Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire

Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire

2006, History  -   55 Comments
Ratings: 7.18/10 from 172 users.

Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an EmpireAncient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire is a BBC One docudrama series, with each episode looking at a different key turning point in the history of the Roman Empire.

Factually accurate and based on extensive historical research, it reveals how the greed, lust and ambition of men like Caesar, Nero and Constantine shaped the Roman Empire.

It describes how Rome destroyed Carthage, was conquered by Caesar, how it suppressed the Jewish revolt, and converted to Christianity.

CGI is mixed with compelling drama and spectacular live-action battles to tell the definitive television story of how the Empire was formed, how it achieved maximum power, and why it eventually failed.

Caesar. At the close of the Gallic Wars, Caesar finds his army encircled by a massive force of Gauls but wins a decisive victory with a brilliant counterattack at the Battle of Alesia. An inspiring speech to his troops promising to rescue Rome from its corrupt rulers and restore it to its people raises opposition from Senators Cato and Marcellus.

Nero. Nero witnesses the Great Fire of Rome from his villa in Antium and hurries back to the capital to try to control the fire and save lives. Seneca tells him to rule like the gods and he vows to build an inspirational city of marble and stone on the ruins.

Rebellion. The First Jewish-Roman War begins when the Jews rise up against their corrupt governor, drive the Romans out of Judea and defeat a counter-attack at the Battle of Beth Horon. The future Emperor Titus is sent to recall his father Vespasian from exile in Greece to lead the legions against the rebels in Galilee.

Revolution. Tiberius Gracchus first makes a mark on history winning the golden crown from General Scipio Aemilianus by being first over the wall at the victorious Battle of Carthage. Back in Rome, now the capital of the world, he finds the growing gap between rich and poor threatening the foundations of the republic.

Constantine. In Rome the tyrannical Maxentius consults the old gods Jupiter, Apollo and Mars to be told that, the enemy of Rome will be defeated, while outside the city Lactantius tries to convince Constantine to convert to the one true faith of Christianity.

The Fall of Rome. The Roman Empire is under barbarian assault from Huns and Vandals and Emperor Honorius's chief advisor Flavius Stilicho has negotiated a treaty with the Goth leaders Alaric and Athaulf but the Emperor has him executed for conspiracy.

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55 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Greg

    This is the older (1990's) History Channel series of the same name of which I own on dvd etc. I have no idea about the BBC one series this site is claiming but the video is defiantly the US made History channel series.

  2. jawad

    This isnt the documentary in the title. dont mis label garbage please and thanks. fix your website cuz this is wrong!

  3. Duckworthy

    Piggy-backing on the 2 titles recommended by Mr. John Cury on the lives of the Roman Emperors - both of which are, indeed, excellent, I have a very handy volume called "The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome, 31BC - AD476" by Michael Grant. Although out-of-print, I found my copy off-line in 2011 without much effort or expense. At any rate, it provides a decent biographical overview of the nearly 100 men who could call themselves "Emperor" over this 500-year period.
    Regarding the documentary itself: imagine my excitement at finding a 6-hour production on ancient Rome. It was like a dream come true! But then, imagine my near "Roman Suicidal" level of disappointment when I learned I could only access the 50-something minute segment, "Rebellion". I'm going to try and track this down elsewhere.

  4. Lakshman Karen

    good history

  5. Josef Walkure

    God, how I hate these docdramas... Really, has history fallen so low that we have to pander to such base ignorance?! We might as well trod out the purple dinosaur and friends and 'break it down Barney Style'.

  6. malcolm_mclean

    every fourth or so video is blocked...

  7. malcolm_mclean

    part 3 - 06.

    The video is being blocked by BBC on copyright grounds.

    Not even 20 minutes into this - don't bother watching this - you will not get far!

  8. Louise Helbo

    Bryan, I think it was "just" salt.

  9. L0LAW0NKA

    Who said the Roman Empire fell completely? Societies around the world are still operating under Roman influence. Just look at our language, the alphabet itself, the math, the science, the politics... yup, we're still under Roman influence. Isn't that amazing?

