Roman Empire: Reign of Blood (2016) s02e04 Episode Script

Queen of the Nile

[narrator] For over a year, Julius Caesar has been chasing Pompey Magnus across the Mediterranean in a civil war that's threatened to destroy the Roman Republic.
Now, on a field in Greece, Caesar, Mark Antony, and 22,000 soldiers face off against Pompey, Brutus, and their army of 45,000.
Everything we've accomplished has led us to this moment.
We've been outnumbered before, but it has never stopped us.
We've fought for glory, but today we fight for honor.
Today, we show them who we are.
Caesar and Pompey are Rome's two greatest generals.
And it's really a question as to whether the old master, Pompey, is going to be upstaged by the young rising star, Caesar.
[soldier] First ranks, charge! [Antony] Listen up! This is it! Charge! [narrator] Caesar's men hold their position.
Maintain formation! [narrator] But Pompey has a secret weapon a cavalry with 7,000 men.
Pompey is hoping that his magnificent cavalry outdoes any cavalry that Caesar has.
He's hoping that the cavalry can win the day on the battlefield.
Second ranks, to arms! [horn blows] [narrator] But Caesar is one step ahead of Pompey.
Caesar comes up with a really clever counter to Pompey's cavalry.
He holds some of his infantry men in reserve, and he pivots them like a swinging door in the way of Pompey's cavalry, and they break the charge of Pompey's cavalry.
[Caesar] Send the reinforcements! [Strauss] Pompey's cavalry do not recover from this, and that's pretty much the end of Pompey's offensive in this battle.
And now, the initiative goes over to Caesar.
Push forward! One of the big advantages that Caesar had was leading the same legions that had just helped him conquer Gaul.
They were well-trained, they were well-disciplined.
These guys were not just battle hardened, they had been together with each other.
[narrator] After just an hour of fighting, Pompey retreats.
Caesar claims victory, killing 15,000 of Pompey's men, and taking another 20,000 as prisoners.
[Toner] After the battle, Caesar catches the rest of the senators and now he has what he wants.
He has ultimate control of Roman politics.
Where is he? Where is he? Where's Pompey? We've searched every tent.
He must have fled.
Caesar gave one very clear instruction to his men, and that was that should any of them see Brutus on the battlefield, they were not to kill him.
Part of the reason why he was so concerned for Brutus might surely be that he was concerned for Servilia as well, looking out for her interests.
But another part might be that he was genuinely concerned for Brutus that he wanted Brutus to side with him.
[narrator] Caesar has won the Battle of Pharsalus, but he knows he won't have control of Rome until Pompey is killed.
Julius Caesar's victory in Greece will not be complete until he captures his archrival, Pompey.
[Brennan] As long as he remained alive, Pompey, even a hobbled Pompey without much of an army, was a threat.
One of his men says he was headed towards Cyprus.
Another claims he's gone to Africa.
I suggest we split our forces.
We can each take a legion You're not going.
I need you in Rome.
For what? I need someone there to maintain order.
There are plenty of men more capable.
I can better serve you here.
You're the only one I can trust.
Take whatever men you need.
What about Pompey? Knowing him, he'll attempt to raise an army in the east.
That's where he won his conquests.
They'll remember him there.
In Judea? Alexandria.
[narrator] Alexandria is a port city a thousand miles east of Rome, in Egypt, one of the strongest empires in the world.
Egyptian civilization was extremely old.
It had been there for thousands of years, back to the pharaohs.
The Romans were the new kids on the block.
[narrator] For centuries, this ancient power has been one of Rome's closest allies.
Egypt was one of the richest regions in the entire Mediterranean world.
They had always been shipping money, grain, and gold to Rome.
[narrator] Pompey has a long history with Egypt, and hopes to use it to defeat Caesar.
A few years previously, Pompey had loaned significant amounts of money to the Egyptian Crown.
This was why Pompey had fled to Egypt in the first place.
He knew that the Egyptian throne still owed him that money, and he planned on using that debt as leverage to get the Egyptians to support him against Caesar.
[narrator] This massive kingdom is ruled by a fourteen-year-old boy named Ptolemy.
