Video Transcript

(music plays)

Mary Beard is in her sixties, with long slightly wavy white hair. She wears black leggings, a black dress and a burgundy and black jacket.

Mary walks along a trail.

She says THE STORY OF
THE ROMAN EMPIRE OPENS WITH A
FAIRY TALE.
ONCE UPON A TIME, NOT FAR FROM
HERE, A PRINCESS GAVE BIRTH TO
TWIN SONS.
THE KING, HER WICKED UNCLE,
FEARING THAT THE BOYS WOULD
ONE DAY BECOME HIS RIVALS,
ORDERED HIS FAITHFUL SERVANTS
TO THROW THEM INTO THE RIVER.
AS IT WAS IN FLOOD, THEY JUST
LEFT THEM IN A BASKET AT THE
WATER'S EDGE FROM WHERE THEY
FLOATED DOWNSTREAM.
RESCUED ON THE BANK BY A
MOTHER WOLF WHO SUCKLED THEM,
THEY WERE LATER FOUND BY A
LOCAL SHEPHERD WHO REARED THEM
AS HIS OWN.
THEIR NAMES WERE ROMULUS AND
REMUS.
AND THEY WENT ON TO FOUND
ROME.

(music plays)

Aerial views show images of Rome.

Mary says THIS SMALL, ORDINARY TOWN IN
THE MIDDLE OF ITALY BECAME THE
CENTRE OF AN EMPIRE.
STRETCHING FROM THE FRINGES OF
THE SAHARA, TO THE DAMP MOOR
LANDS OF NORTHERN BRITAIN.
FROM SPAIN TO ISRAEL.
THE NILE TO THE RHINE.
IT HAS FRAMED THE GEOGRAPHY OF
MODERN EUROPE AND DEFINED THE
WAY WE THINK OF EMPIRE NOW,
TRANSFORMING THE WESTERN WORLD
THROUGH REVOLUTIONS IN TRADE...

She holds an antique red pot and says THIS IS ONE OF THE FIRST
EXAMPLES OF GLOBALIZATION.

Fast clips show images of olive fields.

She says AGRICULTURE...
JUST OLIVES, OLIVES, AND MORE
DAMN OLIVES.
ART, LAW, AND ARCHITECTURE.

She walks alongside a double arched aqueduct and says THIS IS WHERE EVEN I GET A BIT
GOBSMACKED BY ROMAN
ENGINEERING.

(music plays)

Mary says THERE ARE PLENTY OF CONQUESTS
AND DEFEATS, TOO.
BATTLES AND BUTCHERY.
BUT THERE ARE ALSO BIGGER
QUESTIONS.
HOW DID IT WORK?
WHAT DIFFERENCE DID IT MAKE?
WHY DID THE EMPIRE EVENTUALLY
FALL?
AND HOW DID IT ALL COME ABOUT
IN THE FIRST PLACE?
WAS IT AMBITION?
WAS IT JUST LUCK?
IF YOU REALLY WANT TO ANSWER
THAT QUESTION, WE HAVE TO GO
BACK TO WHAT THE ROMANS
THEMSELVES SAID ABOUT IT.
TO THEIR DOUBTS, THEIR
DEBATES, AND THEIR
CONVERSATIONS.
BECAUSE THEY WONDERED JUST AS
MUCH AS WE DO ABOUT WHAT SET
THEM APART.

(music plays)

A clip shows images of the Coliseum.

The title of the show appears. It reads "Rome: Empire without limit. With Mary Beard."

Mary says IT'S ON THE APPIAN WAY, ONE OF
THE MAIN ROADS OUT OF ROME
GOING SOUTH DEEP INTO ITALY
THAT WE FIRST GET A CLEAR
GLIMPSE INTO THE LIVES OF THE
EARLY ROMANS.

She enters a gate and a man greets her in Italian.

She says BUONA SERA.

Mary says A PERIOD LONG BEFORE THE
MARBLE COLUMNS AND THE
COLISEUM, AND ONE THAT'S OFTEN
OVERLOOKED.

The caption changes to "Mary Beard. Newnham College, University of Cambridge."

She stands outside a tomb and says THIS TOMB WAS BUILT 500 YEARS
AFTER THE CITY WAS FOUNDED.
IT'S A VERY LONG WAY FROM
ROMULUS.
BUT WHAT'S WRITTEN HERE TELLS
US FOR THE FIRST TIME WHAT SOME
ROMANS FELT AND THOUGHT, WHAT
THEIR MINDSET WAS.
IN A WAY, WHAT WE REALLY KNOW
ABOUT THE ROMANS STARTS HERE.

(music plays)

She enters the tomb and says THIS ISN'T ROME AS WE NOW
IMAGINE IT, BUT IT IS THE
GRANDEST THING THEY COULD DO
AT THE TIME.
BACK THEN, IT WAS NEW.
THIS IS THE TOMBSTONE OF THE
FIRST MAN TO BE BURIED HERE.
SCIPIO BARBATUS.
THAT MEANS BEARDY SCIPIO.
AND IT TELLS US A BIT ABOUT
HIS EXCELLENT QUALITIES.
HE IS...
[speaking Latin]
HE'S A STRONG, BRAVE MAN,
BUT HE'S CLEVER.
HE'S WISE.
THIS IS QUITE STRANGE.
IT SAYS HIS APPEARANCE WAS
EQUAL TO HIS VIRTUS.
SO HIS APPEARANCE WAS AS GOOD
AS HIS VIRTUE.
HE REALLY LOOKED THE PART.
HE CUT THE DASH.
AND IT ENDS WITH HIS
CONQUESTS.
HE SWAGGET ON THE LUCANUM.
HE SUPPRESSED THE WHOLE OF
LUCANIA, WHICH IS A REGION IN
SOUTH ITALY...
[speaking Latin]
AND HE TOOK HOSTAGES.
SO IT'S VERY EASY TO SEE WHAT
THESE PEOPLE'S PRIORITIES
WERE.
BUT IT'S KIND OF MORE THAN
THAT.
BECAUSE IN SOME WAYS, THIS IS
JUST A FEW LINES OF AN
EPITAPH, BUT IN ANOTHER WAY,
THIS IS THE FIRST SHORT
SURVIVING HISTORICAL NARRATIVE
FROM ANY ROMAN THAT WE HAVE.
THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF ROMAN
HISTORY WRITING.
IT MIGHT BE 500 YEARS AFTER
THE AGE OF THE FOUNDERS, BUT
THIS IS ACTUALLY THE FIRST
PLACE WHERE WE CAN REALLY SEE
THE ROMANS.
WE GET A VERY VIVID PICTURE OF
A PEOPLE COMMITTED TO
CONQUEST, AND TO THE GLORY
THAT CAME WITH MILITARY
VICTORY.
BUT THAT'S ACTUALLY LIKE
EVERYONE ELSE AROUND THEM.
SO WHAT SET THE ROMANS APART?
WITH SO LITTLE DIRECT
EVIDENCE, THE BEST PLACE TO
LOOK FOR THE ANSWER IS IN THE
STORIES THAT THEY TOLD AND
THEIR OWN ELABORATE
SPECULATIONS ON THE CITY'S
ORIGINS.
AND IN PARTICULAR, IN THE
MYTHICAL STORY OF ROMULUS AND
REMUS, THE BROTHERS SUCKLED
BY A WOLF.
IT WAS CONTINUALLY TOLD AND
RETOLD, AND IT CONTAINED A
MESSAGE ABOUT ROME'S CONQUESTS
AND INTERNAL WARS.
THERE'S ACTUALLY A LITTLE MORE
ROMAN HISTORY IN THE MYTH.

She stands next to the statue of the wolf feeding Romulus and Remus.

Mary says IT'D BE EASY TO DISMISS
THE STORY OF ROMULUS AND REMUS
AS IF IT WAS JUST A FAIRY
TALE, JUST A MYTH.
AND IT CERTAINLY ISN'T HISTORY
IN OUR TERMS.
BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT IT
DOESN'T HAVE A LOT TO TELL US
ABOUT HOW THE ROMANS THOUGHT
ABOUT THEMSELVES, WHAT THEIR
CULTURAL PRIORITIES AND
ANXIETIES WERE.
AND WHY A WOLF?
THE STORY WOULDN'T HAVE
BEEN THE SAME IF IT HAD BEEN
A COW OR A SHEEP.
IT WAS THE FACT THEY WERE
RESCUED BY A FEROCIOUS PREDATOR
THAT REVEALED THE DESTINY OF
THE TWINS.
SOME ROMANS QUESTIONED THE
DETAIL.
THE LATIN FOR WOLF, LUPA, ALSO
MEANS PROSTITUTE.
SO WAS IT ACTUALLY A
PROSTITUTE WHO CAME TO THEIR
RESCUE?
BUT IN BROAD TERMS, THEY
BELIEVE THAT THE TALE WAS
TRUE.
IN FACT, WHEN LATER THEY CAME
TO INSCRIBE IN THE FORUM A
LIST OF THE NAMES OF ALL THOSE
GENERALS WHO HAD SCORED THE
BIGGEST OR BLOODIEST VICTORIES
FOR ROME, PEOPLE LIKE THE
SCIPIOS, WHO DID THEY START
WITH LIST WITH?
ROMULUS.

