A boy, who becomes the Caesar of Rome at time when Rome is falling apart, travels to Britannia to find an army using the help of a sword which is destined to lead him to victory. Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays the lead character Romulus Augustus. He is a boy. He sneaks out of the palace. He goes into the tent of Aurelius (played by Colin Firth). He sees some armor and a sword, which he is curious about. Aurelius is a commander of a Roman Legion. Aurelius has been called back to Rome from his war campaign in Africa to be the personal guard of the new Caesar. Romulus takes the sword from its sheath to look at it. He is caught in this act by Aurelius. Aurelius thinks Romulus is a common thief. Aurelius takes the boy outside and threatens to cut off his hand for attempting to steal something. Aurelius is only teasing, but the boy thinks it is serious. Aurelius tells one of his men to cut the boy's hand off. They are stopped by Ambrosinus (played by Ben Kingsley) who is the boy's teacher and guardian. Ambrosinus is also good with his fighting stick. Ambrosinus gets the boy away from them, then impresses them with a sleight-of-hand magic trick.
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Romulus is crowned Caesar the next day in a huge ceremony. As the new Caesar, Romulus is introduced to the captain of the legion of his personal guard, which is Aurelius. Aurelius is shocked to see the new Caesar is the same boy as the day before, who he mistakenly thought was a thief. That night, the Goths revolt. They attack the palace killing the parents of Romulus and most of the men of Aurelius. They take the boy Romulus captive. The leader of the Goths is Odoacer (played by Peter Mullan). He is about to kill the boy when Ambrosinus shows up. Wulfila (played Kevin McKidd) who works for Odoacer tells Odoacer to kill both the boy and Ambrosinus so that they can led. This infuriates Odoacer who cuts one of Wulfila's fingers off. Odoacer decides the boy should be kept alive and taken to the island of Capri. Odoacer sends Wulfila along with the boy to guard him.
Aurelius goes to rescue his men and his Caesar. He takes one masked soldier with him offered by the Turkish ambassador. On the way, Aurelius saves some of his men, Demetrius (played by Rupert Friend), Vatrenus (played by Owen Teale), and Batiatus (played by Nonso Anozie) who are about to be killed. He succeeds with the help of the masked soldier. After the fight the masked soldier reveals herself to be a woman named Mira (played Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). They continue on until they reach Capri. The captives are taken to a castle on the hillside overlooking the sea. It was built by Tiberius when he ruled Rome many years before. Ambrosinus is tied with a rope and swung out over the edge of the high castle walls. The boy is allowed to wander free. Ambrosinus sees the sign of the pentacle which is the same as is tattooed on his chest. This is the place Ambrosinus has been trying to find for many years. The sword is there waiting for boy to claim it. Ambrosinus tells the boy to go to the temple. The boy finds the sword.
Aurelius and Mira climb the castle walls to find the boy. Aurelius' men follow shortly thereafter. They fight with the guards. They are able to rescue the boy and escape in a boat. They go to the camp of Senator Nestor (played by John Hannah) on the beach. Nestor is an old friend of Aurelius. Nestor tells Aurelius the Senate of Rome has sworn allegiance to Odoacer and there will be no help from the Turks either. Aurelius realizes, it is a trap and all they want to do is kill the boy. Vatrenus is killed. Int eh fighting all of Nestor's men die. Aurelius kills Nestor. Mira kills the Turkish ambassador. After the fighting is over, they decide the only safe place to go is north to Britannia, back to the land where Ambrosinus comes from. There Ambrosinus is called Merlin. They leave for Britannia. The Goths chase them.
In Britannia, they find a village that has been destroyed. They find the fort of the ninth legion has been abandoned. There is no Roman army left. The great empire of Rome has already collapsed. When the Goths, led by Wulfila, arrive in Britannia they see Vortgyn (played Harry Van Gorkum). Vortgyn wants to rule all of Britannia. Wulfila tells Vortgyn of the boy, his teacher and the sword. Wulfila asks for the boy. Vortgyn says he can have the boy when Vortgyn gets the sword.
Vortgyn kidnaps children of the village to hold them hostage until they give up the boy. Aurelius and his group battle Vortgyn with the help of a few of the men from Britannia. The battle goes badly until the remaining soldiers left behind in Britannia, from the Ninth Legion, arrive to join the battle. They defeat Vortgyn's army. Ambrosinus defeats Vortgyn in hand-to-hand combat, ripping his mask from his face, and throwing him in the flames of a large tree that is set on fire. When Ambrosinus shows the army the mask of Vortgyn, the battle stops because the tyrant is dead, but Wulfila chases down Aurelius to kill him. Wulfila almost succeeds, but is killed by the boy Romulus Caesar instead using the sword of legend. The boy throws the sword high into the air, declaring the end of war in Britannia. The sword gets stuck in a stone when it lands.
Many seasons pass, with the sword in the same stone. Ambrosinus, now as Merlin, tells another young boy, Arthur, of the history. Aurelius and Mira got married. Romulus took a new name Pendragon and ruled Britannia peacefully for many years. Pendragon is the Arthur's father. The boy will grow to become King Arthur of legend.
Best part of story, including ending:
This story is an interesting way to tie in the fall of the Roman Empire with the King Arthur legend.
Best scene in story:
I like the scene when Aurelius discovers that the fierce masked soldier from Turkey is actually a beautiful woman, because it is surprising and makes the story more interesting.
Opinion about the main character:
It is interesting to see the boy, Romulus, forced to deal with such harsh elements of war at such a young age. He develops his sense of moral purpose very admirably.