Non Dolet, Liam: Bromans Episode 4
A good piece of art is one that makes you think about it even after it is no longer in front of you. Last night’s Bromans continued to pinball around in my brain for several minutes as I pondered a question posed by Liam, “Did the Romans play chess?”. I had no idea and I tried to access my own version of Google (called ‘my brain’) before turning to the popular internet search engine for the answer. As I sat there trying to access memories and snippets of factoids, I realised that I didn’t know. I knew they played board games, but I did not know whether chess, or a version of chess, was on the table. So, in the end I gave up, picked up my phone and did a search. Turns out they didn’t play chess. Ludus latrunculorum is the closest it gets. And now I know. And I have Liam to thank for knowing this. Thank you Liam – unfortunately, this is as good as it gets for you…
Latin Language lessons were pretty sparse this week. ‘Coquus’ made an appearance in the cooking challenge, but that was it. However, there were Classical allusions and Roman-themed lessons if you were willing to pay attention. Firstly, history-wise, Natalie tried to test Charelle’s ability to stay in character when she referred to striking the skull of a lamb with the back of a meat-cleaver as being like ‘hitting a breeze block’. Charelle would not be fooled though and replied “What’s a breeze block?”, because of course, breeze blocks didn’t exist in Ancient Rome. Well played Charelle. Dominus (perhaps inspired by my blog last week) reminded the viewer that further Roman research could be carried out by watching I, Claudius when he referred to himself as ‘I, Dominus’. He also made a little song up about the Tiber, Rome’s great river. One of the contestants also drew our attention to the patriarchal hierarchy of Ancient Rome when she stated, “Romans were a bunch of sexist pigs”. Secondly, there was Catullus-style poetry from Glenn, which was a homemade gift for Summer’s birthday. I was already odi et amo before he started and was odi et odi by the time he had finished. Jade’s epigrammatic, “He’s like cheese to my toast” was much more to my liking. Finally, the art of rhetoric was employed skilfully by Tom with his use of polyptoton in the phrase, “Normally I’m quietly confident, today I’m just quiet”. Tacitus would be pleased.
Finally, this week saw the introduction of gladiatrices as Jade and Ellie stood in for their incarcerated partners Liam and Jordan. The two woman nearly drowned each other in a water-based conquest, but neither seemed to shy away from the fight. Ellie won her contest and her actions were clearly motivated by a desire to teach Liam how to ‘step up to the plate’. Her bloody-mindedness reminded the viewer of Arria’s head-first dash into the wall and you could almost hear her saying, “Non dolet, Liam” to him as she attempted to motivate him to victory. Unfortunately, he wasn’t there to be inspired by her victory (he was still in jail). Normal Liam service was resumed when Tom chucked him out of the wrestling ring; Ellie looked at him with disgust.
If Liam isn’t hurt now, he soon will be if he doesn’t start winning something soon; and it won’t be the gladiators that cause the pain.
Next week: more Liam failures?