(music plays)

Mary says ONE PERSON WHO'S NOT ON THE
LIST IS ROMULUS' TWIN BROTHER,
REMUS BECAUSE IT IS SAID THEY
HAD A MASSIVE ROW OVER WHERE
EXACTLY TO ESTABLISH THE NEW
TOWN.
IT ENDED UP WITH ROMULUS
MURDERING HIS TWIN.
AN ACT WHICH REFLECTED THE
BLOODY CIVIL WARS THAT WOULD
LATER BLIGHT THE POLITICS OF
ROME.
IT MUST BE ONE OF THE ODDEST
FOUNDATION STORIES IN THE
WHOLE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.
NOT ONLY DOES IT INVOLVE A
PAIR OF TWINS, NOT A SINGLE
FOUNDER, BUT THEN, ONE OF THE
TWINS GOES AND KILLS THE
OTHER.
THAT'S TO SAY FRATRICIDE LAY
AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE
ROMAN STORY.
BROTHER KILLING BROTHER IS
ESTABLISHING HIS NEW
SETTLEMENT ON THE PALATINE
HILL, ROMULUS BECAME ITS SOLE
RULER.
ROMULUS' FIRST PROBLEM WAS THAT
HE HAD HARDLY ANY CITIZENS FOR
HIS NEW CITY, SO HE DECLARED
IT AN ASYLUM, AND HE WELCOMED
CRIMINALS, RUNAWAY SLAVES, THE
DISPOSSESSED AND THE DOWN AND
OUT FROM THE WHOLE OF ITALY.
IT'S ANOTHER STRANGE ASPECT TO
THE TALE.
WHEREAS THE AVERAGE ANCIENT
CITY LIKED TO IMAGINE ITS
ORIGINAL INHABITANTS HAD
SPRUNG MIRACULOUSLY FROM THE
SOIL OF THE HOMELAND, THE
ROMANS IMAGINED THAT THEIR
CITY HAD ORIGINALLY BEEN A
CITY OF ASYLUM SEEKERS.
IT WAS AN ATTEMPT TO GIVE A
MYTHIC DIMENSION TO ONE OF
ROME'S LATER MOST DISTINCTIVE
CHARACTERISTICS.
THAT IT NOT ONLY WELCOMED
OUTSIDERS, BUT THAT EVENTUALLY
IT SPREAD ROMAN CITIZENSHIP
THROUGHOUT THE EMPIRE.
ROMULUS' NEXT PROBLEM WAS HE
HAD NO WOMEN, AND THEREFORE,
HIS CITY HAD NO FUTURE.
BUT NONE OF THE PEOPLE IN THE
NEIGHBOURING TOWNS WERE
PREPARED TO GIVE THEIR
DAUGHTERS TO BE ROMAN WIVES.
THEY WERE ACTUALLY NASTILY
INSULTING, AND MADE NO SECRET
OF THE FACT THAT THEY DIDN'T
THINK A BAND OF RUNAWAYS WAS
GREAT HUSBAND MATERIAL.
SO ROMULUS HAD TO RESORT TO A
TRICK.

(music plays)

Mary says SO THE STORY GOES, ROMULUS
INVITED HIS NEIGHBOURS, THE
SABINES TO A RELIGIOUS
FESTIVAL.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE
PROCEEDINGS, HE GAVE A SIGNAL
FOR HIS MEN TO ABDUCT ALL THE
YOUNG WOMEN AMONG THE
VISITORS AND TO CARRY THEM
OFF AS THEIR WIVES.

She stands next to a sculpture in a museum and says THIS IS THE FAMOUS RAPE OF THE
SABINE WOMEN.
AND IT'S AN ALMOST
UNCOMFORTABLY FRANK IMAGE.
THIS WOMAN HERE HAS BEEN
CAPTURED, AND SHE'S TRYING TO
GET AWAY, BUT SHE'S NOT GOING
TO MAKE IT.
THIS ONE HAS ALREADY
COLLAPSED.
AND ANOTHER IS TRYING TO FLEE,
BUT IT'S HOPELESS.
THE RAPE MIGHT HAVE BEEN A
RESPONSE TO A TERRIBLE ROMAN
HUMILIATION, BUT IT WAS STILL
A VIOLENT ASSAULT.
THESE WOMEN ARE NOT WILLING;
THEY'RE VICTIMS.
IT'S AN INSTANT THAT THE
ROMANS DISCUSSED AND DEBATED
AND DISPLAYED EVER AFTER.
SOME OF ROME'S ENEMIES SAID
THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY TYPICAL
ROMAN BEHAVIOUR.
IF THEY WANTED SOMETHING, THEY
JUST WENT OUT AND GRABBED IT.


(music plays)

Mary says IN THE STORY, THE FAMILIES OF
THE SABINE WOMEN, AS YOU'D
EXPECT, HIT BACK AT THE ROMANS
IN WHAT WOULD BE ROME'S FIRST
WAR, AND FIRST VICTORY.
WHICH WAS COMMEMORATED IN A
RATHER STRANGE MONUMENT AT THE
HEART OF THE CITY.

She stands next to a monument and says MOST PEOPLE WALK STRAIGHT PAST
HERE, BUT IT'S WHERE THE
ROMANS WERE CONVINCED THAT THE
HEART OF THAT BATTLE TOOK
PLACE, IN WHAT BECAME THE
FORUM, BUT WHAT WAS THEN NOT
MUCH MORE THAN A SWAMP.
AND THEY MARKED THE SPOT WHERE
ONE OF ROME'S FIRST ENEMIES
FELL TO HIS DEATH.
THIS WAS JUST ONE OF A SERIES
OF MONUMENTS THAT IMPRINTED
THE ORIGINS OF ROME ONTO THE
FACE OF THE LATEST CITY.
IF YOU WANTED, YOU COULD GO UP
INTO THE PALATINE HILL AND SEE
WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE
HUT OF ROMULUS HIMSELF.
STILL A TOURIST ATTRACTION IN
THE 4th CENTURY A.D.
THE MYTHS OF ROME WERE THERE
FOR ALL TO SEE, AND WITH THEM,
THE PROBLEMS OF BEING ROMAN...
FRATRICIDE, RAPE, VIOLENCE,
AND CONSTANT CONFLICT.
ROME AT THE BEGINNING WAS
RULED BY KINGS.
ROMULUS AND SIX OTHERS TO
FOLLOW.
BUT THE CITIZENS EVENTUALLY
REJECTED WHAT THEY'D COME TO
SEE AS A TYRANNY AND
ESTABLISHED A KIND OF
DEMOCRACY IN WHICH EVERY YEAR,
THE PEOPLE ELECTED OFFICIALS
TO GOVERN THE CITY AND FIGHT
ITS WARS.
AND SOON AFTER THAT, THERE
WERE SIGNS THAT ROME WAS
BEGINNING TO GROW.
WHY IS IT THAT AN ORDINARY
LITTLE TOWN BY THE TIBER
BECAME SOMETHING MUCH, MUCH
BIGGER THAN THAT?
THE HONEST TRUTH IS WE DON'T
KNOW WHY IT HAPPENED.
BUT WE DO KNOW WHEN.
WE CAN ALMOST TOUCH IT.
ALMOST.

She jumps to touch a wall and says HA!
BECAUSE IN THE EARLY 4th
CENTURY B.C., THE ROMANS BUILT
THIS MASSIVE CITY WALL AROUND
THEIR TOWN.
NOW, THERE'S MORE TO THIS THAN
JUST A FENCE.
THIS IS A BIG STATEMENT THAT
ROME HAS ARRIVED.
AND EVEN MORE INTERESTING, A
LOT OF THE STONE THEY USED TO
BUILD IT CAME FROM THE
TERRITORY OF A LITTLE TOWN A
FEW MILES UP THE ROAD THAT
THEY'D JUST TAKEN OVER.
THIS IS ONE OF THE FIRST HINTS
OF ROMAN EXPANSION.
ROME'S GROWTH DIDN'T STOP AT
ITS WALLS, IT EXPANDED BEYOND
THEM DEEP INTO THE ITALIAN
PENINSULA.
WE SHOULDN'T IMAGINE ROMANS
CROWDING AROUND MAPS PLOTTING
WORLD DOMINATION.
FOR A START, THEY DIDN'T HAVE
MAPS.
AND IN ANY CASE, THEY WEREN'T
ANY MORE MILITARISTIC THAN
THEIR NEIGHBOURS.
EARLY ITALY WAS A VIOLENT
PLACE.
SO THE QUESTION ISN'T WHY THEY
WENT TO WAR, BUT WHY THEY WENT
ON WINNING.
ON THE TRADITIONAL PATTERN OF
WARFARE, TO PUT IT A BIT
CRUDELY, EVERY YEAR, THE LADS
OF ONE PLACE WOULD GO OUT AND
DO OVER A NEIGHBOURING TOWN,
AND IF THEY HIT LUCKY, THEY'D
COME BACK WITH SLAVES AND
CATTLE.
IT WASN'T REALLY ORGANIZED
WARFARE; IT WAS GLORIFIED
RAIDING.
WHAT THE ROMANS DID WAS
ESTABLISH PERMANENT
RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE PEOPLE
THEY BEAT.
OF COURSE THEY CAME BACK WITH
SLAVES AND CATTLE, BUT THEY
DEMANDED FOR THE FUTURE THAT
THE DEFEATED TOWNS SHOULD
PROVIDE TROOPS FOR THE ROMAN
ARMY.
AND THAT CUMULATIVELY GAVE
THEM A HUGE ADVANTAGE.
BECAUSE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD,
IT WASN'T HIGH-TECH MILITARY
HARDWARE THAT COUNTED, IT WAS
HOW MANY BOOTS YOU COULD GET
ON THE GROUND.
AS A CITY ON ITS OWN, ROME
COULD NEVER HAVE DOMINATED THE
WHOLE OF ITALY.
WHAT'S CRUCIAL IS THE
RELATIONSHIP THEY FORMED WITH
OTHER PEOPLE.
ROME NOT ONLY CONQUERED, BUT
IT INCORPORATED ITS ENEMIES,
AND THAT'S WHAT'S UNIQUE.
BY THE 3rd CENTURY B.C., ROME
COULD CALL UPON MORE THAN
700,000 SOLDIERS.
AND HOW THEY SECURED THAT
MANPOWER CAN BE SEEN ON THE
CITY'S FIRST GOLD COINS.
JONATHAN WILLIAMS IS THE
DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE BRITISH
MUSEUM.
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
I CAN READ ROMA, ROME
UNDERNEATH, BUT IT'S A VERY
COMPLICATED SCENE ABOVE THAT
I CAN'T QUITE WORK OUT.

