Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire: Season 1, Episode 3

Revolution (5 Oct. 2006)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | History
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 76 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

132 BC tells the story of how a Roman politician nearly brought down the foundations of the Roman republic.

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Title: Revolution (05 Oct 2006)

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
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Aenilianus
David Hinton ...
Axius
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Cornelia
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Pulcher
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paul Brightwell ...
...
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Matho
Sylvester Morand ...
Mancinus
Wendy Nottingham ...
Mother
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Storyline

Since the young Tiberius Gracchus assisted his famous father and namesakes funeral pile, he is destined for even greater fame. The final victory in Rome's 120 year long Punic wars against Carthage, its greatest ever Mediterranean rival, brings him immense glory and the rich unseen wealth, but almost nothing trickles down to the destitute, who keep flocking to the city's squalid quarters; the rich patricians yest removing the military threat of Carthage also removes the best control on them. He learns many veteran families lose everything, even their land, which is taken by the rich. Now he joins the army against a Spanish tribe, the Numantines, which manages to encircle the 20,000 legionnaires and refuses to negotiate with consul Mancinus, but takes the word of Gracchus, for the sake of his father who concluded an honorable peace with them; the troops return, their families rejoice but the senate blames the commanders for a disgraceful surrender and sends Mancinus back stark-naked in ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Drama | History

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5 October 2006 (UK)  »

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Best of the Bunch
5 April 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This one focuses on a lesser known moment in Roman history: the tribunate of Tiberius Gracchus. Gracchus was a reformer who wanted to help the poor, limit the land owned by senators, and increase his own power in the process. Tiberius was the first of the radical tribunes who bypassed the Senate in his efforts, which led to popular politicians courting the common people, and eventually to the fall of the Republic. So it's really hard to overstate the importance of this moment in Roman history. I think that this was my favorite of the bunch. It was paced well, had some good performances, and was from an era never shown before. Particular praise goes out to James D'Arcy who gives a wonderful performance in the lead. His Tiberius manages to be both idealistic and ambitious and not a little reckless. You see why this man would be a danger to the entrenched nobility. This episode is pretty much a one-man show but it features good supporting performances by David Warner, Geraldine James and Tom Bell, who I've never heard of but does a great job as Nasica, whose every look is ominous. He looks like a snake. I've never seen a more suspiciously evil looking person. There is enough dialogue in this episode that the vice over narration is almost unnecessary except for the beginning and end. In fact, it shows up only sporadically throughout and seems to be a measure of the quality of these episodes that the best ones have the least narration.

The best thing about this episode is that the main character is quite a complicated one. The question of whether he's an idealist doing what he does for the benefit of the people or an ambitious politician furthering his own ends is never made clear. While it does seem to land more on the side of idealist it makes quite clear that he is not unaware of the benefits to be gained from his actions. While the leaders of the Senate are portrayed as mere stock villains, considering their actions it seems completely justified. They overreacted badly and brought down violence and unrest upon themselves. David Warner as the extremely conflicted father-in-law Senator is the exception. He wants much of what Tiberius wants but he refuses to go to the extremes that Tiberius is willing to. The only real problem with this episode is that they cut out Tiberius' brother completely. Gaius Gracchus did the same thing a decade later, with even more success. While they don't have to portray that, it seems sad that Tiberius is presented as being an only child. They should at least have acknowledged that he had a brother. It would have tied up the ending rather better since one of the main themes is ambition and the desire to live up to and improve on the accomplishments of your family. What better way to show that than to see his brother trying to live up to his ideals?


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