Rome: Empire Without Limit

Rome: Empire Without Limit

How Did It Happen?
Season 1  |  Episode 1  |  The History Channel  |  February 12, 2017

Mary Beard reaches back to the myths and legends of the origins of Rome to gain an insight into the deep-rooted psyche of the people of Rome - a city born through fratricide and rape. But Rome was also from the very beginning an asylum for outcasts and exiles, and because of this it adopted a uniquely inclusive approach towards its neighbours and defeated enemies. The expansion of the city brought territory in first in Italy and Sicily, where Rome first came head to head and eventually defeated her great rival: Carthage. Mary then travels to Greece, where Rome adopted a complex mix of brute force and cultural cringe, and France, where she finds evidence of war methods akin to outright genocide. In typical myth-busting style, Mary argues that the period of greatest Roman expansion occurred when Rome itself was little more than a provincial backwater, a shanty town of mud and brick. The marble, monumental Rome we know came about because of imperial conquest - not the other way round. And likewise, 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.

Mary Beard reaches back to the myths and legends of the origins of Rome to gain an insight into the deep-rooted psyche of the people of Rome - a city born through fratricide and rape. But Rome was also from the very beginning an asylum for outcasts and exiles, and because of this it adopted a uniquely inclusive approach towards its neighbours and defeated enemies. The expansion of the city brought territory in first in Italy and Sicily, where Rome first came head to head and eventually defeated her great rival: Carthage. Mary then travels to Greece, where Rome adopted a complex mix of brute force and cultural cringe, and France, where she finds evidence of war methods akin to outright genocide. In typical myth-busting style, Mary argues that the period of greatest Roman expansion occurred when Rome itself was little more than a provincial backwater, a shanty town of mud and brick. The marble, monumental Rome we know came about because of imperial conquest - not the other way round. And likewise, 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.

For years gladiators have been legendary figures of the Ancient World; the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters like Spartacus, or Gladiator. But our knowledge has been based largely on speculation - until now. Timewatch have secured exclusive access to the biggest archaeological gladiator research project of all time. As it approaches its conclusion, Gladiator CSI reveals the secrets of how gladiators lived, fought and died, not from speculation but from forensic science. In the 1990s a survey for the ancient course of the Holy Procession Path between the temple of Artemis (one of the seven Wonders of the World) and the city of Ephesus in Turkey came upon an unexpected find: a mass burial site. But most of the cadavers did not bear the signs of death from natural causes. Instead, they seem to have met a violent end. In 2002 two forensic anthropologists went to investigate: this was a gladiator graveyard. Although the corpses of gladiators had been found before, they tended to be isolated examples. In this graveyard, no less than 67 were buried. The amount of data was unprecedented. Employing two of the world's leading forensics anthropologists as our two crime scene investigators, this is the story of their investigation. Their research makes ground-breaking conclusions probing popular myths about gladiators: Is the currently fashionable thesis that although gladiators fought vicious contests, they rarely battled to the death, really true? Were the losers of gladiatorial contests really dispatched in the arena by the turning of the emperor's thumb? Were gladiators treated as no more than animals, with no provision for their health or well-being? Spanning two centuries, our 67 corpses reveal great technological changes in fighting equipment and wounds from weapons that were hitherto thought only to be the stuff of myth (like the cubic fore dent).

Gladiator Graveyard

Ancient history, History

Years 11-12 Ancient history, History
48:01
For years gladiators have been legendary figures of the Ancient World; the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters like Spartacus, or Gladiator. But our knowledge has been based largely on speculation - until now. Timewatch have secured exclusive access to the biggest archaeological gladiator research project of all time. As it approaches its conclusion, Gladiator CSI reveals the secrets of how gladiators lived, fought and died, not from speculation but from forensic science. In the 1990s a survey for the ancient course of the Holy Procession Path between the temple of Artemis (one of the seven Wonders of the World) and the city of Ephesus in Turkey came upon an unexpected find: a mass burial site. But most of the cadavers did not bear the signs of death from natural causes. Instead, they seem to have met a violent end. In 2002 two forensic anthropologists went to investigate: this was a gladiator graveyard. Although the corpses of gladiators had been found before, they tended to be isolated examples. In this graveyard, no less than 67 were buried. The amount of data was unprecedented. Employing two of the world's leading forensics anthropologists as our two crime scene investigators, this is the story of their investigation. Their research makes ground-breaking conclusions probing popular myths about gladiators: Is the currently fashionable thesis that although gladiators fought vicious contests, they rarely battled to the death, really true? Were the losers of gladiatorial contests really dispatched in the arena by the turning of the emperor's thumb? Were gladiators treated as no more than animals, with no provision for their health or well-being? Spanning two centuries, our 67 corpses reveal great technological changes in fighting equipment and wounds from weapons that were hitherto thought only to be the stuff of myth (like the cubic fore dent).
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