Mary examines old Roman coins with Jonathan Williams.

Jonathan is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short thinning brown hair. He wears glasses, a gray suit, white shirt and blue tie.

Jonathan says OKAY, SO WHAT
WE'VE GOT HERE IS, WE'VE GOT A
COUPLE OF MEN STANDING EITHER
SIDE OF ANOTHER MAN WHO SEEMS
TO BE KNEELING DOWN HOLDING
SOMETHING IN HIS ARMS.
AND WHAT HE'S HOLDING IS A
PIG, AN UPTURNED PIG.
NOW, THIS IS A PRETTY STRANGE
SCENE TO US, BUT ANY ROMAN
WOULD HAVE KNOWN WHAT THIS WAS
MEANT TO REPRESENT.
IT'S A SCENE OF OATH TAKING,
PROMISES BEING GIVEN AND
ACCEPTED BETWEEN TWO SIDES.
AND THIS IS HOW THE ROMANS
DID IT.
STRANGE TO US, BUT IT'S
CLEARLY A KIND OF MEANINGFUL
CEREMONY FOR YOUR ROMANS.
SOME PEOPLE THINK THIS MIGHT
BE A MYTHOLOGICAL SCENE, THE
OATH BEING TAKEN BY ROMULUS,
THE FIRST KING OF THE ROMANS,
TOGETHER WITH THE SABINES, ONE
OF THE EARLIEST ALLIANCES THE
ROMANS MADE WITH ONE OF THEIR
ALLIES.
BUT IT COULD MORE GENERALLY
JUST BE A REFERENCE TO THAT
WHOLE SYSTEM OF ALLIANCES
BETWEEN THE ROMANS AND ALL THE
OTHER PEOPLES OF ITALY THAT
WERE SO IMPORTANT IN THE
FOUNDATION OF THE WAYS IN
WHICH THE ROMANS CAME TO
DOMINATE AND RULE THE WHOLE OF
THE ITALIAN PENINSULA.

Mary says SO WHAT THIS COIN IS
DOING, IN A SENSE, IS KIND OF,
IT'S BROADCASTING, SORT OF
CREATING AN IMAGE OF ROME AS
THE CENTRE OF THESE ALLIANCES
WITH OTHER PEOPLES.

Jonathan says ABSOLUTELY, YES.
IT'S BROADCASTING MESSAGES TO
THE ALLIES, BUT ALSO TO THE
ROMANS THEMSELVES ABOUT HOW
FAITHFUL WE ARE.
WE'RE GOOD, SOLID, LOYAL
ALLIES, BUT YOU BETTER STICK
WITH US BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT
TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU
SPLIT ON US.

(music plays)

An animated map shows the Roman Empire expansion across Italy and the location of Carthage.

Mary says ROME'S EXPANSION WAS
MORE IMPROVISED THAN PLANNED.
FROM THE SMALL WALLED TOWN
THROUGH A PATCHWORK OF
ALLIANCES WITH FRIENDS AND
CONQUERED FOES, ROME
CONTROLLED MOST OF ITALY.
AND FROM THAT, THE ROMANS SOON
CAME INTO CONFLICT WITH THE
OTHER GREAT SUPERPOWER OF THE
DAY, THE CITY OF CARTHAGE.

The caption changes to "Sicily."

Mary says BECAUSE THERE WAS ACTUALLY
ANOTHER EMPIRE OUT THERE TO
RIVAL ROME.
THE ROMANS NETWORK OF
ALLIANCES PUT PRESSURE ON THEM
TO INTERVENE IN SUPPORT OF
FRIENDS AND ALLIES FURTHER AND
FURTHER AFIELD.
IT'S A BIT LIKE WHAT HAPPENS
TO MODERN SUPERPOWERS.
ONE PARTICULAR REQUEST FOR
HELP HAD DEFINING
CONSEQUENCES.
DURING A DISPUTE BETWEEN TWO
SICILIAN TOWNS, DIFFERENT
GROUPS APPEALED TO ROME AND TO
CARTHAGE.
AFTER INTENSE DEBATE IF ROME
BETWEEN THOSE SPOILING FOR A
FIGHT AND THOSE WHO THOUGHT
ROME WAS FAR BETTER OFF OUT OF
IT, THE ROMANS DECIDED TO GO IN.
AND THAT WAS HOW ROME AND
CARTHAGE FIRST CAME FACE TO
FACE IN CONFLICT.

(music plays)

Mary gets on a boat and says ACROSS A NARROW STRIP OF
WATER, THE ISLAND OF SICILY,
MORE GREEK THAN ITALIAN,
BECAME THE SETTING OF ROME'S
FIRST OVERSEAS WAR.
A NAVAL WAR AGAINST THE
WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN'S MOST
POWERFUL SEAFARING STATE.
THE ROMANS HADN'T HAD OR
NEEDED FIGHTING SHIPS BEFORE.
THE STORY GOES THAT WHAT THEY
DID IS FIND A CARTHAGINIAN
SHIP AND COPY IT OVER AND OVER
AGAIN.
IT WAS A BIG TURNING POINT,
AND IN 241 B.C., THESE WATERS
WERE CROWDED WITH THE
DREADNOUGHTS OF THE ANCIENT
WORLD FIGHTING IT OUT IN A
FINAL, MESSY BATTLE.

Jeff Royal is in his forties, clean-shaven and with short straight light brown hair. He wears glasses and a black polo T-shirt.

Jeff says over the radio HEY, GEORGE, WE ACTUALLY
FOUND IT.

George says ALL RIGHT.

Jeff says IT'S ANOTHER AMPHORA.

Mary says IT'S THE WRECKAGE
FROM THIS BATTLE THAT MARINE
ARCHAEOLOGIST JEFF ROYAL AND
HIS TEAM HAVE BEEN DISCOVERING
AND RAISING FROM THE SEABED.
IT'S REALLY QUITE DIFFICULT TO
MAKE SENSE OF THIS.
I'VE BEEN LOOKING AT IT SO
HARD, AND I KEEP THINKING
EVERY LITTLE ROCK ON THE BED
OF THE SEA IS SOME BIT OF
ROMAN OR CARTHAGINIAN MILITARY
EQUIPMENT.
BUT WHEN YOU ACTUALLY COME
ACROSS ONE OF THESE AMPHORA
JUST LYING THERE, DETRITUS OF
THE BATTLE, IT REALLY HITS YOU
IN THE FACE.
YOU'RE SEEING IT LITERALLY AS
IT FELL, AS IT WERE, WITH YOUR
OWN EYES.
IT'S QUITE EXTRAORDINARY.
WHAT'S THE MOST MEMORABLE
THING YOU'VE COME ACROSS LIKE
THIS?

Jeff says THE RAMS ARE ALWAYS
VERY MEMORABLE BECAUSE IT'S A
REALLY BIG DEAL TO HAVE FOUND
THEM, AND IT WAS ONE OF THE
OBJECTIVES OF THE SURVEY.
AND, OF COURSE, YEAH, WHEN WE
SEE THEM, IT'S ALWAYS
EXCITING.

Mary says BUILT INTO THE SHIPS'
BOWS, THESE RAMS DID EXACTLY
THAT... RAMMED THE ENEMY
VESSELS.

