Rome: The World's First Superpower follows award-winning actor Larry Lamb as he tells the story of Rome 3,000 years ago, an extraordinary people rose and conquered the known world. He looks at how the Romans then went onto creating the greatest empire mankind has ever seen, stretching from Britain to the middle east and how it lasted a thousand years.
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Episode 1x4; Nov 14, 2014
Using Caesar's own memoirs as his guide, Larry follows the great man's extraordinary transformation from a bankrupt junior public official to the invincible general who conquered Gaul, through to his infamous assassination.
Along the way, he discovers that money was at the heart of every decision Caesar ever made. Larry is amazed to learn of Julius's humble beginning as a penniless civil servant. He then visits the Channel Island of Jersey, which once stood at the northern edge of the Roman world. In a field overlooking the sea, he meets Reg Mead and Richard Miles, who made a record discovery there of 70,000 coins dating back to the time of Caesar. At Jersey Museum, the man responsible for conserving the Grouville hoard tells him how it was hidden around the time of 50-60BC to protect it from Julius Caesar as he marauded across mainland Europe.
To understand Caesar's military genius, Larry visits the site of the siege of Alesia, Caesar's most decisive military victory, in central France. Taking to the air, he uses infra-red imagery to reveal the scale of Caesar's campaign. Back on land, he visits the reconstructed giant ramparts of Alesia and consults Caesar's memoirs to discover how his military cunning finally defeated Rome's ancient enemy.
However, Caesar's most deadly adversaries were not on the battlefields of Europe. They were waiting for him in the very heart of Rome. On the banks of the river Rubicon in northern Italy, Larry relates the moment that Caesar took a decision that shaped Roman history for centuries. By crossing the Rubicon, he declared civil war – and unleashed three years of chaos on the republic.
Caesar's enemies and even some of his supporters were determined to save the republic from his dictatorial rule and famously plotted to assassinate him. Larry retraces Caesar's final hours as their plans unfolded, climaxing in the brutal, fatal attack in a Senate debating chamber.
Larry reflects that while the plot was intended to save the republic, it actually opened the way for a new age of emperors, known as the Caesars. He concludes that it was their individual ambition that drove Rome onwards, until their empire covered two million square miles and controlled the lives of a quarter of the world's population. Rome's greatest heights were yet to come.
1x4: Episode 4
1x3: Episode 3
1x2: Episode 2
1x1: Episode 1
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