    1. Robert Maxwell

      I think the last claimant to the title of Caesar was Kaiser ("Caesar") Wilhelm after World War I -- unless you count the various presidential advisors known as "czars" who were first appointed by Ronald Reagan, unless you count one or two under FDR.

    2. Terry Beaton

      Also spelled; Tsar. (Tsarina for the ladies.)

    3. Joshua

      Your ignorance actually hurts. The last claiments to Rome's legacy were the Tsars of Russia - they called themselves the "Third Rome," nothing to do with your 'czars'. Jesus man.

    4. x y

      please, be our captain!

    5. roxanne

      no in fact you are wrong on all counts.

    6. hernandayoleary

      The math comes from the moors, the science, moors, the politics, moors. Romans have no influence today. No one is using roman numerals in math. Has it ever occured to you virtually all math tricks are basically impossible with roman numerals. Romans operated without a zero, how the hell you going to do math without a zero? And the alaphabet comes from the phoenicians.

    7. Al Akbar

      Math does not come from moors, but it existed long before that its only the numerals that were imported from Algeria yet they are at origin hindu, science also existed before the moors and ancient greeks were known to be good scientists, and politics....well politics existed everywhere long before the romans

    8. hernandayoleary

      The math in Europe came from the moors, that is why it is called Al gebra buddy. The al chemia is where they got their science from they didn't even know what surgery was until the moors they believed in the 7 biles prior to the moors.
      The ancient greek came to egypt to study science and most of their knowledge comes from the library of alexanderia after alexander invaded. You should watch the moors in europe video, it'd give you some education.

      The moors brought these things into europe..

    9. Ben Sanders

      Fool, the Moors pulled on the Islamic tradition, and the Islamic tradition pulled heavily on the Romans and Greeks. Don't believe me, just go ask any Imam. You are clueless, and likely a brainless black supremacist. You'd have to be truly uneducated not to realize that math existed long before the Moors were even a peoples. Algebra was originally produced in Babylon, then expanded in India and Greece, and only much later advanced by a Persian muslim named Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī...the Moors didn't have anything to do w/ it's creation, they merely used it and spreads it's use. Also, while the Egyptians and Persians still thought that the stars and planets were gods, the Greeks were the first to suspect that they were merely large spherical objects in the sky; also the first to determine the size of the earth, and MANY, MANY other "firsts," in humanity. The Romans were no different. They produced so many novel concepts they can't be counted. NO one group of ancient peoples has a monopoly on philosophy, math, or science. Btw, the Romans created some of the worlds first battlefield medicine/surgery. LOOOONG before Islam was even created by Muhammed (circa 600 AD), the Romans were performing complex surgeries on fractured skulls, and even implanting metal skull plates like they do today. WAKE UP, and study real history...not that Nation of Islam influenced bullshit. Real Muslims laugh at the Nation of Islam and openly state that it's not at all in the Islamic tradition, but only about racial superiority. And yes, they don't only seem as dumb as white supremacists, they are just as dumb.

  10. Fred Bazzeeda

    broken: part 4 and 6. displayed msg:
    "this video contains content from BBC Worldwide, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.

    1. Jon

      BBC would appear foolish to stop information. Maybe they want their own brand or way of looking at things, supressing others who may offer a better stand point.

      The best way to manage such disputes is to impose a watermark on the film. Once the dispute is settled then they can delete the video.

    2. okkkk

      Alternatively they might just be reserving it for the viewing of the liscence fee payers within Britain, what with British people funding this and all.

    3. a_no_n

      Nope, i'm British, in Britain, and I still can't watch it.

  11. Hassan Abd El Fattah

    the actor who perform nero is perfect.....he was totally mad did you see the " don`t you daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare " in 1:16 part 5,,,,,totally mad

    1. a_no_n

      I first saw him playing Tony Blair in really adds something to the performance knowing that.

  12. John Cury

    Damn it, allot of the parts are blocked. Will try to find it from somewhere else. I thought the guy playing Julius was very untalented. His speeches sucked.
    I have read 2 books on the lives of the roman emperors which I can recommend to anyone who wants to know more,
    1 THE LIVES OF THE TWELVE CAESARS By C. Suetonius Tranquillus
    Both can be found on gutenberg

  13. Shaan Vs

    This is a fantastic series with some good acting and a great background score. Specially the theme track is great.

