Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tom Holland on Ancient Rome

When you are adapting Latin texts for use by the BBC, how do you go about bringing them to life for today’s audience?

The thing about adapting the texts is that the framework is there for you. Essentially, all that you are doing is a glorified cutting job. But you have to cut it in such a way that preserves both the structure of the narrative and those episodes within it that will give the listener, who may not be familiar with the text, some sense of the reason why it is so powerful and the reason why it has had the impact not just over the centuries but also over the millennia. Obviously it is harder to adapt a classical text than it is, say, a 19th century novel, simply because we are further removed from the Roman world.

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