Synopsis by Josh Ralske
As HBO's Rome opens, Gaius Julius Caesar (Ciarán Hinds) is reaching the end of his war against Gaul, and his popularity in the republic has reached a new high, arousing the concern of Pompey Magnus (Kenneth Cranham) and others in the senate that he will attempt to seize power. During the ultimate battle, a Centurion, Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd), upbraids one of his men, Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson), for breaking ranks. Pullo is later flogged and jailed for his disobedience, and misses out on some sacking. Caesar gets word that his daughter, married to Pompey, has died during childbirth. Both Pompey and Caesar see this as a further threat to their longstanding alliance. Caesar sends word to his conniving niece, Atia (Polly Walker) to offer Pompey a new bride on Caesar's behalf. Atia chooses her own daughter, Octavia (Kerry Condon), despite the fact that Octavia is already happily married. Atia convinces her to divorce, and offer herself to Pompey. Meanwhile, in Gaul, Caesar's standard, a golden eagle, is stolen, and he tasks Mark Antony (James Purefoy) with its recovery. Caesar also manipulates his young friend, Brutus (Tobias Menzies), the son of Servilia (Lindsay Duncan), his erstwhile lover, to report back to Rome that the eagle's been stolen, so that his enemies there will think Caesar is weak. Atia sends her son, young Octavian (Max Pirkis), to Gaul to deliver a white horse to Caesar, before the great man arrives back in Rome and everyone is giving him gifts. Octavian's party is assaulted, the horse stolen, and the boy abducted. Vorenus, assigned by Antony to the seemingly futile task of tracking down Caesar's standard, selects Pullo to assist him. The two have a stroke of amazing luck when they come across the party that captured Octavian.