When classics professor Dr. Andrew Sillett livetweeted a British reality dating show set in ancient Rome Thursday night, he probably expected to make a few corrections. But it turns out the sexy couples show keeps things historically accurate, more or less.
First of all, it’s called Bromans. It invites a group of bros from 2017 to come live in a house and act like ancient Romans for the chance to win £10,000. Contestants are allowed to bring their girlfriends with them for moral support, but because they have to comply to the norms of Roman culture, the men go off and participate in grueling, gladiator-like challenges while the women practice wine-making and sculpting back at the house. It’s like the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, plus Bachelor in Paradise, plus cosplay. Tight.
Sillett, a classics lecturer at England’s University of Oxford, livetweeted the premiere Thursday, and actually seemed impressed by some of the details he saw.
For instance, one contestant bragging about his hotness seems to sum up the Roman concept of “triumph” well.
"What a way to enter Rome' looking fucking fit." Triumph summed up neatly. #Bromans— Andrew James Sillett (@andrewsillett) September 14, 2017
There’s apparently a lot of full-frontal male nudity on the show, but Sillett says humiliation was part of a gladiator’s career:
Obvs an excuse to show eight cocks on ITV2 at five minutes past the watershed, but some truth in the humiliation of the gladiator. #Bromans— Andrew James Sillett (@andrewsillett) September 14, 2017
At some point, someone mentions that Latin came from the Roman civilization. Sillett can confirm!
Latin came from the Romans.— Andrew James Sillett (@andrewsillett) September 14, 2017
Educational content ✔#Bromans
So it looks like the staff actually did its homework. In one scene, contestants joke about ruining the emperor’s ring—an idea Sillett says would be totally feasible for a gladiator. For reference, he shared a pic of an old coin, which gladiators engraved to roast the emperor at the time, saying “To the Augustus, the Roman Hercules.”
Just saying, this gladiatorial joking about ruining the emperor's ring has good Roman background. #Bromans pic.twitter.com/GuCneOf519— Andrew James Sillett (@andrewsillett) September 14, 2017
Coin issued under the rule of gladiator emperor Commodus who styled himself as Hercules.— Andrew James Sillett (@andrewsillett) September 14, 2017
Coin reads: "To the Augustus, the Roman Hercules."— Andrew James Sillett (@andrewsillett) September 14, 2017
Sillett continued with his notes for the rest of the hour-long episode, finally concluding “10/10 will watch again.”
Really enjoyed that. 10/10 will watch again. #Bromans— Andrew James Sillett (@andrewsillett) September 14, 2017