Rate "The Eaters of Light"

For discussion of series 10 of Doctor Who starring Peter Capaldi

Rate "The Eaters of Light"

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25
27%
6
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5
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4
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3
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Total votes : 91

Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby lepter » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:51 pm

well....started good......went down hill......plumited at the end.

Some good ideas such as using the celt/roman conflict.
The plot .....it felt ripped straight out of the viking movie when a spaceship crashes and releases a monster that hunts the locals and the pilot has to stop it. OUTLANDER. This time a portal instead of a spaceship. eating the sun? really?

Im sure bill is gay...not sure why I know this.. :roll: .. (im being facesious of course).
The doctor turned horrible again all through the episode and bill was just grating.

bad cg rocks and crows.....but the missy scenes......are they insinuating thoe doctor had a relationship with the master/missy?

well.....can you imagine pertwee romancing delgado?

a poor 4 from me.
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby lepter » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:57 pm

lepter wrote:well....started good......went down hill......plumeted at the end.

Some good ideas such as using the celt/roman conflict.
The plot .....it felt ripped straight out of the viking movie when a spaceship crashes and releases a monster that hunts the locals and the pilot has to stop it. OUTLANDER. This time a portal instead of a spaceship. eating the sun? really?

Im sure bill is gay...not sure why I know this.. :roll: .. (im being facesious of course).
The doctor turned horrible again all through the episode and bill was just grating.

bad cg rocks and crows.....but the missy scenes......are they insinuating thoe doctor had a relationship with the master/missy?

well.....can you imagine pertwee romancing delgado?

a poor 4 from me.
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby lepter » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:58 pm

lepter wrote:
lepter wrote:well....started good......went down hill......plumeted at the end.

Some good ideas such as using the celt/roman conflict.
The plot .....it felt ripped straight out of the viking movie when a spaceship crashes and releases a monster that hunts the locals and the pilot has to stop it. OUTLANDER. This time a portal instead of a spaceship. eating the sun? really?

Im sure bill is gay...not sure why I know this.. :roll: .. (im being facesious of course).
The doctor turned horrible again all through the episode and bill was just grating.

bad cg rocks and crows.....but the missy scenes......are they insinuating thoe doctor had a relationship with the master/missy?

well.....can you imagine pertwee romancing delgado?

a poor 4 from me.

Wow...quoted my first original post...... :shock:
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby thecypher » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:28 pm

I took a quick browse through the comment sections on the Doctor Who Facebook page, and the consensus on this episode there is very much the same as it is here. The main point of contention seems to be needlessly mentioning the fact Bill is attracted to women every week. Rose was, let's be honest, far more attractive and didn't have (as far as I remember) anybody hitting on her - yet people either hit on Bill every few weeks, or say something that forces her to mention her sexuality. People seem to be up-in-arms over the fact the show is pushing lefty issues, more than it is pushing sci-fi.

I agree with them.
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby -JMW- » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:10 pm

thecypher wrote:I took a quick browse through the comment sections on the Doctor Who Facebook page, and the consensus on this episode there is very much the same as it is here. The main point of contention seems to be needlessly mentioning the fact Bill is attracted to women every week. Rose was, let's be honest, far more attractive and didn't have (as far as I remember) anybody hitting on her - yet people either hit on Bill every few weeks, or say something that forces her to mention her sexuality. People seem to be up-in-arms over the fact the show is pushing lefty issues, more than it is pushing sci-fi.

I agree with them.

Well that's just stupid...the show doesn't need to "push sci-fi"...it is a sci-fi fantasy show...The sci-fi permeates the entire episode. :shock:

What these fantasy shows do often though is to promote issues that concern the writer....and this has been the case since the show began....and the case with many other shows, old and new. We mightn't agree with an agenda, but it should be no surprise that these things are presented.
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby The Wooksta! » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:49 pm

There's a world of difference between presenting things and laying them on with a JCB!

Having spoken to a few friends who are watching the programme - and they're more people who just watch the show than yer actual fans - the whole "Bill is gay" is so repeatedly rammed down their throats each week that it's actually turning them off.

And don't expect the show to get any better when Moffat's gone. Chibnall isn't a particularly good writer or show runner - Torchwood being just one example. He largely squandering a superb premise by making Captain Jack completely gay (previously, he'd shag anything) and equating juvenile with adult, the prime example showing a doorman having a w*nk over some bird getting it on in the second episode.
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby -JMW- » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:19 pm

The Wooksta! wrote:Chibnall isn't a particularly good writer or show runner

He is certainly capable of incredibly popular material - Broadchurch Series three being the most successful UK drama of 2017 so far.
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby -JMW- » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:34 pm

I've just watched this again and I think I have finally got the main story sussed.