Jeff says WHAT WE'VE SEEN FROM
THE EVIDENCE IS OBVIOUSLY
THERE WAS A LOT OF DESTRUCTION
AT SEA LEVEL OR SEA SURFACE
LEVEL.
SO ALL OF THAT IS SPREAD OUT.
THE HELMETS, THE RAMS, THE
RAMS THEMSELVES ALL HAVE
FRONTAL DAMAGE.
NOW YOU'VE GOT IS 11 RAMS, 10
FROM THIS SITE...

Mary says SO THEY'RE ACTUALLY
GOING HEAD TO HEAD.

Jeff says OR HITTING SOMETHING.

Mary says BASICALLY, YOU JUST
RUN INTO EACH OTHER.
IT'S LIKE KIND OF THE DODGEMS
WITHOUT THE DODGE.

Jeff says YEAH.
YOUR SIGHT LINES AT SEA, AND
THE SPEEDS THEY WOULD HAVE
BEEN GOING, YOU HAD HOUR AND A
HALF, HOUR AND 45, NEARLY TWO
HOURS, TO SEE THAT THIS WAS
GOING TO HAPPEN.

Mary says YOU'VE GOT TIME TO
CHANGE YOUR MIND.

Jeff says YEAH.

Mary says AND IF YOU DON'T
CHANGE YOUR MIND, AND YOU
LOSE, EVERYONE ON THE SHIP IS
DEAD.

Jeff says YEAH.

(music plays)

Mary says AND IT'S THANKS TO
JEFF'S WORK THAT I CAN GET MY
HANDS ON SOME OF THE ACTUAL
REMAINS OF THIS BATTLE.
THIS EXTRAORDINARY OBJECT IS
ONE OF THE BRONZE RAMS THAT
WOULD HAVE BEEN FITTED TO THE
FRONT OF THE SHIPS UNDERNEATH
THE WATERLINE.
THIS ONE CLEARLY DID PIERCE AN
ENEMY SHIP BECAUSE PART OF A
CARTHAGINIAN PLANK IS STILL
FIXED TO IT.
IT'S QUITE NICELY DECORATED.
THERE'S A HELMET HERE, KIND OF
HELMET LOGO WITH FEATHER
PLUMES.
AND ALL DOWN HERE IS WONDERFUL
TRACE OF ROMAN OFFICIALDOM.
IT SAYS, LUCIUS QUINCTIUS,
THE QUISTAL, THAT'S THE
QUALITY CONTROL AGENT, APPROVED
THIS RAM.
MARVELLOUS ROMAN ADMINISTRATIVE
EFFICIENCY.
ACTUALLY A WONDERFUL CONTRAST
WITH THE ONE CARTHAGINIAN RAM
THAT'S BEEN DISCOVERED WHICH
HAS ON IT INSTEAD "MAY THE
GOD BAAL."
YOU KNOW, STRIKE YOUR SHIPS
AND MAKE A HOLE IN THEM.

She holds a bronze helmet and says IN SOME WAYS, THE MOST
INTERESTING AND MOST MOVING
OBJECT TO HAVE BEEN DISCOVERED
IS THIS HELMET, A ROMAN
HELMET, AND IT CAME COMPLETE
WITH ITS CHEEK PIECES WHICH
WOULD HAVE PROTECTED THE
FIGHTER'S FACE.
AND IT BRINGS YOU ABOUT AS
CLOSE AS YOU CAN EVER GET TO THE
INDIVIDUALS WHO FOUGHT AND IN
THIS CASE, I IMAGINE, DIED IN
THAT GREAT BATTLE.

She puts the helmet on and says I SUSPECT I MIGHT BE THE FIRST
PERSON TO PUT THIS HELMET ON
SINCE 241 B.C.
WHOEVER WORE IT MUST HAVE HAD A
BIGGER HEAD THAN ME, OR ELSE
THERE WAS A LOT OF PADDING IN
IT.

(music plays)

Mary says THE END RESULT OF ALL THIS WAS
THAT THE CARTHAGINIANS WERE
PUSHED OUT OF SICILY
ALTOGETHER, AND THE ISLAND
BECAME THE FIRST OVERSEAS
TERRITORY UNDER ROMAN CONTROL.
IN A WAY, YOU MIGHT SAY THAT
THE ROMAN EMPIRE BEGAN HERE.
ROME DEFEATED CARTHAGE TWICE
MORE.
FIRST WAS THE FAMOUS OCCASION
WHEN HANNIBAL PULLED OFF THE
STUNT OF CROSSING THE ALPS
WITH HIS ELEPHANTS, ONLY TO
LOSE OUT EVENTUALLY ON ALL
FRONTS.
THE ROMANS FINISHED THE JOB
YEARS LATER IN 146 B.C.
WHETHER THEY WERE REALLY
ANXIOUS ABOUT CARTHAGINIAN
RECOVERY, OR SIMPLY WANTED TO
SHOW THEIR MUSCLE, THEY
LAUNCHED AN EXPEDITION TO
NORTH AFRICA UNDER ONE OF THE
SCIPIOS, AND THEY RAZED THE
CITY TO THE GROUND.
AS ONE HARD-LINE SENATOR HAD
REPEATEDLY INSISTED... CARTHAGO
DELENDA EST, CARTHAGE MUST
BE DESTROYED.

(music plays)

A map shows the locations of Rome, Sicily and Carthage.

Mary says WE DON'T KNOW WHAT ACTUALLY
DROVE ROME TO ANNIHILATE THE
CITY OF CARTHAGE.
THEY'D TAKEN OVER MOST OF THE
CARTHAGINIAN EMPIRE WHEN THEY
DEFEATED HANNIBAL, SO MAYBE IT
WAS A DEVASTATING DISPLAY OF
IMPERIAL SELF-CONFIDENCE.
BUT 146 WOULD ALSO BE
REMEMBERED FOR ANOTHER CITY'S
DESTRUCTION.
THIS WAS THE YEAR THAT ROME
SACKED CORINTH, THE WEALTHIEST
CITY IN GREECE.

The map shows the location of Corinth.

(music plays)

Mary says 146 WOULD BECOME INGRAINED IN
THE MINDS OF EVERY ROMAN.
THE YEAR WHEN ROME BECAME SO
POWERFUL THAT IT NO LONGER HAD
ANY SERIOUS CHALLENGES LEFT.

(music plays)

Mary now visits the ruins of the city of Corinth.

Mary says THE DESTRUCTION OF TWO OF THE
MOST FAMOUS CITIES IN THE
MEDITERRANEAN CHANGED THE
RULES OF THE GAME FOREVER.
THERE WAS STILL NO SIGN OF A
ROMAN MASTER PLAN, OR THAT
THEY REALLY WANTED ACTUALLY TO
GOVERN ANYWHERE, BUT THEY NOW
HAD MORE POWER THAN ANYONE
ELSE, EVEN IF THEY DIDN'T
REALLY KNOW HOW TO USE IT.
BASICALLY, THE ROMAN PRIORITY
WAS TO GET THEIR OWN WAY.
BUT 146 WAS ALSO AN AMBIVALENT
YEAR.
SOME PEOPLE CERTAINLY
CELEBRATED, BUT OTHERS ALREADY
SAW IT AS THE BEGINNING OF THE
END.
THERE'S A LOGIC IN THE HISTORY
OF EMPIRES.
WHEN YOU GET TO THE TOP, YOU
CAN ONLY COME DOWN.
CARTHAGE WAS WIPED FROM THE
EARTH, BUT GREECE WAS VERY
DIFFERENT.
AND IT GAVE ROME SOMETHING
MORE PRECIOUS THAN ECONOMIC
PROFIT... ITS CULTURE.
CONQUEST DIDN'T JUST CHANGE
THE PEOPLE THAT ROME
CONQUERED, IT CHANGED ROME,
TOO.
AND IT WAS THANKS TO GREECE
THAT ROME STARTED TO BECOME
FULL OF MARBLE COLUMNS,
ELEGANT STATUES AND OBJETS
D'ART.
THIS WAS THE VERY BEGINNING
OF THE ROME WE KNOW.
AND ALSO, THE BEGINNING OF A
FLOURISHING ART MARKET.
THIS WAS ONCE A GREAT PIECE
OF ART.
IT'S A STATUE OF HERCULES.
HE WAS PART OF THE CARGO OF A
SHIPWRECK THAT HAS BEEN
RECOVERED FROM THE SEABED.
NOT JUST HIM, THERE WERE MORE
THAN 30 OTHER MARBLE STATUES,
SOME BRONZE ONES, SOME
EXQUISITE JEWELLERY,
GLASSWARE, SCIENTIFIC
INSTRUMENTS, AND THEY SAY THEY
FOUND THE PIPS, THE VERY LAST
OLIVES THE CREW ATE BEFORE THE
DISASTER.
BUT FROM OUR POINT OF VIEW,
WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT THIS
WAS A CARGO OF STUFF, ONE OUT OF
MANY THOUSANDS THAT WAS MAKING
ITS WAY FROM THE GREEK WORLD
ON A ONE-WAY TICKET TO ROME.

(music plays)

A group of men in masks put on a theatrical performance for Mary.

