HBO to Debut Racy Series on Rome

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Ah, the glory that was Rome. The temples. The togas. The toilets. Rome in 52 B.C. usually means emperors and palaces and dudes with bad haircuts, and you'll see plenty of those when HBO debuts its new drama "Rome" on Aug. 28. "Rome" is a show that will make every history teacher proud. It cost $100 million, and you can see every denariuson the screen—even the coins themselves, which were minted in the basement of the actual Vatican. The entire Forum has been reconstructed (at two-thirds scale), and Cleopatra's Alexandria gets a close-up, too.

You want togas? They've got 'em, along with 3,000 other costumes, made only of fabrics that existed 2,057 years ago, though costume designer April Ferry admits she cheated when it came to vintage dyes. "Back then," she says, "they used urine."

Which brings us back to the toilets. HBO has even rebuilt the city latrine, a huge, open, unisex space with benches along the walls and sponges on sticks. Not much of the show transpires in the loo—thank God—but it does serve a symbolic purpose. "Rome" is clearly a series that isn't afraid to get down and dirty.

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