YMMV / Rome

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The show presents one for Brutus. Instead of a righteous crusader who kills Caesar out of a sense of duty, he's a Momma's Boy with an Oedipus Complex who gets duped into killing Caesar (his surrogate father, and his mom's lover) because of a petty family feud that he wants nothing to do with.
  • Anvilicious: The Laser-Guided Karmic Death by Irony of Brutus, stabbed by several soldiers of Caesar's old legion in the same time, as he stands in the middle of them, like Caesar. Aeschylus' anvil needed to be dropped : "By the sword you did your work, and by the sword you die".
  • Foe Yay: Antony flirts with almost everyone, including the people he threatens. With Brutus, in particular, he often seems to veer into pigtail pulling territory. If only the show had included the historical account of him wrapping Brutus's dead body in his purple mantle...
  • Genius Bonus: Many, many, many. While there's plenty of historical inaccuracies, there's just as many where a student of Rome (or just a well informed viewer) can get an extra kick.
    • Case in point, Caesar's demand that the Egyptians pay back "Seventeen thousand thousand drachma" is a bit more impressive if you know he's demanding the equivalent of six hundred and fifty million dollars, in cash.
    • Atia's reference to sending Servilia a well-endowed slave and "six barrels of ice." Six barrels of ice, in Roman times, would have been worth a small fortune: Atia is sending Servilia the same things Atia herself prizes, sex and money (money being, in some ways, the same as power).
    • References to slaves "buying their freedom." Roman slaves were required by law to be paid a small stipend-nothing like a wage, let alone a living wage as we would think of it, but a supply of money nonetheless. Some, especially skilled tradesmen, managed to save enough to buy themselves, making them freed men.
    • All politicians and old Roman gens mentioned fits in the context. For example, in Greece, when Pompey and his senators are discussing how they will share power, since Caesar will soon be crushed, they talk about Lucius Manlius Torquatus, Marcus Terrentius Varro, Titus Labienus and Lucius Scribonius Libo. All four of them were real supports of Pompey, that all went to Greece with him, some having defected from Caesar's side.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Can't Allen Leech go through one TV show stint without falling in love with a noblewoman? It never works out.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Mark Antony does plenty of vile things (such as starving the entire Roman population to make a point) but he's strangely sympathetic and his downfall and death seem genuinely tragic.
    • Vorenus also fits.
    • Servilia, if only because all the crap Atia puts her through. Otherwise she would be just plain Jerkass.
    • Pullo, by all accounts, is not a nice guy. One can't help but feel sorry for him though when Gaia kills his wife and unborn child simply because she wanted to sleep with him.
  • Love to Hate: Atia is a conniving harpy, but she is so casually petulant and whimsical that it's hard to stay mad at her. On top of that, Polly Walker's delivery is so good that her unapologetic villainy is hilarious most of the time.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Caesar manages to not just subdue the entire nation of Gaul, but spin that victory into the Senate trying to effectively excommunicate him.. which was exactly what he wanted as an excuse to march on Rome. Once there, he bribes the priests to say the gods are on his side, establishes a benevolent dictatorship, and forgives most of his enemies, all to undermine their position.
    • Mark Antony is less politically savvy, but even more audacious. First episode, when given a half talent (50 pounds) of gold for a certain mission, he distributes half to a lower officer and tells him "There's a quarter talent there, for bribes and such," stealing the rest. When in Rome, he pretty much openly threatens anyone who disagrees with him or Caesar. But in polite terms:
    Mark Antony: I shall be a good politician... even if it kills me. Or if it kills anyone else, for that matter.
    • Servilia, after Caesar dumped her, went on revenge rampage—not against him, but mostly against the key woman in his household. She infiltrated Atia's house to try to kill her, tried to turn her children against her, and committed suicide in front of Atia as part of a death curse.
    • Atia, albeit much less clever than she thinks she is, loves manipulating anyone she can, from her enemies to her children, without remorse.
    • In the second season, Octavian beats them all, manipulating every other faction to, successively, destroy his political enemies in Rome, have Brutus and Cassius killed for conspiring together in the death of his late father Caesar, then shaming both his mother Atia and Marc Antony in one move before reassigning Marc Antony to Egypt, and finally getting rid of both Antony and Cleopatra to secure Egypt and become Rome's first Princeps to end the civil wars for good.
  • Squick: Many examples. The worst one would be the incest between Octavia and her little brother Octavian. Not to mention what Titus Pullo does to gang leader Memmio near the end of the series.
  • Tear Jerker: The undignified treatment of Vercingetorix, the Gallic chieftain strangled at Caesar's Triumph. The man saw his homeland subjugated and his people enslaved, only for his life to end as a spectacle.
  • The Woobie:
    • Subverted with Lucius Vorenus but played straight with his children.
    • Poor, helpless Octavia. She is pimped by her own mother to a repulsive old man and blackmailed by her dominating lesbian lover into having sex with her brother. This continues in Season Two, where said brother is master of the family and now pimping her to Mark Antony instead. Downplayed in that none of the crap happen to her breaks her, exactly, just turns her more and more cynical and resigned.
    • Niobe, if she hadnít slept with her sisterís husband, would probably have full audience-sympathy. She thought she was a widow, and she tried to move on with her life. Because of a mistake someone else made, she risked death due to an honor before reason patriarchal society. In the end, she willingly gives her life, hoping against hope that would be enough to spare her children.
    • It's hard not to feel a little sorry for Pompey as his army is defeated and his forces disintegrate around him, especially when you see him doing everything he can to keep his family's spirits up as hope for finding some refuge dwindles. By the time Vorenus and Pullo encounter and capture him, he is a completely broken man.
    • Eirene. Nearly everything that happens to her in the series is pretty awful. To start with, she was kidnapped and enslaved from her homeland. Then she has her beloved killed by Pullo after he frees her from slavery, since he intended to marry her. She contemplates murdering Pullo when he's incapacitated, but she decides to forgive him and the two get married in the second season. It seems like the two are happy for a while and Eirene becomes pregnant with Pullo's child, but then in comes Gaia. After Gaia disrespects Eirene in public, she asks Pullo to beat Gaia for being an unruly slave, but they end up having rough sex. Now that Gaia knows that Pullo wants her, she poisons Eirene with an abortifacient, who dies from blood loss with her unborn child.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Rome