The Roman Empire in the First Century | 2000
Documentary about the Roman Empire in the 1st Century A.D. and the lasting legacies of Emperors Caesar Augustus, Caligula, Claudius and Nero.<P>Born in times of crisis amid civil war, Caesar Augustus is capable of brutal violence and tender compassion. He is influential, forging the image of Roman grandeur that endures to this day. But those who cross Augustus -- his rivals Marc Antony and Cleopatra; the love poet, Ovid; even his own daughter, Julia -- face dire consequences.<P>In the year 14 A.D., Caesar Augustus dies and the empire stands at a crossroads. A reluctant new emperor, Tiberius, confronts mutiny and intrigue. His decline from ruler to reclusive despot ushers in one of the most notorious rulers of the ancient world -- Caligula. In Judea, a charismatic leader named Jesus challenges the religious and political establishment. The local furor barely touches Rome, but the legacy of Jesus will one day engulf the empire.<P>In the aftermath of Caligula's madness, Claudius, the most unlikely member of the imperial family, rises to become one of the greatest emperors of the Roman empire, only to fall victim to a brutally ambitious wife. A principled philosopher named Seneca finds himself compromised as tutor to the erratic young Emperor Nero. In Britain, a warrior queen named Boudicca battles Roman legions, and from Judea, a revolutionary named Paul begins spreading the words of Jesus across Roman lands. Back in the capital, Nero's disastrous rule shakes the empire to its foundation. Rome nearly burns to the ground.<P>With Nero's death, the dynasty of Augustus comes to an end. Once again, the empire faces an uncertain future. Rival generals fight for supremacy in the streets of Rome. A new dynasty brings another tyrant to the throne. Mount Vesuvius erupts, burying Pompeii and thousands of people beneath a torrent of ash and mud. As the first century draws to a close, the Emperor Trajan expands the empire to its greatest geographic extent and offers new prosperity to a greater number of citizens.