The Doctor takes Bill to 200AD Scotland as she has challenged his supreme historical knowledge claiming that the ninth Roman legion were not all slaughtered in battle.
Nardol discovers that crows can "talk".

So far so good...

The Doctor and co have arrived at a point in time where a "Dragon" is on the loose.
We meet the Picts. We are informed that every seventy years a nearby portal opens and a Pict warrior sacrifices him/herself by entering and defending the exit against monsters.

As we later find out...
- Time in the portal moves incredibly slowly - a few minutes equates to days in the real world.
- The "dragons" eat light and open portals to worlds where there are plentiful resources (the stars).
When they encounter a life-form they feed on the "energy" that the light provides and leave only a husk.
- The exit can only fit a single "Dragon" and so it is just possible to keep it occupied for a few days...which is sufficient to cover around seventy years in the real world - time enough for a replacement warrior monitor the site and to undertake the sacrificial role when the portal eventually opens again.

But something went wrong this time....
The Roman legion slaughtered the locals and only a few children remain. The dragon is released and Kar, seizing an opportunity for revenge leads the beast to the Ninth Roman Legion.
The dragon slaughters all but the young who flee, but in the process the dragon is injured and remains weakened, roaming the area seeking living sustenance.

Unfortunately the food source it finds is the Roman accompanying Bill. It then chases her but is forced away by the remaining Romans.

The portal opens again the next day and the Doctor discovers the time differential before it closes, narrowly avoiding the potential of another dragon escape.

Once the Romans and Picts meet up they decide to band together with encouragement. Against the Doctor's wishes a few of them decide to enter the portal and defend it. Knowing that each will die within days, they decide to take turns whilst in the portal...the accumulated time translated to real time, presumably keeping the dragons at bay until at least the present day (who knows what will happen in the future!).

A nearby crow, as if in constant reminder squawks the name "Kar" as it flies away. The Doctor and co return to the TARDIS. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea is getting cold.

It took a couple of viewings, but now it seems to make some sense to me.

My daughter was captivated from start to finish, so I suppose the protracted dialogue did not at all detract from her experience...needless to say neither did the discussion of sexuality.
She was also excited to see Missy again, but even more excited by the "Next Time" trailer....in particular Missy dabbing and the appearance of John Simms caused a squee (I'd primed her for that over the last few weeks with a viewing of select master stories). None of it phases her...."Of course the two can meet" she informed me..."they've probably just gone back to when that Master existed".

[I've taken the liberty of changing your exposition to be in quote tags since I was finding the "code" tags made it quite hard to read. Is that OK? Liz]
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby iank » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:42 pm

She's been poorly written since Extremis, and being gay has become her sole character point. Which may explain why Bill's been cracked onto more times in one season than happened to Rose, Martha, Amy and Clara put together - which, with all due respect to Pearl Mackie, doesn't seem terribly credible somehow. :D
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby -JMW- » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:27 pm

iank wrote:She's been poorly written since Extremis, and being gay has become her sole character point. Which may explain why Bill's been cracked onto more times in one season than happened to Rose, Martha, Amy and Clara put together - which, with all due respect to Pearl Mackie, doesn't seem terribly credible somehow. :D

Being "gay" isn't her main character point...being self-conscious to the point of being forward about it though is an understandable character trait. However up until this week the characters have only discussed sexuality during appropriate moments haven't they?

Her main character point is that she's "switched on" in this new environment. We have a character who has already immersed herself in basic sci-fi/fantasy concepts from movies, whilst also attending a university (albeit to serve chips) and learning enough about history to challenge the Doctor...a smart cookie, possessing a forthright attitude to take on challenges (she certainly took control of the hapless Romans)....
Yet she's not glib - something which some have complained about other characters.
Instead of glibness, she seems to posses a child-like awe.
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby George Agdgdgwngo » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:30 pm

It was sh*te
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby LizR » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:07 am

Thanks for the outline description, JMW. It still doesn't explain why the light eaters eat people, exactly, but I can live with that. As you have shown, the story itself is well constructed (on its own terms) and the main annoyances are peripheral things like the heavy handed (and apparently historically inaccurate) discussion of sexuality - although I personally think it's far more likely that a young, lonely Roman soldier, far from home and in great danger, would hit on Bill than some of the other examples we've seen, so this would have been the ideal place for one definitive show-don't-tell scene on this subject. And the somewhat unbelievable way the characters behave as though plunging deep into history is just like a trip to Disneyworld (of course old Who did this sometimes, but not as consistently). And a few other niggles.
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby Sid Rat » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:40 am

-JMW- wrote:It took a couple of viewings, but now it seems to make some sense to me.

