Travelling from Spain to Iran, Egypt to Scotland, Tunisia to Greece, historian and classicist Mary Beard answers the big questions that have fascinated people for centuries: what caused the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Examining its creations, successes, failures and the legacy it left behind, this documentary looks at the ancient and modern, the big battles and the stories of whose who made it work, many of whom have left their own imprints alongside the Pompeys and Caesars, Hadrians and Constantine the Greats.
Reaching back to the myths and legends of Rome’s origins, Mary gains an insight into the deep-rooted psyche of the people. Rome was a city born through fratricide and rape, but it was also an asylum for outcasts and exiles, allowing for a uniquely inclusive approach towards its neighbours and defeated enemies.
In Greece, Mary finds evidence of war methods akin to genocide. The creation and possession of an empire transformed the politics of Rome forever, creating the conditions for one-man rule, and ending the centuries-old Roman Republic.
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