Mary says THE GREEK WORLD THAT ROME
CONQUERED HAD A LONG HISTORY
OF ART, THEATRE AND
LITERATURE.
AND MANY ROMANS FELT THE
CULTURAL TRADITIONS OF GREECE
OUT-CLASSED THEIR OWN.
BUT ROME NOT ONLY BOUGHT,
PLUNDERED AND EMULATED GREEK
CULTURE, ROMANS WROTE
THEMSELVES INTO THE GREEK
STORY, TRACING THEIR OWN
ORIGINS BACK TO THE MYTHICAL
WAR BETWEEN GREEKS AND TROJANS,
AND TO THE MOST FAMOUS WORK
OF GREEK LITERATURE OF ALL,
THE ILIAD.
ONE CRUCIAL CHARACTER FOR THE
ROMANS WAS AENEAS, WHO PLAYED
A RATHER MINOR PART ON THE
LOSING TROJAN SIDE IN HOMER'S
ILIAD.
THE ROMANS TOOK THE STORY OF
AENEAS AND RAN WITH IT, MAKING
HIM FLEE FROM TROY, AND COME
TO ITALY TO FOUND THE ROMAN
RACE, AS A KIND OF ANCESTOR
OF ROMULUS AND REMUS.
IT'S ALMOST AS IF THEY'RE
SAYING THEY DIDN'T JUST BELONG
IN THE GREEK WORLD, BUT THEY
ACTUALLY CAME FROM HERE.

(music plays)

Mary says THE STORY OF AENEAS GAVE THE
ROMANS A STAKE IN THE
TRADITIONS OF GREECE.
BUT EXACTLY HOW GREEK TO BE
WAS THE TOPIC OF THE DAY, WITH
SOME CONSERVATIVE HARDLINERS
ARGUING THAT SOFT GREEK
CULTURE WAS DESTROYING OLD
ROMAN VALUES.

An image of an ancient amphitheatre appears.

Mary says THERE'S MORE TO CONQUEST THAN
CONQUEST BY SWORD.
THERE'S CONQUEST BY BOOK, BY
WORD, AND BY CULTURE.
ONE ROMAN POET LATER CLAIMED
THAT IT WASN'T ACTUALLY THE
ROMANS WHO CONQUERED GREECE,
BUT THE GREEKS WHO CONQUERED
ROME.
WHAT HE MEANT BY THAT WAS THE
GREEKS WERE REALLY THE WINNERS
BECAUSE ROME OWED THEM SUCH A
VAST CULTURAL DEBT THAT WENT
BACK CENTURIES BEFORE THE
CONQUEST OF CORINTH.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME, IT WAS
ROME'S INTEREST IN GREEK
CULTURE, THEIR STUDY, THEIR
PRESERVATION, AND THEIR
REPLICATION OF IT THAT'S
PLAYED A BIG PART IN KEEPING
THAT CULTURE ALIVE FOR US.
IN A WAY, I LIKE TO THINK ROME
HAS KIND OF GIVEN US GREECE.
THE ROMANS HAD NOW GAINED
EFFECTIVE CONTROL OVER THE
ENTIRE MEDITERRANEAN.
THE ONLY PEOPLE EVER TO HAVE
DONE THAT.
NOT ALWAYS BY ANNEXING
TERRITORY, BUT SIMPLY BY BEING
ABLE TO GET THEIR OWN WAY.
WE THINK OF THIS EMPIRE AS THE
LAND AROUND THE SEA, BUT
ACTUALLY, AT THE HEART OF IT,
THERE'S THE MEDITERRANEAN
ITSELF.
IT'S CRUCIAL TO UNDERSTAND
WHAT'S GOING ON ACROSS THIS
HUGE LIQUID TERRITORY.

A map of the Mediterranean region appears.

Mary says WE AREN'T TALKING JUST ABOUT
SOME NICE LITTLE BOATS
TRANSPORTING SCULPTURES, THE
PROBLEMS OF CONTROLLING THIS
SEA WERE AS IMPORTANT AS THE
ONES OF CONTROLLING CARTHAGE
OR CORINTH.
THE MEDITERRANEAN WAS THE
EMPIRE'S INTERNAL SEA, AND
MAIN HIGHWAY.
MARE NOSTRUM, THEY CALLED IT,
OUR SEA.
IT WAS FAR CHEAPER AND QUICKER
TO TRAVEL ON THE WATER THAN BY
LAND, BUT IT WAS DANGEROUS,
TOO.
THAT'S NOT JUST BECAUSE ALL
YOU'D NEED WAS ONE STORM AND
YOU'D HAVE LOST EVERYTHING.
THERE WERE ALSO BANDITS AND
HIJACKERS WANTING TO GET
THEIR HANDS ON ANYTHING THAT
WAS SAILING.
NOT JUST GOODS, BUT PEOPLE,
TOO.
IT WAS A BIT LIKE A MOTORWAY
SWARMING WITH HUMAN
TRAFFICKERS.

(music plays)

The caption changes to "Delos."

Mary says ROME'S OVERSEA'S CONQUESTS HAD
TURNED THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS
OF PRISONERS INTO SLAVES.
AND THAT CREATED A DEMAND FOR
MORE.
THERE WERE BIG PROFITS TO BE
MADE OUT OF THE SLAVE TRADE.
DELOS WAS A HUGE MERCANTILE
COMMUNITY, AND PEOPLE MADE
LOADS OF MONEY HERE.
ONE ROMAN WRITER CALLED IT THE
BIGGEST MARKET IN THE WHOLE
PLANET.
ALL SORTS OF GOODS MUST HAVE
PASSED THROUGH.
PERFUMES AND SPICES, SCULPTURE
AND FURNITURE.
BUT DELOS WAS MOST FAMOUS FOR
BEING THE WORLD CAPITAL OF THE
SLAVE TRADE.
AND ONE OF THE MAIN SUPPLIERS
OF THAT TRADE WERE THOSE
BANDITS AND HIJACKERS THAT THE
ROMANS CALLED PIRATES.
FOR THE ROMANS, A PIRATE WAS
ANYONE YOU DIDN'T LIKE IN A
SHIP, FROM SMALL-TIME CHANCERS
TO BIG-TIME CRIMINALS, MORE
LIKE THE MAFIA.
IT WAS AN UNEASY RELATIONSHIP,
AND THOSE TOUGH GUYS IN SHIPS
PROVED PRETTY DIFFICULT TO
CONTROL.
ONE DAY THEY WERE STOCKING
YOUR MARKET, THE NEXT DAY,
THEY TURNED ON YOU.

(music plays)

She walks in a museum full of sculptures and says AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE SEE
HERE.
THIS IS A WONDERFUL PAIR OF
VERY DISTINCTIVELY ROMAN
FACES.
SUNKEN CHEEKS AND WRINKLY.
BOTH OF THEM LOOKING A BIT
SINISTER.
IT'S KIND OF TEMPTING TO
IMAGINE THAT THEY WERE
INVOLVED IN A RATHER NASTY
FORM OF BUSINESS.
THEY'RE ALSO IN A PRETTY ROPEY
STATE.
THEY'VE BEEN SMASHED, AND THEY
LOOK A BIT BURNT.
THE REASON FOR THAT ACTUALLY
STEMS FROM A KEY MOMENT IN THE
HISTORY OF THIS PLACE.
IN 69 B.C., PIRATES CAME HERE.
THEY TORCHED THE PLACE.
THERE WAS A VAST FIRE AND
DELOS WAS DESTROYED.
PIRATES HAD THEIR IMPACT AT
ROME ITSELF, TOO.
FEAR OF PIRATES PROVIDED A
REASON OR EXCUSE FOR THE
ROMANS TO TAKE A DECISION THAT
WOULD SET THE SCENE FOR BIG
POLITICAL CHANGES THAT WOULD
UNDERMINE THEIR DEMOCRACY AND
HERALD ONE-MAN RULE.
PIRATES WERE CERTAINLY A
NUISANCE AND SOMETIMES
DANGEROUS, BUT THE THREAT
COULD ALWAYS BE MANIPULATED TO
JUSTIFY MILITARY ACTION.
THE WAR ON PIRATES WAS A BIT
LIKE THE WAR ON TERROR.
AND IN 67 B.C., THE ROMAN
PEOPLE VOTED ALMOST UNLIMITED
POWERS TO ONE MAN TO CLEAR THE
SEA OF PIRATES.
THAT MAN WAS POMPEY.

(music plays)

A sculpture of Pompey appears.