Therein lies the problem for me. A story shouldn't take more than one viewing to make sense, let alone only 'some' sense.
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby -JMW- » Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:14 am

LizR wrote:It still doesn't explain why the light eaters eat people, exactly, but I can live with that. As you have shown

The Doctor, on first encountering a dead Roman in the story, did remark that he'd had the sun removed from him...so presumably it's devoured anything in the body infused the sun's energy and maybe that process is wasteful.

I'd have to theorise about a few things touched upon in the story though....
- I presume the material on the other side of the portal was some kind of amniotic energy(?) sustaining the dragons until they are bold enough to break free every few days (Seventy years in real time).
- Presumably the portal must not be sealed shut forever, but rather open regularly (seventy years) in order to (as Nardole put it, facilitate ventilation when by-products (gases?) expand and threaten to blow the portal open wider.

, the story itself is well constructed (on its own terms) and the main annoyances are peripheral things like the heavy handed (and apparently historically inaccurate) discussion of sexuality - although I personally think it's far more likely that a young, lonely Roman soldier, far from home and in great danger, would hit on Bill than some of the other examples we've seen, so this would have been the ideal place for one definitive show-don't-tell scene on this subject.

I'm no expert on all things historical...but would strapping young Roman lads not consider someone of Bill's ethnicity to be something of a Nubian fantasy...to be desired and owned perhaps?

Doesn't matter I suppose because we weren't there during that period, and these particular events, adjunct to the fantasy can be envisioned in many valid ways. Was it the norm for standard Romans to believe in batting for both sides? I doubt it myself, but I don't doubt there were tales of indifferent debauchery among the wealthy.

And the somewhat unbelievable way the characters behave as though plunging deep into history is just like a trip to Disneyworld (of course old Who did this sometimes, but not as consistently). And a few other niggles.

Well, the show is supposed to be child friendly fun isn't it?
The alternative would be near constant grim viewing for the young I suppose. I don't think the show could survive an enforced template of dark emotive realism. It plays better with a mix IMO (the three parter was pretty grim at times).
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby LizR » Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:38 am

Agreed, except for this one.

-JMW- wrote:The alternative would be near constant grim viewing for the young I suppose. I don't think the show could survive an enforced template of dark emotive realism. It plays better with a mix IMO (the three parter was pretty grim at times).


You've perhaps misunderstood. I'm not after "dark emotive realism" - just realism. To give an example, as a child I missed the original version of "The Daleks" but saw the movie version, and read the novelisation. And I appreciated the way the characters explored the petrified forest - they behaved as though they were in a strange and interesting situation, they were curious - but they were also cautious, and somewhat nervous, as was shown when Susan (inevitably) met what turned out to be a dead lizard. The point I'm trying to make is that the characters should behave realistically, which I suppose requires a certain amount of slow buildup. I suppose having Bill go gaily* rambling off nonchalantly after 3 seconds is down to the short overall length of the story (ditto the rushed-feeling ending), rather than because the writer really thinks people would behave like kids on an outing, despite allegedly knowing their history.

*Or so I'm told
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby -JMW- » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:08 am

LizR wrote:You've perhaps misunderstood. I'm not after "dark emotive realism" - just realism. To give an example, as a child I missed the original version of "The Daleks" but saw the movie version, and read the novelisation. And I appreciated the way the characters explored the petrified forest - they behaved as though they were in a strange and interesting situation, they were curious - but they were also cautious, and somewhat nervous, as was shown when Susan (inevitably) met what turned out to be a dead lizard. The point I'm trying to make is that the characters should behave realistically, which I suppose requires a certain amount of slow buildup. I suppose having Bill go rambling off nonchalantly after 3 seconds is down to the short overall length of the story (ditto the rushed-feeling ending), rather than because the writer really thinks people would behave like kids on an outing, despite allegedly knowing their history.

I'm sure it's very tricky to balance grounded human behaviour, with the need to push onwards into new territory. It might become repetitive and annoying for a companion to show fears and doubts....and isn't that quality of fearlessness part of the reason the Doctor selects these very few "special" individuals to travel with him.

But additionally I think the programme has always had a tendency to dip in and out of our main character's real-world development...that is to say, I think that much discussion occurs between the doctor and his companions that we are not privy to, which somewhat mitigates the comfort with which they approach situations.

Similar to "Jurassic Park: The Lost World" where we see human explorers immerse themselves in with the huge dangerous, (sometime man-eating) creatures, I suppose that once a determined person has made the jump into such behaviour, they become experienced at assessing threat level and on doing so feel confident with their surroundings.

