This entertaining and useful book provides a comprehensive survey of films about the ancient world, from The Last Days of Pompeii to Gladiator. Jon Solomon catalogues, describes, and evaluates films set in ancient Greece and Rome, films about Greek and Roman history and mythology, films of the Old and New Testaments, films set in ancient Egypt, Babylon, and Persia, films of ancient tragedies, comic films set in the ancient world, and more. The book has been updated to include feature films and made-for-television movies produced in the past two decades. More than two hundred photographs illustrate both the films themselves and the ancient sources from which their imagery derives.
This updated survey is both rigorous enough to satisfy scholars and boisterous enough to slake the blood-thirst of viewers partial to Gladiator and TV's Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Wider in scope and less academic than Marie Wyke's Projecting the Past: Ancient Rome, Cinema, and History (Routledge, 1997), this work categorizes the films in such chapters as "Greek and Roman History," "Greek and Roman Mythology," "The Old Testament," "The New Testament and Tales of the Christ," and "Babylon, Egypt, Persia, and the Ancient Orient." Solomon's (Accessing Antiquity: The Computerization of Classical Studies) "mosaic" approach even allows for a chapter on "Ancient Comedy and Satirized Ancients," which includes Monty Python's Life of Brian, among other films that might not ordinarily spring to mind. The overall result is solid, lacing together behind-the-scenes trivia, film industry context, and crisp commentary. Enhanced by production stills and promotional photos, the book is unrivaled as an inclusive overview. Recommended for all libraries supporting film. Neal Baker, Earlham Coll., Richmond, IN Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.