Neo-Peplum Studies

The New Peplum - Cover

At the end of 2017, my first book, The New Peplum: Essays on Sword and Sandal Films and Television Programs since the 1990s, was published by McFarland. The anthology covers the concept of neo-pepla, sword and sandal films and television after 1990. The original CFP for this book can be found at H-net.

The table of contents is as follows:

Foreword - David R. Coon
Introduction - Nicholas Diak

Part One - Crossing the Rubicon: Expanding the Neo- Peplum Boundaries

Adapting to New Spaces: Swords and Planets and the Neo- Peplum - Paul Johnson
Hercules: Transmedia Superhero Mythology - Djoymi Baker
From Crowds to Swarms: Movement and Bodies in Neo- Peplum Films - Kevin M. Flanagan

Part Two - Wisdom from the Gods: Mythological Adaptations

There are no boundaries for our Boats: Vikings and the Westernization of the Norse Saga - Steve Nash
Sounds of Swords and Sandals: Music in Neo-Peplum BBC Television Docudramas - Nick Poulakis
Hercules, Xena and Genre: The Methodology Behind the Mashup - Valerie Estelle Frankel

Part Three - The “Glory” of Rome: Depictions of the Empire

Male Nudity, Violence and the Disruption of Voyeuristic Pleasure in Starz’s Spartacus - Hannah Mueller
Sex, Lies and Denarii: Roman Depravity and Oppression in Starz’s SpartacusJerry B. Pierce
In the Green Zone with the Ninth legion: The Post-Iraq Roman Film - Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.

Part Four - Sculpted in Marble: Gender and Representation

Laughing at the Body: The Imitation of Masculinity in Peplum Parody Films - Tatiana Prorokova
Queering the Quest: Neo-Peplum and the Neo-Femme in Xena: Warrior Princess - Haydee Smith

Afterword - Steven L. Sears


The following sources have done reviews of
The New Peplum:


The following mistakes are in The New Peplum. For transparency, they are listed below:

  • Page 12 - beginning its operation in 2008 is incorrect. It is 1998. The text is in error, however the citation (end note 12) is correct. The wrong date simply slipped by my editing.
  • Page 199 - 201 - Dom DeLuise plays Emperor Nero but the text refers to him as Caesar. However, "Caesar" is also a title, and part of Nero's title and name. The character is also addressed in the formal "Hail, Caesar!" salutation while residing in Caesar's Palace. The end result is the character, regardless of name/title, is parody of Roman decadence taken to its extreme. Nero/Caesar can go either way - the scholarship and analysis of History of the World, Part 1 is still sound. 


Here is a list of other texts that have cited/referenced The New Peplum and the essays inside:

"Ancient Greece and Rome in Videogames: Representation, Player Processes, and Transmedial Connections" - PhD thesis by Dr. Ross Clare (link)
    Cites Baker, Diak, Flanagan, Frankel, Johnson, Mueller, Nash, and Pierce.

The Borgia Family: Rumor and Representation - Edited by Jennifer Mara DeSilva
    Cites Diak. 

Dracula as Absolute Other: The Troubling and Distracting Specter of Stoker's Vampire on Screen - Written by Simon Bacon
    Cites Johnson. 

"La recepción de la guerra en la antigua Roma a través del cine: un estado de la cuestión" by Oskar Aguado Cantabrana in La guerra de la Antigüedad en el cine edited by Borja Antela-Bernárdez & Jordi Vidal. (link)
    Cites Diak and Wetmore. 

Classical Antiquity in Video Games Playing with the Ancient World - edited by Christian Rollinger.
    Cites Diak. 

Researching the Archaeological Past through Imagined Narratives: A Necessary Fiction - Edited by Daniël van Helden and Robert Witcher
   Cites Mueller and Pierce.

Tracking Classical Monsters in Popular Culture - Liz Gloyn.
    Cites Diak.

"Xena: Warrior Princess - The Giant Killer (1996)" - Article by Matt Page at the Bible Films Blog (link)
    Cites Frankel. 


To compliment/supplement this book, here are some of my articles, musing, and reviews on neo-pepla, sword and sandal, sword and sorcery, sword and planet, and all genres in between. 

(not updated in a while)

Misc. Items