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4.2 out of 5 stars
85
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 31 July 2015
Basically a series in documentary form. Nevertheless, highly enjoyable for lovers of history. Great.
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on 7 August 2015
very informative well crafted story telling of very historical periods a must for roman enthusiasts
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VINE VOICEon 3 November 2006
A while ago I wrote in my review of "Rome", that it was the sort of ambitious historical epic that didn't get commissioned anymore .....Just before a slew of ambitious historical epics hit the small screen. Not one of my more perspicacious comments that one and chuck a big dust sheet over my shoulder and call me Emperor here's another one.

"Ancient Rome: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire" is a six part series taking in pivotal moments in the history of the Roman Empire from it's inception to it's eventual decline and downfall -a period covering nearly 500 years. With clever use of location (Bulgaria, Greece and Tunisia), live battle sequences and some sterling CGI work the series continues televisions fascination with this period of history .Fascinating though it is I cant help feeling producers should turn their attention elsewhere in future .History has an enormous scope and much of it would make for equally compelling viewing (The English Civil War, the Viking invasions or The Boer War for instance)

This BBC commissioned this series on the basis it's based on irreducible historic fact or historians of the day interpretation and meticulous research of it so each episode as well as being a drama has authoritative narration .I think this works fine, though others will, in probability, resent this as an idiot guide and some will notice one or twin inaccuracies. If watched in their original running order the chronology is all over the place but on DVD you can of course watch it in any order you wish.

The opening episode concentrates on Nero( played superbly by Michael Sheen who of course has played Tony Blair so its obvious tyrannical deluded despots come naturally to him) and refutes the perception that he fiddled while Rome burnt(64BC) though he did end up mad as a balloon and was the last of The Julio -Claudians. Sean Pertwee is Caesar, who triumphed over Carthage, bringing an end to the Punic wars but significantly played a crucial role in the transformation from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire. (49BC)We see how Augustus deluded Roman society into thinking they had re- adopted the old republic when in fact he had assimilated a new political system. (27BC on) The most interesting instalment takes in the revolt in Judea (66AD) and how Vespasian (Peter Firth) was recalled from exile to quench the rebellion leading to his eventual succession to Emperor. In 374AD Constantine (David Threlfall) became sole Emperor after the Empire had been split between East and West and was considered the first Christian Emperor as he marched under the Christian banner labarum, though he only converted on his death bed. The final episode concentrates on the part Odeca, King of the Black Sea tribe the Vandals, had to play in the final years of the Empire, and how it took Roman betrayal by the Emperor Honorius after he had promised him somewhere to settle ,for him to march on Rome and sack the City.

Informative, with high production values this is an admirable project, though it is let down by some less than convincing acting and some eccentric casting. All in all though it, s a step in the right direction for I would much rather watch this, however flawed, than another risible soapy drama or reality based drivel.
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on 4 January 2012
It looks like they have already run out of money in the pre production phase. The acting is variable, there is very little back story before your are catapualted into the reign of an emperor and the 'Empire' didn't just start with Caesar. As one revwiewer writes theres a lot more to it than this and I personally think this a missed oppurtunity. I'm concerned that younger viewers, interested in the period, might think that this all happened in direct sequence.

Where on earth is Augustus? Hadrian? Dioclitian? Vespasian's actual rule was more influential than his defeat of the rebellion under Nero, and as its the BBC Claudius's earlier invasion of Britain might have deserved a mention. Nero's importance is overstated although its always worth a laugh but good to see Constantine getting a run out for once. As someone has pointed out Rome didn't end with the sacking of the city - it transmogrified over centuries.

OK if you can pick it up for a couple of quid, its no disgrace but could have been done better. The special effects and battle scenes are a bit overatted as well. I might be wrong but there looked like a lot of re-enactment guys in there. The last episode reminded me of Gettysburg.
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on 22 July 2014
This is a sequence of docu-dramas on six major events that took place during the Roman Republic and later Empire.

The scripts, acting and sheer sense of superpower drama, make this a classically great BBC series. All six episodes are highly watchable though my favourites are the stories of the revolutionary career of Tiberius Gracchus following the fall of Carthage, the mainly Roman angle on the Jewish War conducted by Vespasian and Titus (both played superbly) and the epoch-making decision of the emperor Constantine to declare Rome a Christian empire

My only complaint is that the BBC have not commissioned a further series. But there is still time!
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on 24 February 2007
I was disappointed with this series. Personally I find the Roman Republic a lot more interesting than Imperial rome, but that's just me. As a result I learned a lot about some of the emperors that were depicted in this series. But I completely disagree that the 6 depicted men were the most important in Roman history.

Certainly on depicting the Roman republic they did a poor job...

I have to disagree with the depiction of Julius Caesar as a petty man. His men absolutely loved him and literally were willing to die for him, he was not only a brilliant general, but he also was an accomplished writer and public speaker.

But what about those other brilliant generals of the Roman republic ?

Omitting Gaius Marius for instance who reformed the Roman army and was consul of Rome a staggering 7 times !? It's the reforms of Gauis Marius which ultimately led to the fall of the republic (armies were now loyal to the general that commanded them and not to the state). Marius must have had an incredible personality. (he got the young Julius Caesar, his nephew, condemned to death)

Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus (maior) - don't you love those names ? Colorfull Roman consuls like Marcus Licinius Crassus Dives (who defeated spartacus) - The Scrooge McDuck from antiquity .

Basically trying to talk about a 1000 years of history in just 6 episodes is a silly endeavour. It's entertaining, but that shouldn't be the main issue when dealing with history. Hollywood can more than handle the mis-representation of history all on it's own...
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on 12 January 2007
Most things were said from other reviwers which were correct. Really this was a fantastic series BUT as someone else pointed out it ended very quickly for the empire did not collapsed in the 5th or in the 6th century and this was mentioned at the end of the series so my question is why they didn't do more episodes covering the attila period, aetius, ricimer, romulus, odoacer, and the 6th century roman emperors of new rome who reconquered rome ? (Justinian)

In my opinion after the events of 476 (where odoacer united the empire by axcepting zeno as a sole emperor) the series should continue AT LEAST until the 800 AD events (coronation of charlomagne as roman emperor) under the title NEW ROME, THE RISE AND FALL OF THE EMPIRE (330-1453 AD).

Don't u think ?
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on 8 May 2015
good service great film with good historical accuracy.
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VINE VOICEon 1 March 2007
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. The BBC did not broadcast the series in order (like they did on Discovery). This p-eed off a few people.

I give it 5 stars as it was factually accurate and based on fairly extensive historical research - that in todays TV is a good thing. The series reveals how the greed, lust and ambition of men like Caesar, Nero and Constantine shaped the Roman Empire (plus ca chnge with todays politics!).

With the help if CGi the series did allow the viewer to witness great battles, rivalries, rebellions and momentous achievements of that time and that was great, if a little " been there done that" ie with the effects. if you are interested in the Romans then this can't fail.
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on 23 May 2011
All you need to know about Caligula, Ceasar,Nero and the others. Good production values and acting. Nero was not such a bad bloke after all. They all thought they were gods. But well researched and intelligently put together.
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