Rome's five acres of outdoor "period" sets comprise the largest standing set in the world, to date.
On 9 August 2007 a fire broke out at Rome's Cinecitta Studios back-lot. It destroyed 3,000 square meters of the 400,000 square meter "Rome" set but did not spread to the rest of the historic Studios. During the three hours it burned, a few of the highly flammable fiberglass sets in the "suburra" red-light district were destroyed but fortunately, the Forum, temples, thermal baths and other buildings were untouched. It is considered to be the largest open-air set ever constructed to date.
The series used 250 chain mail tunics (each weighing 36 pounds) - as well as 40 leather cuirasses for legionary officers.
The series' armor, helmets, and other metal costume elements were handcrafted by metal designer Luca Giampaoli. He handmade all metal costume elements for the principal actors, although "mass-produced" items (such a legionary armor) was replicated by metalwork companies in India.
The series required over 4,000 pieces of wardrobe - designed by April Ferry.
Approximately 1,250 pairs of period shoes and sandals were made in Bulgaria.
The actors' regional British accents were used with effect to enhance the portrayal of the social distinctions of ancient Roman society; however after initial previews, some of the stronger accents were re-dubbed and toned down for American audiences.
The recreation of the Forum set is about 60% the size of the original
The olive trees in the Sacred Grove of the Forum set are over 200 years old.
References were taken directly from the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Ostia Antica to determine the proper colors of the temples, statues, streets, as well as graffiti and street signage.
Authentic period fabrics - wool, linen, cotton and silk - were imported from Prato, as well as India, Tunisia and Morocco. Fabrics were purchased in a "raw" state and dyed at the production site.
As many as 40 horses at one time were used in a scene.
750 actors and extras were used for "Caesar's Triumph" scene.
55 local extras were cast as "Roman Legionaries" and sent to a two-week boot camp, living in tents, to train as Roman soldiers. "Boot Camp" included military discipline (up at 5am bed by 9pm), marching, swordsmanship, camp building and dismantling, group training and maneuvers (day and night time training), and bathing restricted to the local lake without soap at night. 43 of the 55 completed "Boot Camp".
Although saddles with stirrups were not used by the Romans, they are required for safety. During close-up shots, however, the stirrups are removed for more authenticity.
Season 1 spans 8 years, 52 B.C. - 44 B.C.
Season 2 is set between 44 B.C. and 30 B.C.
Virtually all extras in the crowd scenes are actual Romans. The producers and directors feel that Italians have a special manner in their walk or carriage which adds to the atmosphere of Ancient Rome.
Smuggling Princess Cleopatra into Alexandria tied up in a sack was described by the Greek historian Plutarch. The entire sequence was recreated in Rome, clear down to Cleopatra's demure pose before Caesar.
The names of the main characters, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, are actual historical. They are mentioned in Caesars' The Gallic war as two close partners with quarrels between them about each others bravery and who is to be promoted primus pilus. They are mentioned explicitly courageous when Marcus Tullius Cicero's brother was besieged. The audacity of Pullo is also noted, being similar to the Pullo in the series (Book 5.44).
According to James Purefoy, some of the props and drapes from the film Cleopatra found their way into the Alexandria scenes. This is not an especially far-fetched claim, as both projects were shot at the same studio.
The candles and oil lamps were actually gas lamps, fed by hidden hoses.
A man with Titus Pullo's background, i.e. son of a slave and therefore he must have been born a slave or at very least a freedman, could not have been a legionary. By Roman law, a legionary had to be born free. However, since his mother died when he was young it is entirely possible that he side-stepped this legal hurdle, and managed to join the Roman army by representing himself as an orphan.
Ray Stevenson was extremely envious of James Purefoy's leather cuirass. The metal armor worn by all the actors was extremely uncomfortable, while Purefoy's leather one was not.
According to April Ferry, around 2700 costumes were used in the first three episodes alone.
The Stolen Eagle and How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic used 2,500 pieces of wardrobe due to the large crowd scenes.
The opening battle scene is similar to the event Caesar describes in his Commetaries in which Pullo, after taunting Vorenus, attacks the Gauls single-handed and has to be rescued by Vorenus, then in turn Pullo attacks the Gauls who corner Vorenus. In Caesar's description, though, both men are centurions, friendly rivals but equals.
Cato wears a black toga in contrast to other senators in order to stand apart from every other clique as a singular republican. This is historical fact.
Caesar's need for the stolen eagles' return was not simple vanity. Like the samurai's sword, the eagle was regarded as the soul of the soldiers. By Ancient Roman law, if the eagle was lost, the entire legion was disgraced and should be broken up.
Just before the guard opens Pullo's cell, he is kneeling and offering to sacrifice to the Roman god of doors to get out. However, he neglects to make an offering to the god of hinges.