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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rome The Rise and Fall of an Empire
If its information on ancient Rome you are looking for, this is the series for you. Made in thirteen parts; on four DVDdiscs, each in it's own slimline plastic cover; this 640min series is absolutely packed with historical information presented in an entertaining manner. The format is the standard historical re-enactments, fleshed out with numerous maps and expert...
Published on 5 Nov 2009 by C. W. Bradbury

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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A brief overview
I was attracted to this series because I'd read about the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest and I wanted to learn more about one of the biggest defeats suffered by the Roman army.

I'd seen the BBC production that shares the same name as this collection, and I must admit that after watching the first episode I began to doubt the quality of the production and it...
Published on 29 Dec 2010 by Lawrence


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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rome The Rise and Fall of an Empire, 5 Nov 2009
By 
C. W. Bradbury (England) - See all my reviews
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If its information on ancient Rome you are looking for, this is the series for you. Made in thirteen parts; on four DVDdiscs, each in it's own slimline plastic cover; this 640min series is absolutely packed with historical information presented in an entertaining manner. The format is the standard historical re-enactments, fleshed out with numerous maps and expert comment, but the factual content is very high indeed, and the commentary by Leif Anders runs like a particularly interesting storytale. Beginning with Marius and the Cimbri invasion in 113BC, this series covers the major events in the long history of Rome through to the final destruction of the Western Empire in 476AD as shown in the episodes listed below:-
1.The First Barbarian War.
2.Spartacus.
3.Julius Caesar.
4.The Forest of Death.
5.The Invasion of Britain.
6.The Dacian Wars.
7.Rebellion and Betrayal.
8.Wrath of the Gods.
9.The Soldiers' Emperor.
10.Constantine The Great.
11.The Barbarian General.
12.The Puppet Master.
13.The Last Emperor.
The re-enactments are on a small scale for such a massive topic, but the programmes are so well made that this minor failing does not detract from their quality. If I had to choose only one programme from the many recently published on Ancient Rome, this would be it.Rome The Rise and Fall of an Empire [DVD] [2008]
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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A brief overview, 29 Dec 2010
This review is from: Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (6 DVD Gift Pack) (DVD)
I was attracted to this series because I'd read about the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest and I wanted to learn more about one of the biggest defeats suffered by the Roman army.

I'd seen the BBC production that shares the same name as this collection, and I must admit that after watching the first episode I began to doubt the quality of the production and it bugged me. But after watching a few more episodes, I began to realise that the lower quality visuals and re-enactments are actually the series' strength. Unlike the BBC version, this History Channel production is crammed with accurate historical facts, data and critical overview from, mainly American, experts. Whereas it's easy to get distracted by the superior script/plot, stunning visuals and professional actors used by the BBC and lose track of dates, victories and who was in power.

Like others have said/written before, this production covers some relatively obscure chapters and events in Roman history. This is attractive in the sense that it reveals some of the less well known weaknesses of the Roman empire and how it evolved to put them right.

The only downside, which has already been noted, is the droning narrator and the regular references to 9/11 and the war on terror. The intermittent recaps also betray the fact that this DVD collection is an adapted/edited version of what was aired on TV and repackaged as a DVD collection.

Overall, don't expect to be amazed by stunning visuals and quality acting, but the sheer amount of concise historical fact and analysis makes it well worth the expense.
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179 of 185 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Initial Thoughts, 7 Jun 2010
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This review is from: Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (6 DVD Gift Pack) (DVD)
No reviews so far, so I may well post my initial thoughts. Firstly, this set contains the 4 DVD History Channel's set of 'Rome The Rise and Fall of an Empire'. In addition there are two extra DVDs - 'Rome: Engineering an Empire' and 'Ancient Mysteries - Ancient Rome and its Mysterious Cities'. The 4 DVD set alone can be bought for nearly double the price, so already we are into bargain territory. I'm only part way through the 4xDVD set, but in comparison to the Discovery Channel's equivalent there is far less repitition (annoying 'recap' after what would be an ad-break), and the production values are far higher. Also, the DVDs each have two or three episodes each, so although there are less discs the run-time is far greater - I can never understand why many documentary sets contain 6 or 8 discs, each with just 40 mins of material ! In total there are 14hrs of (what so far looks like) quality documentary. If you don't already own it, buy 'Ancient Rome: The rise and fall of Empire' - this BBC produced series is my personal favourite, but if you already own it, then this DVD set is a great companion piece, and represents stunning value.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Commended, 18 Sep 2010
By 
I. Buchan "antiquarian" (SHROPSHIRE ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (6 DVD Gift Pack) (DVD)
ROME THE RISE AND FALL OF EMPIRE Is a treat it is well constructed and devised more accurate than many similar -and further it is a pleasure to watch. As the reviewer has indicated prior to myself it is way ahead of the History Channel-with added plus that you decide how much of it you wish to watch at a sitting. This is very much a bargain as it contains most (arguably) decisive stages of the Roman Histories (with focus for the less aware) on the more well known episodes that decided the course and fate of Rome - eg most will be aware of the Story of Spartacus but less of General Marius both of whom were important factors in the shaping the Historical course of Rome. The Graphics are very good and the History extensive -the First Disc running to 3 hours. In all 6 discs- each different and well worth the time . This set which runs for 14 hours in total, and, is worth every penny. More so when you consider your generations will be able to watch and learn from a History of Rome which eventually shaped most of the world in all cultures.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars fighting and more fighting and loud , obnoxious sounding "historian" commentators, 3 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (6 DVD Gift Pack) (DVD)
I actually rate this documentary 2.5 stars..not two stars...as it does have SOME value with the information narrated to you and some of the scenes are educational.

