Centurion movie (2010)
Centurion is a 2010 British production and is the story of the conquest of Britain and the legend of the massacre of the Ninth Legion in Caledonia at the beginning of the 2nd century A.D.. The movie starts in 117 A.D. As a reminder, Hadrian (reign: 117 - 138 AD) is then emperor of the Roman Empire. Roman forts at the southern border of the Scottish Highlands are facing guerrilla attacks by the Picts of Alba. One garrison at Pinnata Castra is entirely destroyed. Only one man survives and escapes after being tortured. His name is Dias.
The governor of Britain wanting to obtain the favors of the Roman Senate, namely a return to a comfortable life back in the city of Rome, sends the Ninth Legion headed by General Titus Flavius Virilus (fictional) accompanied by a Celtic female scout called Etain (also fictional). Later Etain betrays the legion which is decimated by the Picts. Seven Romans manage to escape and survive including Dias, Bothos and Thax. Pictish warriors including Etain are sent to catch them and kill them. After being chased through the woods and seeing their camp being attacked only Bothos and Dias survives (Dias also kills Etain).
Emperor Hadrian ordered the Roman garrison to retreat to the south. Dias and Bothos walk southwards and reach Hadrian's wall which is under construction. Dias finally reports to the governor the Legion's annihilation. The governor fearing that the news of this annihilation could encourage other tribes to revolt decides that Dias must die. Dias manages to escape and to return to the forest.
The Centurion movie tells the story of the Roman army at the Scottish border
What we like about this movie is that it is one of the rare movies that tells about the threats faced by Roman troops at the Scottish border in the 1st century. It also shows the construction of the Hadrian Wall which was a defensive wall. Emperor Hadrian wanted to stop Rome's expansion in Britain and adopted a defensive strategy. Some critics have found the movie to be boring. We totally disagree here. Far from being boring, the movie contains lots of action and the acting is... surprisingly good.
Movie errors and anachronisms
Governor: In the Centurion movie, Gnaeus Julius Agricola is the governor of Britain. Gnaeus Julius Agricola was a real historical figure and a Roman general who conquered most of Britain but he died in 93 A.D.. Therefore he could not have been governor in 117 A.D..
Hadrian's Wall: in 117 A.D. Hadrian's Wall was a wooden wall with deep ditches on either side. In the movie we see no ditches and a stone wall being constructed. But the stone wall was constructed only years later. Also the stone wall shown in the movie is quite thin to say the least. The real Hadrian Wall was 2 meters thick! The thickness of the wall can still be appreciated today.
Roman body armor: The roman body armor called the lorica segmentata was in use in the early 1st century. However it could resist arrows and even the strike of small axes. In the movie we see Roman soldiers dying by arrows, which would not at all have been the case in reality.
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