the series - it isn't mentioned in the book at all.

It seemed to have a little more to it than Monopoly - there's a line where Augustus comments that one of the boys has taken Rome's corn supply in north Africa, but has it back to the sea, and that's a bad thing.

And here I am arguing the merits of a game that doesn't even exist...

They need to re-release Conquest of the Empire already so I can get on with my life.
 
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