I tried to like this series..as i wanted to like it...however it is just your typical History Channel "in your face" style of narration and layout with loud, very irritating sounding "Experts" telling you the history. It is ashame..because this could have been very good documentary...but whoever designed the layout and the commentating history "experts" ruined it. One historian.. (I think he was a professor) just sounded nearly retarded with his way over done, very loud, "southern US accent" ..and he seemed to be the main commentator throughout the entire series.

There is just fight scene after fight scene..and they all look similar..after 100 times of it...you just want to turn it off...as the narrator has already irritated you beyond the point of survival anyways.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Qualified Thumbs Up, 21 Feb 2011
This review is from: Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (6 DVD Gift Pack) (DVD)
The historical narrative and expert opinion (in the four main DVDs) is of a high standard, giving the key points of the unfolding events without descending into melodrama or populism. The episodes cover a very long period of complicated history and it is perhaps inevitable that whole chunks are missing (falling, as it were, "between episodes"). You will search for Boudicca, Julian the Apostate and Caracalla in vain, for example. It is difficult to be too critical of this - selections have to be made, and some colourful characters and events must inevitably fall by the wayside. The loss is counter-balanced by the deeper level of detail in the events that *have* survived.

As for the graphical element... Frankly, the entire series would have been better if the "re-enactments" had been omitted altogther. Let's take for example the Roman soldiers, who appear in the same uniforms and armour for the *entire* series, spanning five centuries. As for the generic barbarians (almost always on foot, even the Parthians who were famous horse-mounted warriors), eternally fighting over the same bit of Baltic forest... This not only fails to inform but, far worse, it misinforms. Roman soldiers neither looked like that (for most of the period under question) or fought like that.

Never mind though. For anyone genuinely interested in the broad narrative of Roman Imperial history, this boxed set is a worthwhile addition to the library, albeit better listened to than watched.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 12 Jun 2011
By 
G. H. Fraser-sampson (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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OK if you know absolutely nothing about the subject, but oherwise very simplistic and dumbed-down. Full of basic factual errors. The fear of invasion from north of the Alp had been aroud for a long time before Marius. The Empire did not collapse suddenly in less than a hundred years, but lingered for about three centuries. Roman soldiers are seen fighting in the open against Barbarians whereas the whole point of the Roman army was that they fought in tightly closed formations. Some very irritating America speakers, at least one of whom, from the deep south, sounds like a football commentator. Also, made for American TV with a commercial break, and consequent annoying recap very few minutes which nobody has even bothered to edit out. Vey disappointing. A subject like this deserves a much better treatment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok but annoying, 4 May 2011
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This review is from: Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (6 DVD Gift Pack) (DVD)
Generally OK but recapping happens far too often, obviously meant to fill you in again when shown with commercial breaks, should have been edited out for DVD
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rome: Rise & Fall Of An Empire!, 22 Feb 2011
By 
Je Salter (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (6 DVD Gift Pack) (DVD)
This is very well packaged item and comes in a box set that you can use as a standalone item or you can take the individual dvd's out to go with the rest of your collection, it looks nice! That said it's about Rome the rise and fall of an Empire as the title suggests however....

Disc two details the Roman invasion of Britain; Caratacus who led the resistance is portrayed by some fat bloke who resembles more of a troll than the man who defied Rome for nearly 'ten years!' The Britons are said to have been influenced greatly by druids and wear little pretty patterns of woad as if they've just been to a Boots make-up department. Although there was druidic influence, they were very secretive and not a bunch of hippies as seen here and were in the far west on Anglesey (Mona) and in Wales primarily.

The Roman soldiers (the actors) in some instances look like something more akin to Cylons from Battlestar Galactica and have shields that wobble about and are often seen running loosely whilst attacking the enemy not in the formations they are famous for. The academics who tell the story are mainly from US Universities and have a very sickly annoying manner, I have never met an American like them and I have met and worked with many.

The first major confrontation between the forces of Caratacus thought to be at the River Medway isn't mentioned at all but the second battle at the River Thames is. Dio says that Celts were used to cross the river but here they are Roman auxilleries who swam across the river and then attacked the Britons horses. The Celtic cohorts that actually did this were destroyed by the Britons but that isn't mentioned.

The final battle of Caratacus is seen as a fight in woodland up a slight gradient, however, the reality was much different as it was the mountains of North Wales and the Romans lost a lot of men, struggled to scale the defences built by the Britons and still failed to capture him (and this was after nine years fighting). Very little is said of the Britons who were already 'Romanised' and actually assisted the invaders or for example coins bearing the heads of British Kings.

The invasion is said to have taken place in AD47 (it's actually printed on the dvd cover as well as in the commentary) but in reality it was AD43. Nothing is said of the trade between Britain and Rome prior to the invasion of which there was a lot or the Britons who had already defected to Rome including Adminius a brother of Caratacus.

There is a great deal of debate that Togodumnus who was actually the King of the Catuvellauni (another brother of Caratacus) actually fought against Caratacus and betrayed the country (it is believed that it was actually his men who swam the River Thames to kill the Britons horses) but there is no mention of this in this history. In conclusion this is a nice boxset but whether it is accurate is up for debate!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fall of Rome, 11 Nov 2009
By 
M. Seaward (UK) - See all my reviews
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if, like me, you have ever wondered: How could the Roman Empire fall? When its the most famous and advanced empire of ancient history? Then watch this!

The documentaries in this boxset take each event: from the birth of roman empire to its fall, looking at each major event and detailing how it propelled Rome into greatness and at the same time marked the Empries end.

From Ceasars march and conquest of Rome, to Claudis's invasion of Britainna, each documentary is educational and most of all gripping.

With the perfect mix between Historians talking about the events, and the events been dramatised...it made for a very enjoyable watch.

Highly recommended.
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