I also think that with Bill particularly the writers have afforded her a child-like curiosity and shown a credible ability to analyse information with the fortitude to push forward with plans based on her sussing out of a situation.

Amazingly I was originally going to point towards the two Dalek movies in the comment you replied to :D
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby LizR » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:18 am

The first two Dalek stories are kind of "canonical" (in a good way - establishing a lot of things that will be reused many times).

I think the problem (as I see it) is lack of time for the stories to breathe. To engage the audience in a new situation takes a while, in my opinion.
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby -JMW- » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:30 am

LizR wrote:The first two Dalek stories are kind of "canonical" (in a good way - establishing a lot of things that will be reused many times).

Image

Image

:D

I think the problem (as I see it) is lack of time for the stories to breathe. To engage the audience in a new situation takes a while, in my opinion.

A valid point....but at the risk of boring the audience in an era of vast competition.

I think they get the balance about right and skim over some of the elements that we might be able to infer for ourselves with a little imagination. But who knows what wonders CC will produce :)
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby ericthehalfabee » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:47 pm

I'm no expert on all things historical...but would strapping young Roman lads not consider someone of Bill's ethnicity to be something of a Nubian fantasy...to be desired and owned perhaps?


Like liderally what the actual like lideral f*ck are you liderally like talking about?

For a start the 9th Legion was Spanish, as mentioned in the script, and was raised in Spain - so it's a safe bet that the ethnicity of the soldiers was not whatever you think of as "Roman". Then in the realisation of the script, the Romans were cast as racially diverse; black, Asian and Caucasian ("Roman multiculturalism" being a handy get out allowing them to avoid casting any of the picts with black actors).

Secondly, race was not a thing in Rome. Inter-race relations were therefore not unusual. Nor was a race a bar to any profession.

Wikipedia is your friend.

"a Nubian fantasy.... to be desired and owned perhaps?" Jesus. You've been watching too many 1980's Turkish Delight adverts.
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Re: Rate "The Eaters of Light"

Postby shuzbot » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:58 pm

Osirian Oracle wrote:Lucius Septimius Bassianus was from North Africa but the Severans were of mixed Punic–Roman–Berber and Syrian descent. There complexion would have been "Mediterranean" but not what we would now call Black as in Afro-American or Afro-Caribbean. My Egyptian & Tunisian colleagues will tell you they are not black just because the come from Africa.

Legionaries of the 2nd Century had to be citizens - they were drawn from the various citizen colonies throughout the Empire - which increasingly would have included local born Britons - recruitment was complex within the Legions. Citizenship was actually extended to all free males within the borders of the Empire until Caracalla in AD 212.

There were "black" troops as Auxiliaries - Nubians, Ethiopians, & Abyssinians - these were non-Citizens outside the bounds of Empire though. There are no records of Legions having been drawn/recruited from North Africa - the IX Legio was originally recruited from Hispania (Spain) and would have been a mix of citizens of Italian, Punic & Celtic descent. Unless a specific draft was recruited from citizens in Africa most of the replacements would have been drawn from citizens in Gaul, Germany, the Balkans, Danube & Britain. Middle Eastern recruits - Anatolia, Syria, Palestine may have been possible but only if the IX was rotated through that region and took in a substantial new draft.

Are black legionaries possible - yes although they would have been rare in the legions stationed in the North and along the Rhine & Danube. The IX had been in Britain for the best part of 50 years so most of the new recruits would not have come so far. Auxiliaries certainly would be possible - especially as Imperial policy usually called for Auxiliaries to be stationed away from their area of origin.

There aren't any records of Legions recruited in North Africa except for Legio I Macriana Liberatrix ("Macer's Liberators") formed in AD 68 & disbanded the following year (a "rebel" legion). That was recruited in the "African" Province from citizens descended from transplanted/retired Italian/Roman citizen soldiers from G. Marius army (100-80 BC) and inter-married with the local Punic (Carthaginian) population. Legio III Cyrenaica was given the honour title for its service in Cyrenaica not because it was raised there. North Africa was not a particularly active recruiting ground for the Roman Army - it was too important as a grain growing area (particularly Egypt).

North Africans from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia & Morocco aren't black (well with some exceptions in the South of Egypt bordering Sudan). "Black" soldiers were Auxiliaries (not Legionaries) recruited from Nubian, Ethiopian & Abyssinian areas outside the Empire. Even Berbers from North Africa (Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco) although having darker skin than many of the North Africans are not black in the sense of Afro-American or Afro-Caribbean and those Berbers were non-citizens (therefore not able to be recruited as Legionairies until AD 211 after Caracalla's decree giving citizenship to all males within the Empires borders). Even if they had been recruited it would have been as Light Cavalry not as Legionaries because that was their particular specialisation.

