This series has everything - great characters, superb acting, wonderful sets. It's just a pity the BBC couldn't sustain the co-funding for more than these two wonderful series (hence time passes more quickly in series two). The series does a great job of painting a picture of Roman life lived by Roman values - values often opposed and in stark contrast to the Judo-Christian ideas most in the West live by today. Hence their attitudes to life, death and sex are completely different. These are alien people in a sense, who lived by a religion (we call myth) that was as alive as Hinduism and Judaism (who were also contemporary). I loved the parallels with India (the way women dress, the idols, the markets and bright colours). I went there in the past and never really considered Rome could have been like those bustling streets in temple towns (particularly in the south). However, this series really helps you see the Romans from a new perspective. That really is some achievement.