Mary says POMPEY THE GREAT, AS HE WAS
KNOWN, GOT RID OF THE PIRATES
IN JUST THREE MONTHS, THEN
TURNED HIS FIREPOWER ONTO
SOME FABULOUSLY WEALTHY
EASTERN KINGS, RETURNING TO
ROME WITH A BANG, A
SPECTACULAR TWO-DAY PARADE
AND A MASSIVE CARNIVAL.
THE VICTORY PARADE WAS ONE OF
THE BIGGEST STREET PARTIES THE
ROMANS EVER CELEBRATED.
THERE WAS THE GENERAL
PROCESSING THROUGH THE STREETS
IN HIS CHARIOT, WITH ALL THE
BOOTY AND SPOILS AND RICHES
HE BROUGHT BACK HOME OUT IN
FRONT OF HIM, AND HIS
PRISONERS WALKING THERE, TOO.
THE IDEA WAS THAT THE PEOPLE
IN THE CITY SHOULD BE ABLE TO
SEE WHAT THE GENERALS AND
ARMIES HAD BEEN GETTING UP TO
ABROAD AND WHAT THEY BROUGHT
BACK.
SOME PEOPLE THOUGHT THE
DISPLAY WAS TERRIBLY VULGAR,
AND ON OCCASIONS, PEOPLE CRIED
IN THE AUDIENCE AS THEY
WATCHED THE POOR PRISONERS GO
PAST.
BUT FOR MOST ROMANS, THIS WAS
A CHANCE TO LET THEIR HAIR
DOWN.
[speaking Italian]

MAryshoots a ball at a fair and says NOT BAD.

Mary says AND TO INDULGE IN THE RICHES
THAT HAD BEEN WON FOR THEM.
WITH THE PARTY LONG GONE, NOT
MUCH TRACE OF POMPEY'S
TRIUMPH IS LEFT BEHIND.
BUT TUCKED AWAY IN A CORNER
OF A MUSEUM, WE CAN SEE ONE
MEMBER OF THAT SPECTACLE'S
SUPPORTING CAST.

She stands next to a big black decorated urn on a stand.

She says IT'S NOT OFTEN YOU CAN
ACTUALLY TRACK DOWN AN
INDIVIDUAL OBJECT THAT WAS
TRUNDLED THROUGH THE STREETS
OF ROME IN A TRIUMPHAL
PROCESSION.
IN FACT, THIS IS PROBABLY THE
ONLY ONE.
IT'S A GREAT BRONZE URN WAS
PROBABLY USED FOR MIXING UP
WINE AND WATER AND HONEY, AND
IT'S ACTUALLY GOT THE NAME OF
ONE OF THE KINGS WHO POMPEY
DEFEATED SCRATCHED INTO ITS
RIM.
THIS MAKES ME PRETTY CERTAIN
THAT THIS WAS ONE OF THE
TREASURES, ONE OF THOUSANDS
UPON THOUSANDS THAT THE PEOPLE
OF ROME WATCHED GO BY IN
POMPEY'S PARADE IN 61.

(music plays)

A painting showing a scene at the parade appears.

Mary says THE EMPIRE HAD BEEN
TRADITIONALLY FUNDED, FORMED
AND GOVERNED BY DEMOCRATIC
OFFICIALS SERVING FOR ONE
YEAR, SHARING POWER.
THE IDEA HAD ALWAYS BEEN TO
STOP ANYONE BECOMING A KING
AGAIN.
BUT WITH POMPEY, THE ROMANS
BEGAN TO SHELVE THEIR
REJECTION OF INDIVIDUAL POWER.
IF YOU NEEDED TO DEFEND OR
EXTEND THE EMPIRE, PERHAPS YOU
HAD TO HAND OVER CONTROL TO
JUST ONE MAN.
YET, FOR A MAN WHO
REVOLUTIONIZED ROME, HE'S LEFT
VERY FEW VISIBLE TRACES.

She stands next to a curved building and says THIS IS A WONDERFUL BIT OF
ROMAN STREET ARCHAEOLOGY.
YOU MIGHT MISS IT TO START
WITH, BUT THE LAYOUT OF THESE
BUILDINGS, THIS SWEEPING
CURVED FACADE ACTUALLY MATCHES
ANCIENT ROMAN FOUNDATIONS
UNDERNEATH.
AND THOSE FOUNDATIONS BELONG
TO A HUGE SEMICIRCULAR
AUDITORIUM OF A THEATRE.
THESE ARE THE TRACES OF THE
THEATRE THAT POMPEY PUT UP
WITH THE PROFITS OF HIS EASTERN
CAMPAIGNS.
AND THEY'RE THE FIRST TIME
EVER THAT ROMAN BUILDINGS
BEGIN TO MATCH THE ROME OF OUR
IMAGINATIONS.
HUGE, MONUMENTAL, MAGNIFICENT,
DESIGNED TO IMPRESS.

(music plays)

Mary says POMPEY SET THE BENCHMARK FOR
WHAT AN IMPERIAL BUILDING
SHOULD LOOK LIKE.
AND ONE THAT LATER EMPERORS
WOULD FOLLOW.
BUT HE'S NEVER BECOME A
HOUSEHOLD NAME.
HE'S ALWAYS BEEN OVERSHADOWED
IN THE QUEST FOR GLORY AND THE
COMPETITION FOR PERSONAL
POWER.
THE ONE PERSON THAT FOREVER
AFTER STOLE THE LIMELIGHT WAS
HIS GREAT RIVAL, JULIUS
CAESAR.

A statue of Julius Caesar appears.

[whirring]

Mary gets on a helicopter.

Mary says BLIMEY.
UP WE GO.
NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE.
GOING IN THE OPPOSITE
DIRECTION TO POMPEY, CAESAR
HEADED WEST.
WHEN POMPEY HAD BEEN SO
STUNNINGLY AND BLOODILY
SUCCESSFUL OUT EAST, AND TO
COME BACK WITH SUCH A LOAD OF
CASH AND SPOILS, CAESAR, IF HE
WANTED TO RIVAL HIM, HAD ONLY
ONE OPTION, WHICH WAS TO HAVE
A GREAT CONQUEST HIMSELF.
BUT IN ONE IMPORTANT WAY,
CAESAR REALLY OUT-DOES
POMPEY.
POMPEY HAS BIG VICTORIES.
CAESAR HAS BIG VICTORIES AND
WRITES ABOUT THEM.
AND THE REASON WHY WE CAN GO
TO ALESIA, THE SITE OF ONE OF
CAESAR'S LAST VICTORIES THERE
IS BECAUSE WE ACTUALLY HAVE
CAESAR'S OWN ACCOUNT OF IT.

An aerial view shows images of Alesia.

The caption changes to "Alesia."

Mary says AT ALESIA, THE ARMY OF GAULS
HAD SET UP CAMP ON A HILL.
IN CAESAR'S OWN DESCRIPTION,
HE SEEMS IN COMPLETE CONTROL.
CAMPS WERE CONSTRUCTED AT
STRATEGIC POINTS, HE WRITES.
PICKETS WERE STATIONED DAY AND
NIGHT.
THERE WAS HARD FIGHTING ON
BOTH SIDES.
I HAD TWO TRENCHES DUG.
I ERECTED A RAMPART, AND A
PALISADE.
WHEN YOU SEE THE SCALE OF IT
ALL, DESPITE WHAT HE CLAIMS WHEN
HE WRITES THE STORY UP, CAESAR
COULDN'T POSSIBLY HAVE HAD HIS
EYE ON ALL THE AREAS OF THIS
BATTLEFIELD.
IN THE END, WINNING AN ANCIENT
BATTLE COMES DOWN TO STRENGTH
OF NUMBERS, STARVING THE ENEMY
OUT, SURPRISING THEM FROM
BEHIND, AND PERHAPS MOST OF
ALL, THE TRUTH IS IT COMES
DOWN TO LUCK.
LUCK OR NOT, I'M SURE THAT
CAESAR HIMSELF WOULD BE
DELIGHTED TO KNOW WE STILL
READ HIS OWN VERSION OF THESE
CAMPAIGNS.
HOWEVER HE WON THE BATTLE, THE
REAL POINT IS HIS STORY HAS
LASTED FOR CENTURIES.
AND IN TERMS OF IMPERIAL
PROPAGANDA, IT'S A NICE PROOF
THAT THE PEN REALLY CAN BE
MIGHTIER, OR AT LEAST MORE
ENDURING, THAN THE SWORD.

Now Mary stands by a large statue of Vercingetorix.

Mary says THE LEADER OF THE GAULS IN
THEIR DOOMED LAST STAND WAS
VERCINGETORIX.
SINCE THEN, HE'S BECOME A HERO
OF MODERN FRANCE.
A FREEDOM FIGHTER STANDING UP
FOR THE FRENCH NATION.
THE IRONY IS THAT EVERYTHING
WE KNOW ABOUT VERCINGETORIX
GOES BACK TO WHAT CAESAR WROTE
ABOUT HIM.
IN A WAY, OUR VERCINGETORIX IS
A ROMAN CREATION.
WHATEVER HE WAS REALLY LIKE,
THE POINT WAS THAT CAESAR
NEEDED TO SHOW THAT HE HAD
DEFEATED A DANGEROUS, BRAVE,
AND ULTIMATELY WORTHY
OPPONENT.
THE ROMANS WOULD NEVER HAVE
THOUGHT THERE WAS ANY KUDOS TO
BE GAINED IN BEATING A SISSY.
CAESAR ALSO BOASTED ABOUT THE
NUMBER OF GAULS THAT HIS ARMY
HAD KILLED DURING HIS
CAMPAIGN.
MODERN ESTIMATES COME TO
AROUND A MILLION.
HIS FIGURES MAY HAVE BEEN
SEXED UP TO IMPRESS BACK HOME,
BUT THERE'S LITTLE DOUBT THAT
CAESAR'S AMBITION TO SURPASS
POMPEY'S GLORIES HAD BEEN
ACHIEVED THROUGH NOTHING SHORT
OF GENOCIDE.
EXCAVATIONS OF THE BATTLEFIELD
HAVE UNEARTHED SOME OF THE
WEAPONS THAT WON CAESAR HIS
VICTORY, INCLUDING THE ANCIENT
VERSION OF LAND MINES.