Is a black legionary in Britannia in the early 2nd century impossible? No. However it would have been extremely unlikely. An Auxiliary is more likely although there is no record of any movement of African auxiliaries into Britannia after the invasion.

Then again I don't think that accuracy was necessarily what the BBC was going for in its casting (given how unlikely the whole lot are as trained legionnaires and the rubbish costuming for them).

Not in the Republic and not for most of the Empire either. Homosexuality within the legions was a capital offence (see Polybius)(as well as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fustuarium). It's a real mistake to equate modern ideas with Roman concepts of sexuality as it is much more complex and related to ideas of status, power & masculinity. Some Generals were perceived as more "tolerant" of this behaviour (Scipio Amelianius for example) but other were notorious for their distain of any "unmanly" behaviour (G. Marius, Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius during the Republic, Vespasian during the Empire). That's why the behaviour of P. Cornelius Sulla was perceived as so scandalous after he surrendered the Dictatorship during the Republic - his actions were seen as a lessening of his dignatus and authoritas - an unmanning of his public persona.

Legionaries (let alone Centurions) would have been much more circumspect about it - it would have been tolerated as long as sexual gratification was sought in the appropriate places outside the bounds of the military life otherwise it would have not been something they would have drawn attention to.

It's a complex subject - I just would have left it out of the script as your much more likely to get the historical context and nuance wrong (which I felt they did) and frankly it didn't really add anything to the narrative or to Bill's character development. Actually my wife made the observation the attitude to Bill expressing her preferences might have in reality gone to a much darker place - more along the lines of "we all know lesbians just need a good ...." (I'll leave it there for decency's sake).

Craig Williams, Roman Homosexuality (Oxford University Press, 1999, 2010) is regarded as a sort of foundation work.

Also look at the references section on the Wikipedia page on "Homosexuality in ancient Rome".

Edited to add: Read the original sources in translation too - even better learn to read Latin and read in the original!

Though those centres were used to recruit Auxiliaries not Legionaries. Legionaries had to be citizens up until the end of the 2nd Century (100 years after this story was set). Now you could become a citizen after serving with the Auxiliaries for a 15-20 year period. Some may have joined the Legions after but usually if you survived your Auxiliary service you retired to enjoy your citizen status & raise a family. The principal recruiting grounds for the legions in the Early to Mid Empire was Gaul, Britannia, the Rhine & Danube, the Balkans and Anatolia with some Legions being raised in Syria-Palestine. Auxiliaries often were Cavalry units (such as the Sarmations from the Crimea thought to have been stationed in York or the North), Numidians (Berber) Light Cavalry or Medium/Light Infantry (Javelinmen, Slingers & Archers - Iranian/Persian foot archers being highly prized).

Legions were usually raised in a specific area (e.g. the IX was raised in Spain). Substantial re-inforcements were raised from citizens in the areas they garrisoned so it is likely by AD 100 that the IX contained a lot of (citizen) Britons or (Citizens) Gauls/Germans.

The most common form of same-sex relationships between males in Greece was "paiderastia" (pederastry) meaning "boy love". It was a relationship between an older male and an adolescent youth. The Greeks gave the same importance as Romans (the Romans probably even more so) at cultivating masculinity as an adult male and being the passive partner was the perceived as having a feminizing effect. So relations between adult men of comparable social status were considered highly problematic, and usually associated with social stigma.

It is a mistake to equate modern Western ideas of sexuality with the ancient world's paradigm. The Romans and the Greeks weren't more tolerant or more open - they had a very tightly focused and narrow view of sexuality, status, power and masculinity.

They weren't even proper Centurion helmets. If you read Vegetius and study relief details on columns & monuments they show that legionaries had their crests mounted longitudinally and centurions had them mounted transversely. It appears that crests may have been worn at all times by centurions in the early Empire (1st & 2nd Century so covering the period the episode is set in), including during battle, but legionaries, and centurions during other periods, probably wore crests only occasionally (essentially as a No. 1 Dress for parades etc.).

The armour was seriously weird - like it was trying to show lorica segmentata but with leather rather than metal. Only officers (Centurions, Optios etc.) would have worn mail (lorica hamata).

Anyway they were all far to young to have been centurions - actually it made me think the writer or script editor didn't know the difference between legionary and centurion.
De omnibus dubitandum (René Descartes)
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