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In the first four decades of cinema, hundreds of films were made that drew their inspiration from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt and the Bible. Few of these films have been studied, and even fewer have received critical attention. The films in question, ranging from historical and mythological epics to adaptations of ancient drama, burlesques, animated cartoons and documentaries, suggest a preoccupation with the ancient world that competes in intensity and breadth with that of Hollywood's classical era. What contribution did the worlds of antiquity make to early cinema, and how did they themselves change as a result? Existing prints as well as ephemera scattered in film archives and libraries around the world constitute an enormous field of research, and this edited collection is a first systematic attempt to focus on the instrumental role of silent cinema in early twentieth-century conceptualizations of the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East.
The figure of Julius Caesar has loomed large in the United States since its very beginning, admired and evoked as a gateway to knowledge of politics, war, and even national life. In this lively and perceptive book, the first to examine Caesar's place in modern American culture, Maria Wyke investigates how his use has intensified in periods of political crisis, when the occurrence of assassination, war, dictatorship, totalitarianism or empire appears to give him fresh relevance. Her fascinating discussion shows how--from the Latin classroom to the Shakespearean stage, from cinema, television and the comic book to the internet--Caesar is mobilized in the U.S. as a resource for acculturation into the American present, as a prediction of America's future, or as a mode of commercial profit and great entertainment.