She now sits at a table with pointy metal objects.

Mary says THESE THINGS AREN'T EXACTLY
HIGH-TECH, BUT THEY'RE VERY,
VERY NASTY.
THIS ONE IN PARTICULAR, YOU
HAVE TO IMAGINE STANDING ON IT
IN YOUR LEATHER SANDAL.
THE POINT GOES RIGHT THROUGH
AND INTO YOUR FOOT, AND YOU
CAN'T PULL IT OUT BECAUSE OF
THAT LITTLE BARB THERE.
YOUR FOOT'S BLEEDING, YOU
CAN'T GET YOUR SANDAL OFF,
YOU'RE IN AGONY.
YOU CAN'T MOVE.
MAKES MY TOES CURL JUST TO
THINK ABOUT IT.
THERE WERE PEOPLE IN ROME WHO
GOT ANXIOUS ABOUT WHAT WAS
GOING ON IN GAUL AND AT
THE LEVEL OF THE KILLING.
AND SOME OF CAESAR'S ENEMIES
EVEN WENT SO FAR AS TO SUGGEST
HE SHOULD BE PUT ON TRIAL FOR
WAR CRIMES, AND THAT THE JUDGE
AND JURY SHOULD BE ALL GAULS.
THE ROMAN EMPIRE WAS A PRETTY
BRUTAL THING, BUT THERE WAS
SOME LEVELS OF BRUTALITY THAT
EVEN THE ROMANS COULDN'T
STAND.
JULIUS CAESAR WOULD NEVER HAVE
MADE IT WITHOUT THE LOYAL
SUPPORT OF HIS TROOPS.
THEY WERE FAR FROM THE CATTLE
RAIDERS OF THE EARLY CITY.
SOLDIERS WERE NOW
PROFESSIONALS, BOUND TO THEIR
GENERAL AS HE WAS TO THEM,
EVEN MORE THAN TO THE STATE.
AND UNLIKE POMPEY, CAESAR WAS
PREPARED TO USE THAT ARMY TO
SEIZE CONTROL OF ROME.
FOR HIS PART, CAESAR WAS WELL
AWARE THAT HIS ENEMIES IN ROME
WERE CONSPIRING AGAINST HIM.
THAT THEY WERE TRYING TO BACK
HIM INTO A CORNER, AND AS HE
PUT IT, TO UNDERMINE HIS
DIGNITAS, THAT DISTINCTIVE
ROMAN COMBINATION OF PRESTIGE
AND CLOUT.
SO HE TOOK A CHANCE.
AND WITH ONE OF HIS LEGIONS,
HE SET OUT TO MARCH ON ROME.
WHEN HE GOT TO THE RIVER
RUBICON, WHICH MARKED THE
BORDER BETWEEN GAUL AND ITALY,
HE SAID, LET'S THROW THE DICE
IN THE AIR THEN.
IN OTHER WORDS, GOD ONLY KNOWS
WHAT'LL HAPPEN NEXT.
SOME ROMANS SAW THIS AS THE
LEGACY OF ROMULUS AND REMUS,
THE TWINS WHOSE QUARRELS
RESULTED IN THE DEATH OF ONE.
NOW, A ROMAN FOUGHT ROMAN FOR
ULTIMATE POWER.
CAESAR'S RETURN TO ROME
TRIGGERED A CHAOTIC CIVIL WAR
THAT ENGULFED NOT JUST ITALY,
BUT MOST OF THE EMPIRE.
POMPEY HIMSELF ENDED UP DEAD
ON THE COAST OF EGYPT.
HIS DECAPITATED HEAD PRESENTED
TO CAESAR WHO, SO WE'RE TOLD,
BURST INTO TEARS AT THE SIGHT
OF IT.
CAESAR WON THE WAR AND WAS
MADE OFFICIALLY DICTATOR, SOLE
RULER OF ROME.
BUT HE DIDN'T LAST MUCH
LONGER.
IF THERE'S JUST ONE ROMAN THAT
EVERYONE KNOWS, IT'S JULIUS
CAESAR.
NOT BECAUSE OF WHAT HE DID,
BUT BECAUSE HE DIED.
HIS ASSASSINATION HAS BEEN
BLOWN UP INTO AN HEROIC SCENE
THAT WE ALL KNOW, OR THINK WE
KNOW FROM FILMS, PAINTINGS AND
PLAYS AND FROM THOSE FAMOUS
LAST WORDS, ET TU BRUTE, WHICH
HE DEFINITELY DIDN'T SAY.
WHAT WE KNOW FOR SURE IS THAT
HE WAS AMBUSHED BY A GROUP OF
HIS FRIENDS IN A MEETING IN A
SENATE HOUSE THAT IRONICALLY
HAD BEEN BUILT BY HIS GREAT
RIVAL, POMPEY.
IT ALL HAPPENED JUST OVER
THERE WHERE THAT TREE NOW IS.
IT WAS ANOTHER ECHO BACK TO
ROME'S FOUNDATION STORY.
NOW, IT WAS CAESAR WHO TOOK
THE PART OF THE MURDERED
REMUS.
IT'S THE MOST FAMOUS POLITICAL
ASSASSINATION EVER.
CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF
LIBERTY JUST A FEW WEEKS AFTER
CAESAR HAD BEEN MADE DICTATOR
FOR LIFE.
TOO SOON TO KNOW WHETHER HE'D
SUCCEEDED OR FAILED.
BUT THE FACT WAS THAT THE
ASSASSINS MAY HAVE GOT RID OF
A MAN THEY THOUGHT OF AS A
TYRANT, BUT THEY DIDN'T GET
RID OF TYRANNY.
IT WAS ALL TOO LITTLE, TOO
LATE.
BY NOW, IT WAS INEVITABLE
THAT THE EMPIRE WOULD BE RULED
BY ONE MAN.
THE QUESTION WAS WHAT SHAPE
WOULD THAT ONE-MAN RULE TAKE?
THAT WAS DEFINED BY THE MAN
WHO ESTABLISHED AUTOCRATIC
POWER LONG TERM, WHO WE CALL
FIRST EMPEROR OR ROME, GAIUS
JULIUS OCTAVIUS, OR AS HE
LATER CALLED HIMSELF,
AUGUSTUS.

A statue of Octavius appears.

Mary says THAT NAME ACTUALLY DOESN'T
MEAN VERY MUCH.
THE CLOSEST YOU CAN GET IS
REVERED ONE.
BUT HE WORKED OUT THE DOS AND
DON'TS OF BEING A ONE MAN
RULER.
IN THE EARLY 3rd CENTURY B.C.,
SCIPIO BARBATUS, ON HIS TOMB,
COULD HAVE HIS CAREER SUMMED
UP IN JUST A FEW LINES.
300 YEARS LATER, THE EMPEROR
AUGUSTUS WROTE HIS OWN EPITAPH
TO BE DISPLAYED OUTSIDE HIS
TOMB, IN HUNDREDS OF LINES.

She stands next to a large wall full of inscriptions.

Mary says IT'S AN EXTRAORDINARY
OVERBLOWN ACCOUNT OF WHAT
I DID.
BUT IT ALSO OFFERS A BLUEPRINT
FOR HOW TO BE AN EMPEROR IN
THE FUTURE.
AND THERE ARE THREE THINGS HE
STRESSES.
FIRST OF ALL, YOU HAVE TO BE
MASSIVELY GENEROUS TO THE
ROMAN PEOPLE.
YOU HAVE TO GIVE THEM HANDOUTS
AND ENTERTAINMENTS AND
SERVICES.
AND THAT'S WHAT HE LISTS HERE,
ALL THE CASH HE SPENT ON THAT.
THEN, YOU'VE GOT TO BUILD,
BUILD, BUILD.
AND THAT'S REALLY THE MODEL
OF POMPEY.
AND AUGUSTUS TELLS US ABOUT
THE TEMPLES THAT HE
CONSTRUCTED AND THE THEATRES.
BUT MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, AND
THIS IS WHAT THE BIGGEST PART
OF THE DOCUMENT IS ABOUT, YOU
HAVE TO INVEST IN CONQUEST.
AND AUGUSTUS EXPLAINS HOW HE
EXTENDED THE BOUNDARIES OF THE
ROMAN EMPIRE.
HOW HE PACIFIED THE PROVINCES
OF GAUL AND SPAIN.
HOW HE PACIFIED THE ALPS.
THE MESSAGE HE'S HAMMERING
HOME IS CLEAR.
YOU WANT TO BE A ROMAN
EMPEROR, YOU HAVE TO LOOK LIKE
A CONQUEROR.

(music plays)

Now Mary walks in a museum.

