Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire

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Ancient Rome: the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire is a 2006 BBC One docudrama series, with each episode looking at a different time in the Roman Empire. The first episode was broadcast on 21st September 2006 and then on subsequent Thursdays. The series was written and produced by Nick Murphy.

[edit] Broadcast order controversy

In their first broadcast on BBC 1, the episodes have not all been broadcast in chronological order. Nero was shown first as it was believed by the BBC that this was the best episode[citation needed]. When the series was broadcast on the Discovery Channel as Battle for Rome, from 5th November 2006 onwards, the episodes were broadcast in their chronological order (ie Gracchus, then Caesar, then Nero, then as BBC order).

[edit] Episode guide

# Airdate Title Promotional plot summary Cast
1 21st September Nero Life of the emperor Nero, a madman who sent many to their deaths. He tried to re-build Rome entirely so that it would be perfect, believing that he was a god and a great artist. However, the episode argues against the myth that he 'fiddled whilst Rome burned'. Nero - Michael Sheen
Poppea Sabina - Catherine McCormack
Tigellinus - James Wilby
Seneca the Younger - Hugh Dixon
Natalis - Michael Maloney
Piso - Hugh Ross
Scaevinus - Trevor Cooper
Faenius Rufus - Ben Pullen
Milichus - Alex Lowe
Historical consultant - Mary Beard
2 28th September Caesar Julius Caesar's Gallic and civil wars, beginning with the siege of Alesia Caesar - Sean Pertwee
Marc Antony - Alex Ferns
Pompey - John Shrapnel
Marcellus - Karl Johnson
Titus Labienus - ?
Historical consultant - Mary Beard
3 5th October Revolution Life of Tiberius Gracchus. Rome was once a largely democratic society, with regular elections. This Republic lasted for 500 years, but then came Tiberius Gracchus. He believed in the ideals of the Republic - fairness, decency and justice for everyone -but was appalled by Rome's aristocrats' treatment of the poor. So he unleashed the power of the mob upon the streets of Rome, with devastating consequences. Tiberius Gracchus - James D'Arcy
Claudius Pulcher - David Warner
Scipio Nasica - Tom Bell
Cornelia Africana - Geraldine James
Scipio Aemilianus - Greg Hicks

Historical consultant - Mary Beard
4 12th October Rebellion The First Jewish-Roman War. This edition tells the story of the Jewish Revolt, which swept through Judea in AD 66 and threatened to destabilise the whole empire. Rome turned to the father-and-son team of disgraced General Vespasian and his son Titus to put it down. Filled with spectacular sieges and huge set-piece action, the film pits the discipline and ingenuity of the Roman army against the passion and commitment of the rebels. Vespasian - Peter Firth
Josephus - Ed Stoppard
5 19th October Constantine Constantine and the Christianisation of the Empire. Beginning with the battle of the Milvian Bridge and ending with the death of Fausta and Licinius, this edition shows how the Emperor Constantine brought Christianity to the western world. In AD 312, Rome was in crisis. The empire had been divided into four parts, each with its own emperor who fought one another. Constantine intervened and united Rome, using military might and a new religion - Christianity. Constantine - David Threlfall
General Gnaeus - John Blakey
Lactantius - John Woodvine
Maxentius - Charles Dale
Bassianus - Andre Havill
Fausta - Louise Delamere
Bato - Andrew Westfields
Senator - Lyall B Watson
Licinius - Danny Webb
Constantia - Lucy Caskell
Priest - Paul Mooney
Historical consultant - Averil Cameron
6 26th October Fall of Rome In AD 410, the Goth hordes sacked Rome. This event symbolised Rome's collapse. Within 70 years, the western empire - what we think of as Ancient Rome - was abandoned. But it should never have happened at all. Olympius - Pip Torrens
Athaulf - Alastair MacKenzie
Alaric - Mark Lockyer
Honorius - Sebastian Armesto
Jovius - Philip Jackson
Attalus - Simon Kunz
Galla Placidia - Natasha Barrero
Festus - Ian Lindsay
Goth woman - Sabina Netherclift
Berig - Andrew Westfield
Sarus - Karl Jenkinson
Petronius - Lyall B Watson
Stilicho - Colin Heber-Percy
Emissary - Paul Mooney
Historical consultant - Peter Heather

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Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire

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