Hui216 Italian Civilization Andrea Fedi


The start of the battle is very dramatic with trumpets blown, Hannibal's troops on foot, elephants and Scipio sitting regally on his horse



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The start of the battle is very dramatic with trumpets blown, Hannibal's troops on foot, elephants and Scipio sitting regally on his horse.

  • The Romans shoot at the elephants and blood is squirting out. It gets very chaotic, the elephants are squealing and the soldiers are falling dramatically.

    5.7 The plot of Scipione l'africano

    1. A soldier is seen being carried in an elephant's trunk. An elephant gets shot in the leg and falls to the ground dropping the soldier on its back. There is screaming.

    2. The Roman horsemen are told to advance. "Vittoria avanti" is the command. "Italia avanti!" (Move forward to victory, Italy forward). All of the different units move forward at a high rate of speed. They meet with the opposition and they fight from their horses, wounding their opponents with swords.

    3. "Chi vince?" the townspeople ask (who is winning?). One says Roman soldiers, seemingly surprised. A woman dramatically lifts a soldier's head and says who's winning, but the soldier is dead.

    5.7 The plot of Scipione l'africano

    1. The battle continues with some soldiers on horseback and others on foot. The Romans look graceful and almost elegant while the Carthaginians look gruff and clumsy.

    2. In an intense battle on the ground, a Roman soldier holds the fasces high with great determination.

    3. After victory, Scipio is seen with classical Roman architecture in the background gracefully embracing his loved ones and the film ends.

    4. He says, "Good grain, and tomorrow with the help of the gods the seed will begin."

    5.8 Italy in the movie Scipione l'Africano

    1. The movie Scipione l'Africano warns the viewer from the very beginning that the movie was filmed with the participation of soldiers from the Italian army, and that it was produced in Rome

    2. In the written scroll that sets the story before the opening scene, the fight between Rome and Carthage is characterized as a war between two nations ("nazioni"), two peoples ("popoli"), i.e. two civilizations, not just two states or two military powers

    3. From the very beginning the connections to Italy are multiplied, even exaggerated: for one thing all the actors speak the Italian language, and in fact right away, in the opening scenes, there are hints of different dialects (from the North, the center and the South of Italy!) in the pronunciation of various characters from the street

    5.8 Italy in the movie Scipione l'Africano

    1. One of the men on the street discusses Rome's politics and the deeds of general Scipio, and says that he comes from Arezzo, using the Italian modern name of the city instead of its Latin name "Aretium"

    2. He also remarks that in his city they are preparing for the imminent fight, while in Rome all they do is talk

    3. Before the scene is over we also learn that volunteers in other parts of Italy are getting ready to defend Rome

    4. Clearly the fate of Rome is a major concern for all Italians, an exaggeration, historically inaccurate, but one which shows how the cultural connection with ancient Rome was played out in Italy in the first half of the 20th-century

    5.8 Italy past and present in the movie Scipione l'Africano

    1. In fact the word "Italy" is heard in many scenes of this movie, while it is rarely if ever mentioned in Spartacus, and never once mentioned in Gladiator (if I'm correct)

    2. The continuity between past and present is insured also by references to the war fought by the Romans in Spain (at a time when Italian Fascists had recently volunteered to fight in Spain alongside Franco's army), and to the conquest of Africa (Italy had just conquered Ethiopia between 1935 and 1936)

    3. Numerous scenes have large crowds saluting general Scipio with their right hand lifted straight in front of them, a detail that, while being historically accurate, was also connected to the salute reintroduced in Italy by the Fascists

    5.8 Italy past and present in the movie Scipione l'Africano

    1. The gatherings of large mobs in Rome must also have reminded the viewers of that time of the gatherings of similar mobs to hear and honor Mussolini or the heroes of the Italian army, the veterans of the various military campaigns that I mentioned before

    2. The Roman soldiers in the movie make reference to the fact that they are farmers and shepherds by trade, occupations still very common throughout Italy during the 1930s

    3. In this movie Rome represents the whole of Italy and its common interests, rather than the interests of the Roman citizens and of the Senate

    4. In fact it is evident that even the people from the lower classes are following very carefully the discussions that take place in the Roman Senate, and carefully evaluate all political decisions and their consequences

    5.8 Italy past and present in the movie Scipione l'Africano

    1. When Scipio is organizing an expeditionary force to invade Africa and bring the war closer to Carthage, the Roman soldiers are shown marching at the rhythm of a quasi-operatic song with the following refrain:

    2. "Chi ha chiamato? Scipione, Scipione... Chi ha risposto? L'Italia, l'Italia..." (= Who called? Scipione, Scipione... Who replied to that call? Italy, Italy...)

    3. While "Romans" is the term used more often to indicate the soldiers, at times we also hear the term "Italici" (Italics), a word commonly used to designate the peoples living in Italy in the pre-modern era, but also one that would have been used properly only at the end of the Roman republic, or at the beginning of the empire, when a real sense of unity inside the Italian peninsula was first developed, with the full support of the government and the backing of literature and the arts




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