Mary says HOWEVER MUCH THE ROMANS TRIED
TO AVOID THE POMPEYS AND
CAESARS OF THIS WORLD, THE
PROBLEMS OF GOVERNING AND
POLICING AN EVER-EXPANDING
EMPIRE PROVED THAT DECISIONS
TAKEN BY COMMITTEE DIDN'T
WORK.
IT WASN'T THE EMPEROR THAT
CREATED THE ROMAN EMPIRE, IT
WAS THE EMPIRE THAT CREATED
ROMAN EMPERORS.
AUGUSTUS' ACCOUNT OF WHAT HE
DID IS A PRACTICAL TOOL KIT
FOR HOW TO BE A ROMAN EMPEROR.
BUT THE IDEOLOGY BEHIND IT
ALL IS BEST REPRESENTED ON
ANOTHER MONUMENT HE PUT UP
CELEBRATING PAX, PEACE.

She climbs up the steps to a large decorated marble altar.

Mary says SO THIS IS AN ALTAR OF PEACE.
IT'S CELEBRATING THE SECURITY
AND THE PROSPERITY THAT THE
ROMAN EMPIRE CAN BRING.
BUT IT ISN'T REALLY PEACE IN
OUR SENSE OF THE WORD.
THIS ISN'T ABOUT THE ABSENCE
OF FIGHTING, IT'S ABOUT PEACE
THAT IS THE RESULT OF
FIGHTING.
THIS IS PEACE THAT HAS BEEN
WON BY VICTORY.
REALLY, THIS IS AN ALTAR OF
PACIFICATION.
IT'S ALSO MORE THAN THAT.
BUILT OUT OF MARBLE BY THE
BEST ARTISTS IN TOWN, YOU
COULDN'T MISS THE MESSAGES
HERE.
THE WALLS AROUND IT ARE
COVERED WITH FRIEZES, SOME
DEPICTING AUGUSTUS WITH HIS
FAMILY, CARVING THE IMPERIAL
DYNASTY INTO STONE.
AND SOME OF THE IMAGES SPREAD
THE IDEA OF HIS DIVINE
BIRTHRIGHT, PROJECTING HIS
LINEAGE ALL THE WAY BACK TO
THE MYTHICAL FOUNDERS OF ROME.
ON EITHER SIDE OF THE MAIN
STEPS THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT
VERSIONS OF ROME'S ANCESTRY.
ON THE ONE SIDE, THE WOLF WITH
ROMULUS AND REMUS, AND ON THE
OTHER SIDE, AENEAS, WHO HAS
JUST ARRIVED IN ITALY FROM
TROY.
THERE'S A SPECIAL RESONANCE
FOR THE EMPEROR HERE BECAUSE
AUGUSTUS CLAIMED TO BE
DIRECTLY DESCENDED FROM
AENEAS.
BUT THERE'S AN EVEN BIGGER
POINT IF YOU TAKE THESE TWO
SCENES TOGETHER.
ON THE ONE SIDE, THERE'S
ROMULUS WELCOMED INTO HIS NEW
CITY, OUTCASTS AND RUNAWAYS,
ON THE OTHER SIDE, AENEAS, WHO
REALLY DID COME FROM ABROAD.
THE MESSAGE ABOUT ROME'S
ORIGINS IS CLEAR.
ROME WAS ALWAYS FOREIGN.
THIS MADE PERFECT ROMAN SENSE.
THE STORIES THEY TOLD OF THEIR
OWN ORIGINS REFLECTED THE
GROWING DIVERSITY, EXPANSION,
AND OPENNESS OF THEIR WORLD.
AND THERE WAS ONE CORNER OF
THE EMPIRE THAT HAD A
PARTICULAR RESONANCE.

The caption changes to "Troy."

Mary says I'M IN A PLACE THAT MANY
ROMANS THOUGHT THE WHOLE STORY
OF THEIR CITY BEGAN.
IT'S MORE THAN A THOUSAND
MILES AWAY FROM ROME.
IT'S THE CITY OF TROY.
THE CITY OF THE TROJAN WAR,
THAT MOST FAMOUS, MOST
DEFINING WAR IN THE WHOLE
HISTORY AND MYTH OF THE
CLASSICAL WORLD.
IT'S THE WAR OF HELEN,
ACHILLES, HECTOR, AND THE
TROJAN HORSE.
IT WAS ALSO THE BIRTHPLACE OF
AENEAS.
AND FOR THE NEW AUGUSTAN AGE,
THE ROMAN POET VIRGIL
ELABORATELY REIMAGINED AND
REWROTE AENEAS' JOURNEY FROM
TROY TO ITALY IN HIS EPIC
POEM THE AENEID.

Mary walks along the ruins of Troy.

Mary says HE WAS USING MYTH TO EXPLORE
THE COMPLEXITIES OF THE RISE
OF ROME AND OF ITS EMPIRE.
THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF THINGS
IN THIS POEM... LOVE, HONOUR,
HEROISM AND EMPIRE.
VIRGIL ALSO POINTS TO SOME OF
THE MUCH MORE DISCONCERTING
SIDES OF IMPERIAL POWER.
AT THE END OF THE STORY, AND
IT'S REALLY THE LAST THING WE
SEE AENEAS DOING, OUR HERO
CRUELLY AND GRATUITOUSLY
SLAUGHTERS AN ENEMY SOLDIER
WHO HAS SURRENDERED TO HIM.
IT'S AS IF IN VIRGIL'S HANDS,
THE STORY OF AENEAS BOTH
CELEBRATES ROME'S EMPIRE, AND
EXPOSES ITS POTENTIAL
BRUTALITY.
AND YET VIRGIL COULD ALSO
PRESENT THE ROMAN EMPIRE AS A
GIFT FROM THE GODS THEMSELVES.
THE VERY BEGINNING, JUPITER,
THE KING OF THE GODS,
PROPHECIZED ROME'S FUTURE
POWER.

She reads and excerpt from the Aeneid and says I HAVE GIVEN, HE SAYS, I HAVE
GIVEN THE ROMANS
IMPERIUM SINE
FINE.
I HAVE GIVEN THEM EMPIRE
WITHOUT LIMIT.
IT HADN'T REALLY STARTED THAT
WAY.
A COMPLETELY UNREMARKABLE CITY
HAD EXPANDED FAR BEYOND ITS
WALLS BECOMING THE POWER
CENTRE OF A VAST EMPIRE.

An animated map shows the extension of the Roman Empire.

Mary says AND FROM THE TWINS TO THE
EMPERORS, FROM CATTLE RAIDERS
TO ORGANIZED ARMIES, FROM THE
EARLY VICTORIES OF SCIPIO
BARBATUS, TO THE CRUSHING
DESTRUCTION OF CORINTH IN THE
EAST, OR THE BLOODY KILLING
FIELDS OF GAUL IN THE WEST,
THROUGH A COMBINATION OF
IMPROVISATION, GOOD LUCK,
GREED, AND AMBITION, ROME HAS
IMPRINTED ON OUR MINDS WHAT
IT MEANS TO BE AN EMPIRE.
THE IDEA OF EMPIRE WITHOUT
LIMIT IS SOMETHING THAT SCIPIO
BARBATUS COULD NEVER HAVE
UNDERSTOOD.
HE KNEW ALL ABOUT CONQUEST AND
MILITARY GLORY AND THE PROFITS
THAT CAME WITH THEM.
BUT ROME, HAVING TERRITORIAL
CONTROL OVER SWATHES OF THE
OUTSIDE WORLD THOUGHT OF AS
LIMITLESS, WOULD HAVE BEEN
ABSOLUTELY INCOMPREHENSIBLE
TO HIM.
TWO AND A HALF CENTURIES
LATER, VIRGIL'S "AENEID."
CLAIMS JUPITER HIMSELF HAD
PLANNED IT THAT WAY.
IT'S AS IF VIRGIL, LOOKING
BACK, IS REINTERPRETING THE
MESSY, THE IMPROVISED HISTORY
OF ROMAN CONQUEST INTO SOME
GRAND DESIGN OF MANIFEST
DESTINY.

(music plays)

A black slate appears with the caption "Next time."

Mary says NOW THAT ROME HAD ACQUIRED AN
EMPIRE, WHAT TO DO WITH IT.

She walks along a mining area and says IT WAS A TERRIBLY EXPLOITATIVE
SYSTEM OF RESOURCES, OF
LANDSCAPE, AND OF PEOPLE.
WHAT WOULD FEED IT, AND WHAT
WOULD CONNECT IT?

She unrolls a long map of the Roman Empire.

Mary says WE TEND TO JOKE, WE SAY ALL
ROADS LEAD TO ROME, BUT
ACTUALLY, THEY DID.
WHO WOULD LOSE OUT, AND WHO
WOULD SUCCEED?

She stands in a large amphitheatre and says ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS HE
DID WAS PUT UP THIS HUGE
AMPHITHEATRE.

(music plays)

The end credits roll.

Written and presented by Mary Beard.

Producer Director, Chris Mitchell.

Series Producer, Caterina Turroni.

Logo: Lion Television.

A Lion Television and All 3 Media Production for the BBC.

Copyright 2016, Lion Television.

bbc.co.uk/history