Marcus Aurelius: There is one more duty that I ask of you before you go home.

Maximus: What would you have me do Caesar?

Marcus Aurelius: I want you to become the protector of Rome after I die. I will empower you to one end alone, to give power back to the people of Rome and end the corruption that has crippled it. [Maximus looks amazed and sad] Do you accept this great honor that I have offered you?

Maximus: With all my heart, no.

Marcus Aurelius: Maximus, that is why it must be you.