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Caligula

   2013    History
Two thousand years ago one of history's most notorious individuals was born. Professor Mary Beard embarks on an investigative journey to explore the life and times of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus - better known to us as Caligula. Caligula has now become known as Rome's most capricious tyrant, and the stories told about him are some of the most extraordinary told about any Roman emperor. He was said to have made his horse a consul, proclaimed himself a living God, and indulged in scandalous orgies - even with his own three sisters - and that's before you mention building vast bridges across land and sea, prostituting senators' wives and killing half the Roman elite seemingly on a whim. All that in just four short years in power before a violent and speedy assassination in a back alley of his own palace at just 28-years-old." But how much of his story is true? Travelling across the Roman world - from Germany and Capri in the bay of Naples to the astonishing luxury of his life in imperial Rome - Mary attempts to peel away the myths. Some stories are difficult to get to the bottom of as they were written by hacks long after his death, but there is plenty of surviving evidence where the 'real' Caligula can be glimpsed. Such as in the extraordinary luxury of his private yachts outside Rome; in the designs he chose for his coins when he became Emperor; in an eye-witness account of Caligula's withering humour written in 41AD; the trial documents covering the mysterious death of his father when he was just seven-years-old; and even in a record of his imperial slaves - from the palace spy to his personal trainer. Piecing together the evidence, Mary puts Caligula back into the context of his times to reveal an astonishing story of murder, intrigue and dynastic family power. Above all, she explains why Caligula has ended up with such a seemingly unredeemable reputation. In the process, she reveals a more intriguing portrait of not just the monster, but the man.

Meet the Romans: All Roads Lead to Rome

   2012    History
Professor Mary Beard looks beyond the stories of emperors, armies, guts and gore to meet the everyday people at the heart of Ancient Rome's vast empire. In this programme, Mary asks not what the Romans did for us, but what the empire did for Rome. She rides the Via Appia, climbs up to the top seats of the Colosseum, takes a boat to Rome's port Ostia and takes us into the bowels of Monte Testaccio. She also meets some extraordinary Romans: Eurysaces, an eccentric baker, who made a fortune out of the grain trade and built his tomb in the shape of a giant bread oven; Baricha, Zabda and Achiba, three prisoners of war who became Roman citizens; and Pupius Amicus, the purple dye seller making imperial dye from shellfish imported from Tunisia. This is Rome from the bottom up.
Series: Meet the Romans

Behind Closed Doors

   2012    History
In this final episode, Mary Beard delves even deeper into ordinary Roman life by going behind the closed doors of their homes. She meets an extraordinary cast of characters - drunken housewives, teenage brides, bullied children and runaway slaves - and paints a more dynamic, lusty picture of Roman family life. Mary uncovers their preserved beds, furniture and cradles, tries on Roman wedding rings and meets some eccentric wives like Glyconis, praised by her husband for liking a drink or two, and Allia Potestas, who lived in a Roman menage a trois. Mary explores Roman parenting, childbirth and children, including Sulpicius Maximus, an 11-year-old schoolboy who was worked to death by his pushy parents, and Geminia Mater, a 5-year-old tomboy. Finally, Mary paints a more nuanced picture of Roman slavery and asks why if it was such a brutal institution did many Romans choose to be buried with their servants - living cheek by jowl in death, as in life
Series: Meet the Romans
Blue Planet II
Blue Planet II

   2017    Nature
Space
Space

   2001    Science
P.U.L.S.E
P.U.L.S.E

   2006    Art
Science and Islam
Science and Islam

   2017    History
Life in the Undergrowth
Life in the Undergrowth

   2005    Nature
Hiroshima
Hiroshima

   2005    History
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History