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Empires: The Roman Empire in the First Century 


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Series cast summary:
 Narrator 1 episode, 2001


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Release Date:

2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Romaiki aftokratoria  »

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User Reviews

non-prudish look at early Rome
3 December 2014 | by See all my reviews

This series is mostly about the Roman emperors, starting with Julius Caesar, giving the poet Ovid emperor-level-billing for some reason. It was surprisingly non-prudish, full of juicy gossip about sex lives and political intrigues. I learned quite a bit new. The video portion spends a lot of time showing you the same Roman statues and art work over and over, often out of focus. The interest comes mainly from the excellent narration. They had many commentators and narrators to hold your interest. There was quite a bit of hair-raising information about the lives of ordinary people as well.

The only part that made me gag was the section about the rise of Christianity. It was done in the turgid style of Charleton Heston in the Ten Commandments complete with 50-s style overblown epic music. They treated the bible as a literal historical document, and quoted from its errors reverently with the Hollywood "holy" accent, that conjures up an image of the narrator contending with a broom forced deeply into a body cavity. They completely ignored what we know about that period from archaeology, the Roman records and the study of other ancient documents. I think they must have had a completely different team doing that section. They may have subcontracted it to Ernest Angley's crew. It was done in a completely different style from the rest. That was too bad. An objective, non-judgemental look at that period, similar to the rest of the series, would have been fascinating.

Compare this with I Claudius where you see Derek Jacobi portraying Claudius. In this series, you hear only narrators talking about the emperors, showing you statues of them as background.

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