Servilia of the Junii, Rome
Servilia of the Junii (Lindsay Duncan)
Servilia of the Junii was a character from the HBO series, Rome, a sophisticated and regal Roman matron loosely based on the historical personage of Servilia, mother of Marcus Junius Brutus, and lover of Julius Caesar.
Servilia was devoted to her lover Caesar as he rose to power, despite Brutus’ protestations that Caesar threatened the Republic. Her social rival Atia payed to have graphic sexual depictions of Servilia and Caesar drawn on every street corner, humiliating Caesar’s wife Calpurnia. Caesar ended the affair coldly, and Servilia cursed both him and Atia, and began to scheme against them for vengeance.
Servilia used the friction between Atia and her daughter to gain Octavia’s confidence. In episode 1×06, with Pompey & Caesar readying for their final showdown, Atia sent Octavia to Servilia with a gift, a male sex slave, in order to secure an alliance. Servilia refused the gift, but agreed to help, and during the visit Octavia became upset and Servilia embraced her.
By episode 1×07, when Octavia asked for help once again, it was Servilia who became distraught, and Octavia who comforted her and by the end of the episode the two women were shown lying naked in bed together. Their relationship continued in episode 1×08 and during a two year jump before episode 1×09, when Caesar returned to Rome.
After Caesar’s return, desperate to find out the nature of Caesar’s mysterious “affliction” in Utica, Servilia used Octavia to find information about him, going so far as to suggest Octavia seduce her own brother. Octavia, repulsed by the suggestion, began to leave but was stopped when Servilia told her Atia had her husband murdered. Octavia then agreed to seduce her brother, and went through with it. After discovering her children’s incestuous encounter and Servilia’s involvement, Atia took revenge on Servilia by having her publicly humiliated: she was pulled from her litter, stripped and beaten in the forum, and her hair cut.
After Caesar was finally assassinated by the Senate, Servilia invited Atia to her villa to tell her the news in person and vowed to make Atia suffer, “lowly and deeply, as you made me suffer.”
“Their sexual relationship is depicted in a much less graphic way than the other sexual relationships on Rome. Much of their love affair involves merely looking at each other, along with a few very light kisses and touches. […] The lack of knowledge about lesbian sex is not unexpected, but it is disappointing in an HBO drama that explores heterosexuality with such lusty vividness.” – AfterEllen
And the switch from a same sex relationship to an incestuous one particularly unfortunate:
“The trajectory on Rome of homosexual relationship to incest to condemnation runs the risk of drawing a clear line between homosexuality and condemnation, period. It is a clear negative correlation. […] In comparison, the other sexual liaisons on Rome do not take this negative spiral. Even though Atia and Cleopatra may have sex for clearly manipulative reasons, their sexuality has not yet faced such judgment. The only sexual relationship that has ended abruptly due to social judgment is the one between Octavia and Servilia, and it ended because Servilia encouraged Octavia to have sex with her brother.”
Mark Antony managed to broker a peace between Caesar’s supporters and the conspirators, ensuring the safety of himself and Atia’s family. When an attempt by Servilia to poison Atia failed, Atia had her rival kidnapped, raped, and tortured horribly. Atia’s freedman Timon, disgusted by Atia’s cruelty, took pity on Servilia and set her free.
In Death Mask, both Brutus and Cassius had been killed in the Battle of Philippi. Broken and alone, a disheveled Servilia knelt in front of Atia’s house, repeatedly chanting “Atia of the Julii, I call for justice” while her servant Eleni threw the cremated remains of Brutus over her. After two days of this, Atia finally emerged, and Servilia cursed her rival before publicly killing herself; Eleni followed suit. Despite their animosity, Atia was clearly unnerved by Servilia’s death.
- 18 episodes.
Female love interests:
- Octavia of the Julii (Kerry Condon, regular, 22 episodes)
Relationship story arc with a woman: No
Male love interests:
- Gaius Julius Caesar (Ciarán Hinds, regular, 13 episodes)
Relationship story arc with a man: Yes
Filter Relationship Arc:
Storyline during sweeps? No
 A relationship story arc is defined as explicit, developed on screen, and lasting more than 3 episodes. It is listed as questionable or subtext if romance is only implied, mentioned instead of shown on screen, part of a dream sequence, or otherwise not explicit for the viewer.
 Sweeps episodes air in February, May, July and November, the periods when advertising rates are set. A character is marked as "sweeps" when there is a very limited number of episodes that address their sexuality, all air during sweeps period, and the storyline is otherwise ignore/dropped.