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AD 66, following the death of Nero, Josephus is leads a Jewish Revolt and only General Vespasian has the strength and will to sort out the empire.


Andrew Grieve


Andrew Grieve


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Episode credited cast:
Ed Stoppard ... Josephus
Jonathan Coy ... Florius
Jonathan Hyde ... Hanan
Peter Firth ... Vespasian
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tom Espiner Tom Espiner ... Yaakov
Rod Hallett ... Nicanor
Richard Harrington ... Yohanon
Adam James ... Titus
Danny Midwinter ... Placidus


In the spring of 66 AD, target-failure by the tax collectors in the province of Iudea makes the Roman garrison turn on them and even the Temple in Jerusalem- a bloody revolt then ousts the governor, installing an independent regime headed by Hanan Ben-Hanan. After a 30,000 strong army was defeated and the whole 12th legion wiped out, emperor Nero, who fears the unprecedentedly serious rebellion may spread throughout the empire, sends upon the retired veteran general Vespasian, who was banished from court for falling asleep during his endless poetry, to take command, assisted by his son Titus Flavius, also a professional officer, from Greece. He fears the Jerusalem defenses and decides to terrorize the rest of the country instead. Ben Hanan tells Josephus ben Matatia, whom he puts in charge of defending Galilea, there is no hope of winning a long war, the goal is to get concessions after a good resistance. A quarter of the Roman troops is approaching, both from Antioch and Alexandria, ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Plot Keywords:

year 66 | 60s | 1st century | See All (3) »

User Reviews

The empire against local particularism:the virtues of integration or rather the costs trying to affirm distinct identities
29 April 2007 | by georgioskarpouzasSee all my reviews

This is the best of the episodes(the four) I have seen and the one that has the very able idea of integrating in the plot the life one the sources of those events, namely the historian Josephus who is the exact equivalent of the Greek Polybius another historian coming from a defeated civilization who has lived in Rome under aristocratic protection and wrote trying to convince his compatriots about the causes of Roman grandeur-Joshephus even luckier lived under imperial protection since his captor became Emperor. The brutality of the Romans is very well attested but also the futility of resistance from the part of Jewish zealots their internal strife and their mistake to assassinate their more moderate leadership who sought compromise with the Romans.One can not miss the modern equivalence with the USA against Islam for example. Nevertheless it is a good episode and the first of the four I have seen which presents the conflict of Rome against a foreign enemy as opposed to the other three which deal with Romano-roman strifes or civil wars. It is the most interesting as far as the depiction of military tactics is considered and very fine on the dilemmas of the vanquished. I think it is overestimating the threat that Judea posed to Roman Hegemony which was not much as I know from documentaries and books. But how can one know for sure? A fine episode.

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Release Date:

12 October 2006 (UK) See more »

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