[Strauss] Ptolemy was a boy king who had been left the crown by his father in his will.
It was quite usual in Egyptian society for a king to come to the throne at a very early age.
It's an honor to finally meet you, Your Highness.
My name is Pompey Magnus.
I know who you are.
What do you want? As I'm sure you are aware, Rome is at war with a small, but well-trained army of rebels.
I've come here on behalf of the people of Rome to ask for your support.
How can I help? As we speak, I am raising new legions across Africa.
But to ensure a swift and decisive victory, I ask you that you pledge your armies to fight on the side of Rome.
To defeat a small band of rebels? We could use all the allies we have.
We've drawn the rebels out of Italy, and concentrated their forces in an area where it will be easier for us to attack.
I'm impressed.
But my regent tells me that you've just suffered a devastating loss to Caesar in Greece.
A minor setback.
The Great Pompey Magnus, Conqueror of the East, Defeater of Spartacus bowing down and begging for help.
I know you're dealing with your own war.
But we cannot let Rome fall.
Once I defeat Caesar with your help, I will return with my armies.
[narrator] If Pompey gets the support of King Ptolemy, he'll gain the upper hand against Caesar and threaten to take down the Roman Republic.
Egypt was an enormous source of anxiety, because Egypt played a very important role in Rome's own food supply.
By choking off the port of Alexandria, you could pretty much bring Rome to its knees, so there was a lot of anxiety about having Pompey or any person of power ensconced in Egypt.
[narrator] To add to the instability in Egypt, Ptolemy is already in the throes of his own civil war.
When Ptolemy's father had died he had actually appointed Ptolemy as co-king with his sister and the two of them had actually married, something which was perfectly normal in Egyptian society.
But the two of them had fallen out and Ptolemy had been left as sole regent.
And she had gone into hiding.
[narrator] Caesar realizes how unpredictable things are in Egypt.
And for all he knows, he could be heading directly into a trap.
Your Highness.
If you're here to ask for my armies you're too late.
You look disappointed? Cover it up.
Cover it up! [Strauss] Ptolemy kills Pompey and has his head presented to Caesar when he arrives in Egypt, hoping, I think, that it would somehow ingratiate himself with Caesar.
But, in fact, Caesar is horrified.
He's outraged that the great Roman general and indeed someone who had been a relative of his suffers such a undignified fate.
Why? Since you're no longer at war, you can help me fight mine.
Now, we're allies.
I need to get back to Rome.
You owe me.
Once things get settled in Rome, I'll do all I can.
It wasn't a request.
Keep him here until he changes his mind.
[narrator] After two years chasing Pompey across Italy and Greece, Julius Caesar is put under house arrest as he awaits his fate.
Once Caesar found himself in Egypt, he became ensconced in a situation of extraordinary civil unrest.
Caesar himself essentially became a prisoner in the city.
I apologize about all this.
Then let me go.
I suggest you do as the Emperor requests.
Lend him your armies, help him end this rebellion against his sister.
Let me talk to both of them.
I'm sure I can resolve this whole thing without any bloodshed.
King Ptolemy isn't interested in negotiating.
Is that him talking, or you? You should make yourself comfortable.
You could be here a while.
Caesar arrives in Egypt and underestimates what the Egyptian reaction will be.
He finds himself holed up in Alexandria, unable to do anything.
[narrator] As Caesar weighs his decision to support King Ptolemy, his newly won republic is spiraling into chaos.
Since Pompey and the senators evacuated Rome, the city has been without a functioning government.
The biggest problem is the lack of food.
The city of Rome by this point had a population well over a million people.
It required regular grain shipments from Sicily, from Egypt, from other parts of the empire.
The city simply could not sustain itself.
And with no administrative apparatus, with nobody in charge, the city was literally eating itself alive.
[narrator] While grain is still being delivered to the city, it's no longer making it to the people, creating a firestorm.
The man charged with maintaining order is Mark Antony, a valiant soldier, but someone with no political ambitions.
[Duncan] Mark Antony did not seem to have a care in the world.
He liked drinking, he liked gambling, he liked women.
And the Roman Republic was being run quite badly.
Sir Another riot's broken out.
Shipments are coming.
Tell them to be patient.