  14. Serban Dragulin

    Leave it to the brits to make a first class docudrama with first class actors. I

  15. Guest

    i should of read the comments first. Grr was watching this great Doc. until I got to the blocked part.

  16. Brad Seguin

    omg... missed the giant battle because the video is blocked... it's educational jeez...

  17. Layla Phelps

    Wow Nero was a nutcase!

  18. Layla Phelps

    Eh one part was blocked. Oh well. The entire conspiracy party was nuts lol.

  19. Chris Killjoy Chase-Onions

    I love how they didn't accurately portray Roman armor through most of the episodes

    1. Julio_Claudian

      Actually they portrayed it far more accurately than any other programme/movie I've seen.
      The soldiers didn't always use the lorica segmentata. That came into use in the 1st century and by the end of the 3rd wasn't used anymore (see the episodes with Constantine). Even during the time it was used on a large scale not every legion adopted it.

  20. Geoffrey F

    The jews killed Caesar because he took the money power away from them. He made coins with his face on them. And these he gave to the people.

    1. Mathias Graner

      Well are we the "#1-white-thrash-hollywood-christian-ignorant-american" of the year!? Jews killing Ceasar? Not many jews in the senate in 45 BC, you foul person! L E A R N before speaking...

    2. Melissa Rambler

      your as much racist as he is

    3. CalCoolidge

      Everyone is a racist.

    4. Julio_Claudian

      The Jews had no influence whatsoever in the world of Roman politics. At various points they were expelled from Italy, they wouldn't have been able to gain access to Rome, much less the senate house.

  21. athenascurse

    They came to find that most the emperors that went mental it was due to Lead poisoning. Everything they drank, bathed in. Was full of lead.

    1. HerrPanzerCardinal

      The pipes' internal surfaces quickly became coated with calcium carbonate effectively eliminating contact between the water and lead. If you eat chocolate you are getting far more lead than you would than from drinking from Roman pipes because most of the world's cocoa is grown where they are still using leaded gasoline.

    2. freedom14u

      Thanks for the explanation. For 40 years I've eaten as much chocolate as I could get my hands on and keep down. I will pass the information on to my unsuspecting mother.

  22. Stephen Hart

    The actor who portrayed Nero was sensational! He delivered a great and very convincing performance!

    1. athenascurse

      u do realize that was the same guy who played Lucian from Underworld. His name is Michael Sheen. He also has a daughter with Kate Beckinsale.

    2. athenascurse

      oh and Nero's wife was the same women who played in Braveheart. She was W.W.'s first love that was killed. I cannot remember her name.

    3. Stephen Hart

      I thought I knew his face! He played Aro in "New Moon" and Tony Blair in "The Queen." He's a wonderful actor, very talanted.

    4. Donna Davenport

      That was the wonderful British actor Michael Sheen who also took a turn playing British PM Tony Blair in "The Queen" and also David Frost in the film "Frost/Nixon"....

  23. danielmcd3

    Strange seeing frank gallagher leading an army

    1. Richie Cahill

      haha.. thought I seen his face in there

  24. danielmcd3

    by God, Nero was one mental dude.

  25. Paul So

    It's sad how Rome fell because of it's pride and prejudice against the barbarian...If only they see how trustworthy and honorable Alaric is then they would have given a land and saved rome...but oh well, what's done is done.

  26. Steven King

    "An inspiring speech to his troops promising to rescue Rome from its corrupt rulers and restore it to its people raises opposition from Senators Cato and Marcellus."
    Now I know where the Cato Institute derived it's name.

  27. Benoit Field

    I love this, yes it's over dramatized, but I look at it more like entertainment than educational, I know this whole history inside and out anyway.

  28. Ivan Simo Simic

    Uffaaa... I love history, but in the first 7 min. of this doc. I can not stand the dramatization. Last doc. about the Greek history was perfect, I hoped that it will be similar. OK, I see now it is docudrama series... But, still do not like it :)

  29. Liisa Mialee

    Some parts are blocked on copyrigth grounds by BBC Worldwide. But overall very interesting.

    1. Glenn Lopez

      yeah... abit of a pain in the ass... i just torrented the thing