Mayer doesn't want his book to be catagorized in the United States section of any history catalogues. This is the first collection of the most important playscripts and film scenarios of the 'toga play' a genre of theatrical melodrama which flourished in the late nineteenth century and which re-emerged in silent cinema and later 'epics'. Set in the post-Republican Roman Empire, toga plays and films presented Roman and Jewish heroes, Christian virgins, seductive 'adventuresses', insane Emperors, savage lions, and racing chariots. But, as David Mayer shows, the plays also ventured clandestinely into issues of class, gender, religion, immigration, and imperialism and hence shed new light on British and American social and cultural history. Among the restored scripts and scenarios included here - all of which are previously unpublished and generously illustrated - are those of Claudian (1883), the most popular of all Victorian melodramas The Sign of The Cross (1895), and the stage spectacular Ben Hur (1899) and its earliest cinematic version (1907). D.W. Griffith's first toga film The Barbarian Ingomar (1908) is represented by a lengthy selection of film stills. At a time of growing interest in the relationship between Victorian popular theatre and early cinema, this ground-breaking publication brings to light a highly significant - but critically neglected - theatrical and cinematic genre.Mayer, David is the author of 'Playing Out the Empire Ben-Hur and Other Toga Plays and Films, 1883-1908 A Critical Anthology' with ISBN 9780198119906 and ISBN 0198119909.