Empires: The Roman Empire in the First Century: Season 1, Episode 1

Order from Chaos (2001)

TV Episode  -  Documentary | History
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 7 users  
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Two thousand years ago, at the dawn of the first century, the ancient world was ruled by Rome. And the Roman Empire was in turmoil. Civil war had engulfed the empire's capital city. ... See full summary »

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Two thousand years ago, at the dawn of the first century, the ancient world was ruled by Rome. And the Roman Empire was in turmoil. Civil war had engulfed the empire's capital city. Dictators seized power. The Roman future looked bleak. But under the leadership of Caesar Augustus, the Roman Empire would survive the chaos and rise stronger and more dazzling than ever before. Episode 1, "Order From Chaos," describes the astonishing rise of Rome; and the astonishing characters -- both famous and uncelebrated -- that fueled its ascendance. Most notably, Caesar Augustus. The story of Augustan Rome is the story of greatness at a price. "Years of Trial" begins in the year 14, when Caesar Augustus died and the empire stood at a crossroad. Would Rome continue the course set by its first emperor... or would it fall into civil war? The tense period immediately following the death of Augustus brought a brutal army mutiny and intense political intrigue. A reluctant new emperor quickly inhabited ... Written by Anonymous

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2001 (USA)  »

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The first part of a wonderful four-part series.
14 February 2013 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

begins with Augustus and his brutal rise to power and then his subtle work to become tyrant ANtony Ovid==the parallel was odd Julia and her indiscretions GErmanic rebellion

Despite the title of the show, parts of this first episode predate the first century AD. Instead, the unifying theme of the series is the first century (or so) of Roman emperors. After a VERY brief discussion of Julius Caesar, the show then discussed the most important of the Julian emperors, Augustus. His rise to power is discussed as well as his masterful manner of pretended not to want power--while acquiring more and more until he was the despot of Roman--albeit a benevolent one. Mostly, the show was positive in discussing his rule--such as his expanding the empire, the Pax Romana and his trying to set a moral example to his people. However, his daughter Julia's sexual excesses and the weakness of the hereditary system were to help weaken the strong system he created. The only part of the show that seemed odd was their insistence on discussing Ovid as a counter-point to Augustus--a very unusual juxtaposition and a slightly confusing one as well.

In addition to the excellent narration by Signorney Weaver, the show was full of interviews with scholars, some voice actors (such as Joseph Campanella) and modern footage and footage of Roman artifacts. Together, they weaved a very nice picture of the era--and a very professionally made one at that. For lovers of history, a very good show--begun by a very good first episode.

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