The Pagans of 'Rome'Ancient Judaism also makes an appearance:
The HBO series, entering its second season, explores the Romans' oft-ignored devotion to their many different gods.
By Ted Phillips
If the past is a foreign country, then ancient religion may be its most exotic locale. The HBO series "Rome," which returns for its second season on Sunday, is hardly "Fodor's Guide to Paganism," but by venturing off some well-worn cinematic paths, the show has given the worship of the gods a generous treatment in a genre dominated by stories of gladiators and the advent of Christ.
The creators of the serial drama, which focuses on the power struggles during the last days of the Roman Republic in the first century B.C.E., wanted to portray Roman religion not as a doomed prologue to Christianity but as a vibrant and meaningful part of everyday life.
Headed the opposite direction is the amoral Jewish horse trader and henchman Timon, who slowly embraces the ethical tenants of Judaism when his zealous brother pays him a visit from Judea. His brother's influence comes to a head while Timon tortures a rival of his patron and discovers there is a limit to how much brutality he is willing to put another human being through.