The stories of the emperors in “The Roman Empire.”
Commodus wants to be known as the new Hercules by the Roman people. Julius Caesar plans to be emperor for life. Caligula aims to punish the senators involved in his mother’s death. The “Roman Empire,” sheds some new light on the stories of these three well-known historical figures.
The “Roman Empire” is in anthology format with each season featuring a different emperor (although one of them was not declared as such): Commodus, Julius Caesar, and Caligula.
The first season, “Commodus: The Reign of Blood”, deals with Commodus, the son of Marcus Aurelius, who called himself the new Hercules. His story was expertly laid out for TV but I’m not a fan of Commodus’ reign (not because he was mad). I disagree with the historians on some of their theories surrounding him which was presented in the six episodes. Also, he was strangled in his bath by Narcissus, his personal trainer, not stabbed to death.
The second season, “Julius Caesar: Master of Rome” is much more interesting, because, well, it’s Julius Caesar. It was fun and entertaining to watch with the experts shedding some light or giving some new angle on Julius Caesar as an emperor and a soldier. The ending was a bit of disappointment though with some details in the Ides of March being left unsaid, like what happened to the senators after the assassination. It resulted into some misunderstanding, particularly on Brutus eventual fall. It did not even mention the Second Triumvirate. But it was focused solely on Julius Caesar so it was understandable.
The third season, “Caligula: The Mad Emperor,” was a surprise for me. Maybe because I did not read that much about his rule, I find this season to be enjoyable. It was superb from the beginning to end, with the experts giving new light on Caligula as a tragic figure, and how his past affected his reign as an emperor.
Sky god Worthy (5 out of 5 stars). I’m not sure how the writers picked the three emperors Commodus, Julius Caesar, and Caligula from the hundreds of Roman emperors, but their stories were brilliantly narrated. The actors portrayed these emperors well on different levels, and the production brought the authenticity lacking from some shows with the same theme. This anthology is a must watch for history geeks.
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