Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire

About the Show

Part love story, part cautionary tale, this episode shows how the ruler of a quarter of the people in the known world went insane and took Rome to the edge of ruin. It begins with the Great Fire of Rome. Nero did not, in fact, fiddle while Rome burned. It seems he did all he could to save lives. Even so, almost the entire city was destroyed. Faced with this catastrophe, Nero embarked on the biggest building programme in imperial history. However, soon it became an obsession. A magnificent city began to rise, but the cost was vast. Encouraged by his wife, Poppea, and supported by Tigellinus, the terrifying head of the Praetorian Guard, Nero sucked up all the wealth in the Empire, stealing from the holy temples and even demanding that aristocrats left money to him in their wills, then murdering them. Finally, the Empire rebelled. But it wasn’t until he announced he would defeat the rebels by singing to them that Rome finally decided to overthrow him. Part 1 of 6.