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Original Title: Caesarion
Caesar pursues Pompey Magnus to Egypt where he finds the boy-king, Ptolemy XIII, who is surrounded by acolytes . Caesar is outraged when he hears what has happened to his old friend Pompey. He orders Mark Antony to return to Rome and take charge there while he plans to remain in Egypt to protect their interest, particularly access to the Egyptian grain supply and the repayment of past debts. He tasks Vorenus to go into the desert and find Ptolemy's sister Cleopatra and with Pullo accompanying him, Vorenus has little difficulty finding her. Pullo once again plays an unexpected role. Brutus, having been spared by Caesar after his surrender, is shocked by his mother's reaction when he returns to Rome.
Brutus gets a chilly reception from Servilia when he returns home from Greece. In Egypt, Caesar rebukes the advisers of the boy king, Ptolemy XIII, for their presumption in eliminating Pompey and demands the man who killed him. Caesar decides to intervene in the dispute between Ptolemy and his sister-wife, Cleopatra, to ensure both Rome's grain supply and his own access to Egypt's treasure. Antony, in an unusual show of prudence, advises against this with only half a legion in Alexandria and Cato and Scipio still at large in Africa. Caesar sends Vorenus and Pullo to rescue Cleopatra from house-arrest and escort her to Alexandria. Upon meeting Vorenus and Pullo, the narcissistic, opium-smoking teenage Cleopatra decides that her only hope of survival is to seduce Caesar and she compels Vorenus and Pullo to help smuggle her into the city first by unsuccessfully attempting to seduce Vorenus, but she has better luck with Pullo. Servilia's relationship with Octavia deepens beyond friendship into a passionate lesbian tryst. Caesar is besieged in Alexandra by the Egyptians loyal to Ptolemy. Back in Rome, Antony greets Brutus and Cicero on the floor of the deserted Senate and makes Cicero a promise to kill him if he ever turns against him.
This episode sees Caesar arrive in Egypt in pursuit of Pompey He meets the boy-king Ptolemy XIII and is shocked and disgusted when he is presented with Pompey's severed head; Pompey may have been his enemy but he was still a Roman leader and deserved the respect of his rank. There is trouble brewing in Egypt as Ptolemy's sister Cleopatra is claiming to be the rightful ruler; Caesar decides to use this to his advantage and dispatches Vorenus and Pullo to find her. They get there just in time for Pullo to save her from men sent by Ptolemy to kill her. On the Journey back to Alexandria she orders Pullo to sleep with her as she wants a child. Once in Alexandria she becomes Caesar's lover. Ptolemy's advises are killed and those loyal to him lay siege to the city. Meanwhile back in Rome Brutus and Cicero talk about what will happen to them if Caesar doesn't get out of Alexandria and Mark Antony were left in charge.
This is one of those episodes which people who aren't keen on Titus Pullo being at the centre of every important event will not like this
not only does he save Cleopatra from certain death it is also strongly suggested that Caesar's son by her is actually Pullo's! Personally it didn't bother me as it has long been clear that this show is intertwining fiction and historical events. Lyndsey Marshal puts in a fine performance as a very seductive Cleopatra; I hope we'll be seeing more of her character. The regular cast continued to impress. The episode advanced the story in an enjoyable way; there were a few tense scenes, some humour and an impressive fight between Pullo and Cleopatra's attackers. Overall another fun episode.
