Far be it from me to not jump into the Batman mania. There has been a ton of buzz about Richard Armitage being amongst the pool of actors in consideration for the role of Batman in an upcoming Superman/Batman effort. If he were so inclined, I’m sure Mr. Armitage could nail that part. Batman is in his wheelhouse – a flawed, but heroic character. It’s all speculation at this point, I suppose. As I understand it, there is not even a script for the film as yet. Reading the comments on some of the reports has been extremely interesting. One particularly struck me in it’s reference to Richard Armitage as possessing the gravitas to do justice to the character of Batman. “Yes!” I thought, that is the perfect term.
Latin authors, of both prose and verse, often refer to the mos maiorum (“the customs of the ancestors”) as models of correct Roman behavior. According to the poet Ennius:
“Moribus antiquis res stat Romana virisque.” (“The Roman state stands on ancient customs and heroes.”)
The Romans measured their Romanitas or “Roman-ness” via a series of qualities known jointly as The Roman Virtues. Gravitas was one of these virtues. Translated literally it means gravity or seriousness, but in the context of a personal trait, novaroma.org sums it up really nicely as:
“A sense of the importance of the matter at hand, responsibility and earnestness.”
I also find it interesting that secondary definitions of the term refer to heaviness or dullness – things that Richard Armitage has accused himself of on more than one occasion. (He’s a bit hard on himself if you ask me…)
Gravitas is certainly a quality Richard Armitage possesses in his approach to his work. His seriousness, responsibility and earnestness would all contribute beautifully to his characterization of Batman should he inhabit the role one day.
Incidentally, there are 14 other Roman Virtues, so we may just revisit this topic in the future 🙂