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Wednesday 27 March 2024

Peeling Back the Layers of Roman Power: Mary Beard Explores the Lives of Emperors in New BBC Documentary

In the grand tapestry of history, few figures loom as large as the Roman Emperor. Symbolizing absolute power and authority, these rulers of antiquity have fascinated and intrigued generations with their deeds, both heroic and tyrannical. Now, in an upcoming documentary set to air on BBC Two and iPlayer on April 8th at 9 pm, renowned classicist Mary Beard delves deep into the lives of these enigmatic leaders, promising viewers an intimate look behind the veil of Roman propaganda and myth.

How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius https://amzn.to/43yHjbY

Titled "Meet the Roman Emperor with Mary Beard," the one-hour special offers a captivating journey through the annals of Roman history. With her characteristic insight and scholarly rigor, Beard examines the ruthless exercise of power by emperors such as Augustus, Nero, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius. But she doesn't stop there; delving into the lesser-known corners of imperial history, Beard introduces audiences to figures like the paranoid Domitian, whose fear of assassination led him to line his walls with mirrors.

Beyond the glitz and glamour of imperial splendor, Beard sheds light on the more intimate aspects of emperors' lives, exploring their sexual habits, health concerns, and vulnerabilities. Drawing parallels to contemporary political intrigue, she invites viewers to ponder the parallels between the ancient world and the power dynamics of today's political landscape.

With the help of fellow classicist Silvia Orlandi, etiquette expert Elisa Motterle, and philosopher Angie Hobbs, Beard embarks on a journey through ancient ruins and palatial estates, uncovering hidden graffiti, decoding body language, and debating the philosophical musings of Marcus Aurelius.

Reflecting on the documentary, Mary Beard remarks, "We tend to fantasize about the absolute power of the Roman emperor... but should we be careful what we wish for? Should the Emperor actually inspire as much pity as envy?"

Simon Young, Head of History at BBC Factual Commissioning, emphasizes the timeliness of exploring Roman history in today's context. "From social media trends to museum exhibitions, ancient Rome is having a moment," he notes. "There is no-one better than Mary Beard to bring us up close and personal with Rome's all-powerful leaders."

Richard Bradley, Head of Lion Television, echoes this sentiment, highlighting the relevance of scrutinizing the Roman Emperors' exercise of absolute power in light of contemporary events.

"Meet the Roman Emperor with Mary Beard" promises to be a riveting exploration of power, ambition, and vulnerability in one of history's most storied civilizations. Don't miss the chance to journey back in time and uncover the truth behind the myths with Mary Beard as your guide.

The documentary is commissioned by Jack Bootle, Head of Commissioning, Specialist Factual, and is made by Lion TV. Directed by Russell Barnes and produced by Helena Hunt, with executive producers Sarah Sarkhel and Richard Bradley, the program is set to captivate audiences with its revelatory insights into the lives of ancient Rome's most powerful rulers.

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