I had truly been looking forward to this episode because up until this time I was still waiting to see a screen adaption of the story of Caesar and Cleopatra that could stand up to the true story. Unfortunately this turned out to be the worst version I've ever seen. For some reason the producers, director and writer of the episode had decided to turn the story of Caesar's time in Egypt into a parody. First they decided to portray Cleopatra as how her enemies, Octavian, Cicero, Virgil and Horace, would have wanted them to; misrepresenting her as a self-indulgent, nymphomaniac addicted to what looked like opium was a travesty. She was a brilliant woman: a warrior, politician, scholar and a person who truly cared for the country she ruled. Plutarch describes her as "her actual beauty, it is said, was not in itself so remarkable that none could be compare with her", which I think says she was still pleasing to the male eye. The worst insult was going on to suggest that Titus Pullo fathered Caesarion! By Jupiter, sacrilege! What were they thinking? To take a person who did exist and fictionalize him, then have him be the cause of a particularly important event in Roman history was ridiculous. Also at this time opium was only being eaten or drunk; it wasn't being smoked on a pipe until the 19th century A.D. Any idea they had that Caesar wasn't able to father a son is also a lie his enemies spread around, supported later by Octavian, who felt threatened by Caesarion. He did father a daughter, Julia, and some think that Servilia bore him a daughter when she was still married to Brutus' father. A historic claim says that a man turned up in Octavian's Rome from Roman Gaul claiming to be Caesar's son. Since the Roman general spent eight years there, he no doubt had his mistress(es) who may have born him children. Witnesses say that when Caesarion was older he bore a striking likeness to Caesar, especially in his walk and movements. Note also that like daughters of Egyptian Pharaohs, Cleopatra believed her mother the goddess Isis; her father the god Amun. To her Caesar was probably another form of Amun, and since he believed himself descended from the goddess Venus, she thought him the man to father her child. At this point in her life she was still virgin, having grown up in a palace full of eunuchs. Everything that goes against this - the sets and costumes also being so bizarre and ugly - just didn't hold a candle up to what the real palace, Alexandria and Alexandrians were like; showing none of the Greek influence on the diamond city of the ancient Mediterranean. The other Egyptian historical figures were lampoon caricatures of who they really were.
The widely accepted story goes like this:
Ptolemy Auletes left the throne to his eighteen year old daughter Cleopatra VI and his twelve year old son Ptolemy XIII. A couple of years later Ptolemy drove Cleopatra out with the support of their sister Arsinoe, and Egypt was governed by Ptolemy's eunuch guardian, Pothinus, and his tutor, Theodotus. In the desert Cleopatra gathered her own army and waited to pounce. Caesar arrived in Egypt in pursuit of Pompey in 48 B.C. with 4,000 men. After learning of Pompey's horrific demise, he set himself up in the royal palace and began to govern like a conqueror. He sent word he wished to meet Cleopatra, and with the help of her faithful servant Apollodorus, she was smuggled into the palace in a rug. She and Caesar became lovers that same night and Caesar, concerned that civil war in Egypt would upset Romes supply of grain, decided that Cleopatra and Ptolemy were to wed, as was common in Egyptian royalty, and rule together. Of course, shortly afterword's Ptolemy and his councilors fled Alexandria and began to raise a huge army to try to repulse Caesar's. The city was under siege for weeks and Caesar and his men fought in the street of Alexandria against Ptolemy and the Alexandrians. In the end Caesar was victor, Ptolemy having drowned when a boat he was in sank, and by this time Cleopatra was well into her pregnancy with Caesar's child. Cleopatra and Caesar then spent two months on a royal barge traveling the Nile River; no doubt a needed respite for the exhausted general. When Caesar returned to Alexandria he received word of trouble in Asia Minor and he took his army to quell it. Caesar had spent ten months in Egypt. A month after in left Cleopatra gave birth to a son she named Ptolemy, whom the Alexandrians nicknamed Caesarion - little Caesar. A year later Caesar sent for Cleopatra to come to Rome with their child to take part in his Triumph. He set her up in his private villa across the Tiber River, she and Caesarion remaining there for two years until Caesar's assassination. It should be mentioned that in front of a large audience of Roman nobles and senators Caesar recognized Caesarion as his son, giving him the name of Ptolemy Caesar.
That Caesar loved Cleopatra there is no doubt. What do you call a man's raising of a statue of Cleopatra in the Rome's Temple of Venus Genetrix but an act of love? As for Cleopatra? They were so much alike in personality and ambition, and he being such a powerful and confident man, I think she did. One writer has called Caesar "her lover, her father, her brother". So producers and directors, get with it and write a story that holds water next to the true story for once.
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