Camera Technology in Ancient Rome: The Surprising Facts Revealed!

Bob Cargill, in his usual way, has informed the Biblioblog community of yet another dilettante making absurd claims by abusing ancient texts and the field of history.  In light of this and recent shows like Ancient Aliens, I have decided to start my own claim: ancient Roman cinematographers.

It’s just that easy to misuse our primary sources and eisegete meanings out of context to prove anything.  And what better than prove that an ancient class of people was dedicated to filming events using camera technology?

Just look at the arch of Titus for example:

I have marked these odd objects which I have chosen not to investigate in their historical context with red boxes.  These look remarkably similar to cameras on tripods:

Clearly these bizarre objects being carried by Roman solders are archaeological evidence of movie cameras on tripods recording the looting of the second Jewish temple.   I’m sure then that if they had these large cameras on tripods, they must have had smaller hand-held cameras for detailed video-recording in tight locations.  I imagine it looked something like this:

And if I take enough ancient primary writings out of context and their socio-cultural milieux, I can prove beyond any doubt (at least, as far as I’m concerned) that there is literary evidence of cameras as well:

A wooden base is constructed, and on it is set an altar-shaped box made of bronze. Uprights, fastened together like ladders, are set up on the base, to the right and to the left (of the altar). They hold the bronze pump-cylinders, the moveable bottoms of which, carefully turned on a lathe, have iron elbows fastened to their centres and jointed to levers, and are wrapped in fleeces of wool. (Vitruvius Pollio, The Ten Books on Architecture 10.8)

Sounds like an ancient camera and camera stand to me!  Of course I don’t care about context.  It took minutes and minutes of research (re: Google searching ancient texts for key words that fit the general description for which I was looking) but I believe I can finally label myself an expert on ancient practices of cinematography.  I need a catchy title like the ‘shroudologists’ have (those who are ‘experts’ on the Shroud of Turin).  Maybe ‘Archeo-Cinematologist’!

Now don’t bother asking me for any more evidence since I’ve supplied it all and I shall eagerly expect payment for a book deal and a promotion campaign and, hopefully, a concept script for a History Channel special.  Because history is only here for people to make money off the ignorance of others, right?

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4 Responses

  1. My favorite footage from ancient Rome:

  2. I’m glad to see I have fellow Archaeo-Cinematologists like you as a friend, Dan.

  3. Julius Cesare’s famous words when confronting famed cinematographer Cecilus Bedemilicus; “No, I am not ready for my closeup, you pompous windbag.”

  4. They do look a little like cameras I suppose if you squint – how funny. You should have photoshopped in an electrical chord to give it extra effect. But then again people believed a documentary of mermaids was real – especially people from other countries because apparently the mocumentary was shown overseas and the part where they said it was a mocumentary wasn’t included.

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