Ancient Almanac (1998)

Genres - History  |   Sub-Genres - World History, Biography  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Episode two of this four-part series explains the important events in Rome's history between the reigns of Augustus Caesar and Vespasian. After the fall of the Roman republic and the assassination of Julius Caesar, his grandnephew, Octavius Caesar, wins a struggle for power against Mark Antony and becomes Rome's first emperor in 27 B.C. Narrator Joe Mantegna notes that Augustus is an adroit politician who suppresses opposition and then maintains peace throughout his reign. During this time, he rigidly enforces his strict moral code even though he himself violates the rules with sexual misconduct. As the empire thrives, Augustus constructs new roads, promotes the arts, and remakes Rome into a city of marble. After he dies in 14 A.D., the empire struggles through the reigns of incompetent and villainous emperors such as Caligula and Nero. When Vespasian attains power in 69 B.C., he stabilizes the government and sends his son Titus to Judea to crush a revolt. After he begins construction on the Colosseum in Rome, he dies and Titus succeeds him and completes the Colosseum. There, Romans gather to watch gladiatorial contests, executions, and animal fights.

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Keywords

government, history, construction, culture [social culture], ancient, emperor, Roman-Empire