We have to do something.
Break it up.
Use force if necessary.
- Sir - Do it.
Mark Antony turns out to be a bad choice to govern Rome in Caesar's absence.
He's not able to deal with popular unrest.
He's forced to resort to the blunt instrument of sending troops into the Forum.
[narrator] Under Mark Antony's command, over a hundred civilians are killed, including women and children.
Proving Rome needs a leader like Caesar now, more than ever.
As Rome slides into turmoil, Caesar's refusal to support King Ptolemy is becoming unsafe.
How long till the guards change? Who are you? Cleopatra.
You refused to help my brother.
Why? Why does it matter? I need to know.
I didn't want to get involved.
And now? I still don't.
Even if I got you out of here? If I say no, I assume your guards will kill me? Probably.
Then I don't have much of a choice then, do I? Cleopatra was an intellectual.
She was ambitious and she was driven.
She desired power above all things, and through aligning herself with Caesar, Cleopatra had everything to gain.
[narrator] By freeing Caesar, Cleopatra hopes to strengthen her position in the war against her brother, King Ptolemy.
[Strauss] Cleopatra has lost out in the power struggles in the royal family.
But she finds a way to power, and that way is called Julius Caesar.
[narrator] Caesar backs the young queen, believing it will help him and the Republic.
[Strauss] There was something in this relationship for each party.
Caesar became convinced that Cleopatra was a sure bet for stability in Egypt.
Cleopatra, of course, saw Caesar and his legionaries as her only road to power in Egypt.
[narrator] Caesar sends for reinforcements in Greece and Italy, and combined with Cleopatra's own troops devises a plan to defeat the king.
In 47 B.
, Caesar and Cleopatra's army of 20,000 men lays siege against Ptolemy in the city of Alexandria.
After several months of fighting, King Ptolemy's forces are defeated.
While escaping the city, Ptolemy drowns in the Nile and Cleopatra takes full control of the kingdom.
Caesar can now return to Rome, but his alliance with Cleopatra has become more than political.
Cleopatra impresses Caesar with both her political skills and her beauty.
They quickly become allies and lovers.
She was exactly the kind of woman who would appeal to a man as brilliant as Julius Caesar.
[narrator] While Caesar enjoys his new role in Egypt, the troubles back home continue to escalate.
Riots are breaking out in Rome.
Antony's lost control of the situation.
Then replace him.
I have to get back.
To tend to your duties as a glorified senator? I'll be consul.
A chairman for the Senate? If that's what you want, then go.
But if you're looking for real power, you won't find it in Rome.
Stay with me and we'll will rule Egypt together as King and Queen.
Why are you so determined to keep me out of Rome? - I'm not.
- I think you are.
And I think you have been this whole time.
Why would I? To weaken Rome? Hold onto power? You tell me.
What exactly are you accusing me of? I know when I'm being used.
So now I'm using you? Aren't you? [Strauss] Caesar ultimately has to return to Rome because that's where the government is, that's where the power is.
Caesar has to arrange Roman politics, but you can't settle Roman politics without going to Rome.
[narrator] It's been 12 years since Caesar was forced out of Rome.
Now, he's heading home to save the city that's fallen into chaos.
Caesar needs to win back the people to his side who may have become disgruntled after being treated in such a heavy-handed way by Mark Antony.
Get out.
I trusted you to maintain order.
And I did.
If you did, the people wouldn't be protesting.
They're protesting because your war left them without a Senate.
How could you bring my army into Rome? People were rioting.
- Because they were hungry.
- You told me to maintain order.
- What was I supposed to do? - Feed them! I broke up the riots.
- You killed women and children.
- I did what you told me to do.
I would have helped them! Then maybe you should have been here.
Not in Egypt.
I should have been here.
But don't blame me for what you did.
[narrator] To save Rome from collapsing, Caesar will have to rebuild the government.
He calls a meeting with all the senators who sided with Pompey to determine their fate.
You had the power to end this war.
And you did nothing.
And that makes you guilty.
All of you.
Roman blood is on your hands.
You stood by and let one of your own become consumed by greed and power.
Why? Fear? Fear of retribution? This Republic cannot function without a Senate.
