April 22nd, 2006

One Thing Leading To Another

Remember Michael Praed?

First he was Robin Hood in the dippy-hippy Robin of Sherwood; then he was Prince Michael of Moldavia in a couple of well-beloved episodes of Dynasty.

He was devastatingly beautiful and his Robin was a whole lot better than Jason Connery's.

He was going to be big.

Then something must have happened. Or, perhaps, more accurately, something didn't happen.

Anyway, these days he appears in odd episodes of the British soaps and has a steady gig doing voice-over for the BBC's history/archaeology show Timewatch.

Last night on Timewatch he was telling us about a bunch of decapitated skeletons that have been unearthed in a Roman cemetery in York. An unprecedented find. It seems likely they're the victims of a purge of the palace old guard conducted by the Emperor Caracalla after the death of his father Septimius Severus.

Thrilling. Thanks to Dio Cassius we know some of their names. Archaeology rarely gets this personal.

Setimius Severus was a dude. A North African who campaigned against the Scots and made York the capital of the Empire. He died there and his funeral was like nothing Britain had ever seen.

So how do you pronounce Severus? The Rowling crowd say "sever", but Praed and his experts were all saying "severe".

Septimius Severe-us? It sounds all wrong to me.