Synopsis by Mike Cummings
Episode one of this four-part series chronicles the major events in ancient Rome's first seven centuries. It uses maps, paintings, statues, and ancient ruins to tell the story of Rome from its founding in 753 B.C. to Augustus Caesar's accession to power in 27 B.C. After narrator Joe Mantegna explains how the legendary Romulus and Remus founded the city, he describes events leading to the establishment of a republic in 509 B.C., in which both upper and lower classes had a say in government affairs. Mantegna then discusses the legal system, the expansion of Rome through military conquest, the contributions of the orator Cicero, and the use of slave labor to construct Roman buildings. The episode concludes with an overview of Julius Caesar's accomplishments -- including his brilliant military victories and his invention of the Julian calendar -- and, after his assassination, the rise of Octavius Caesar, who becomes Rome's first emperor under the name of Augustus Caesar.
government, monarch, Roman-Empire