And clearly, this Senate cannot function under fear of retribution.
Let this serve as an example.
There will be no vengeance.
You may take your seats.
Caesar decided, for his part, to have a program of clemency; he was going to forgive people and incorporate them within his own circle.
In so doing, he could strengthen his hand, because he could bring to his side some of the noble Romans, so it would make his cause look all the better again.
[narrator] But Caesar's forgiveness doesn't come without a price.
For more than four centuries, the Senate has guided Rome through times of prosperity, and times of struggle.
Now is a time to rebuild.
We can earn back the trust of the people, but it will take time, and it will take effort.
It is with Rome's interests in mind that I hereby nominate Julius Caesar to serve as dictator for the next ten years to help guide us back to a path of honor, and lead Rome to the great future it deserves.
I graciously accept this honor, and the enormous responsibility that comes with it should the nomination be confirmed.
All those in favor? Caesar resurrects an office that had really fallen into disuse, which is the dictatorship.
This is one man, for a limited amount of time, holds absolute sole authority.
[Brennan] The dictator was Started off life as an emergency office only to be held for six months.
It was almost a primeval feature of the Roman republican constitution.
Caesar held this office, not for a military emergency, but for reconstituting the Roman state.
To put it back together in such a way that he would have an unassailable position at the very top, and this was extremely un-Roman.
It was a real slap in the face not just to the Senate, but to the entire idea of the Republic.
The vote is unanimous.
[narrator] By appointing himself dictator for ten years, Caesar ignores the rules of the constitution, allowing him more time to fix the Republic.
[Duncan] Caesar had a keen sense of what was working in the Republic, and what was not working.
Economic inequality.
The Senate was filled with corruption.
The calendar had completely fallen out of whack, their ability to keep time had even fallen into a deplorable state.
Caesar, he could see all of it, he could see what needed to be done.
Him assuming dictatorial power allowed him to make reforms that had not been able to be carried forth.
[narrator] Caesar's first order of business is to feed a population that's on the brink of starvation.
So he creates a new distribution system that delivers grain to the people.
And he puts on a series of games, where gladiators fight to the death.
[Irvin] The gladiatorial games that Caesar celebrated was on a massive scale that the Romans had only seen a couple of times previously.
But it was really Julius Caesar himself who had perfected the use of gladiator contests as a way of mobilizing popular opinion.
[narrator] These reforms bring stability back to Rome and earn Caesar the love of the people, something he's desired his entire career.
Cesar wanted the support of the Roman people.
He wanted to be seen as a legitimate ruler.
He didn't want to be seen as a simple military tyrant.
[narrator] While Caesar puts himself above the Senate, he still needs them to execute his orders.
So he invites many of the younger nobles, like Brutus, to help draft his policies.
[Strauss] Caesar is particularly eager to bring Brutus to his side.
For one thing, of course, Brutus is the son of Caesar's longtime mistress, Servilia.
But the other thing is that Brutus in some sense is Mr.
Brutus, as the man who has the ancestry and a man who is universally respected by the Roman people, having Brutus on your side is a very valuable card to play, and Caesar wants to play it to the full.
The Republic's changing.
We need to change with it.
That's something Pompey never accepted.
And yet you sided with him and not me.
Why? He had a larger army.
More experience.
The support of the Senate.
And I didn't think you could win.
Honesty is very hard to come by.
Especially in the Senate.
There are very few who understand what needs to be done, and even fewer who I trust.
I want you to oversee affairs here and in Gaul, make sure the local magistrates are implementing the new laws.
And of course you'll need some authority, so I'll be appointing you governor.
That's quite an honor.
Then it's settled.
It's just I don't think I'm eligible.
I haven't held high enough office.
I'll make sure the Senate approves your appointment.
Caesar had given Brutus some preferential treatment.
No doubt regard for Servilia, his mistress Even though their affair seems to have ended, they still had a strong friendship which lasted a long time.
You look well.
Aren't you going to offer me any wine? Yes, of course.
How was Egypt? Memorable? I'm sure the pyramids were breathtaking.
It's good to see you.
I just wanted to say thank you.
For what? Sparing Brutus's life.
Get help, now!