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 the imperial palace and stability eventually prevailed. The new emperor was called Tiberius. He was Augustus' step-son and he was a dour, middle-aged man with limited vision. Tiberius' ultimate decline from ascetic ruler to reclusive despot ushered in one of the most notorious rulers of the ancient world: Caligula. As fear and conspiracy descended on Rome, crisis spread to the provinces. In Judaea, modern-day Israel, a charismatic religious leader named Jesus challenged the religious and political establishment. The local furor barely touched Rome, but the legacy of Jesus would one day engulf the empire itself.- Written by Anonymous
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