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Published on 16 Feb 2014 | over 2 years ago

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire - Episode 9: The Soldier's Emperor (Documentary)

The Roman Empire was the largest and most powerful in history, but how did ancient Rome achieve its greatness? And why did it eventually collapse? In this epic series, we explore these questions, following the most dramatic Roman characters as they lead an empire slowly sliding to its own destruction and the Barbarian leaders who brought about that destruction. We vividly recreate the living environment of the time: teeming Roman streets, struggling armies, gladiators, Roman excesses and debauchery, the camps and villages of the barbarians, and the deeply human struggle of outsiders to conquer and Romans to survive.

Episode 9: The Soldier's Emperor

Near the end of the third century, civil war has torn the empire apart and left its borders vulnerable to barbarian invasion. Romans living on the eastern and western frontiers, far from Rome, are left to defend themselves, which they do by building their own armies and naming their own emperors.

As the Empire divides against itself, one extraordinary man rises from the rank of soldier to become emperor in Rome. His name is Aurelian, and with an unshakeable trust in the sun god, he fights back the barbarians who by now threaten Rome itself. Once he secures the great city, Aurelian pursues the rulers of the splinter empires: an eastern warrior queen and a proud western general. Defeating both, he reunites the empire in five short years, earning the title Restorer of the World.

For a moment there is peace. But in 275 AD Aurelian is assassinated; his death is mourned by Romans across the empire, who know too well the scarcity of greatness in their rulers.

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