I do love a good period drama.
Always a fan of historical fiction – especially anything echoing a bodice-ripper – I jumped at the initial series of ‘Rome’ produced by the BBC in conjunction with HBO. Both these institutions hold a certain gravitas in their own leagues. BBC – stalwart of well-acted dramas such as ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in the early ’90s (Oh, Mr Darcy!) and recently came up trumps with ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (Oh, Mr Ferrars!) joined forces with the rambunctious reputation of HBO (sorry, been watching the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ director’s commentary and the word has stuck in my head) with a previous record including, of course, ‘Sex and the City’.
So, with ‘Rome’, what we get is a hybrid. A ‘Sex in the Classical City’ if I can get away with such liberties. And my, my; the Romans knew how to have a good time. Cue fantastic blood-thirsty fights, brilliantly acted bitchy sequences between aristocratic ladies, and of course, a multitude of sex scenes. Yum. I was instantly hooked.
I recently purchased the second series and I’m working my way through it in my spare time. (So it’ll take me a while I guess, not having much spare time currently) There is much more torture taking place in this series, and I know that there’s a highly charged torture/sex scene which I am sure has had much written about it elsewhere. It’s a good one. It got me thinking, as these things usually do…Firstly along the lines of…‘I wonder what it would be like to be gagged and taken from behind…’ before changing tack and considering the power that the woman in the scene holds.
In it, she is supposed to have been whipped for insubordination, but she’s such a wily one, our Gaia, and she ends up having it off with her persecutor, Pullo. The sexual tension between them had been brewing for a while and it bubbled to the surface in this instance of physical punishment. Through the very fact that he was unable to resist her he had relinquished the control into her hands.
She is the ultimate Minx. She has used her sexuality to her advantage and quashed any semblance of control he had over her in the act of fucking her. Bravo. But at what cost has this little skirmish taken place? She has goaded on the man by humiliating him – he couldn’t even flog the damn woman without shagging her – his lack of control in a split second is what plays it into her hands forever.
Sex has always been used as a weapon of control. And to give in to carnal desire is associated with being weak. Sexualised women in the past have always been looked down upon – ‘They have no *control* over their lust’ being the stereotypical Victorian view. So it is nice to find that in this Classical fiction by the BBC and HBO, that they have portrayed various women, both plebs and aristos, as having that sexual dominance over the men even back then. Their lust and desire is what gives them that control, not takes it away.