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Published on 16 Feb 2014 | over 4 years ago

Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire - Episode 1: The First Barbarian War (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 1: The First Barbarian War

It is 113 BC Rome is a Republic, a small empire that clings to the rim of the Mediterranean. Though a democracy in name and spirit, a man must be rich and from the noble class to hold the highest offices, both political and military.

The system has worked well for three centuries. But now a barbarian horde known as the Cimbri smashes through the northern imperial border. One humiliating defeat follows another, with losses of hundreds of thousands of Roman legionaries. Terror grips Rome and drives her into the arms of General Marius.

Though he is a commoner, he has a brilliant military mind. To defeat the Cimbri, Marius will transform the Roman army and shake the Republic's political foundations to the core. It is a turning point for the Republic. Faced with the savage Cimbri, Rome must decide between dictatorship or annihilation.
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