Rome: the world’s first superpower – Channel 5

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I was rather surprised to see that this new series was being presented by Larry Lamb, who might have done a good job of playing Archie Mitchell in EastEnders but, AFAIK, has no history-related qualifications or training; but he did a very good job of it. He was very enthusiastic and his down-to-earth approach worked well (although he could perhaps do with finding a few synonyms for “pragmatic).

This wasn’t the usual same-old-same-old-Julius-Caesar-and-Augustus stuff. This was about how Rome first got going. Not an easy story to tell, because none of us really know how true any of the Romulus and Remus story is. It covered well-known stories/themes such as the tyranny of Tarquin and the rape of Lucretia, social clashes and the promulgation of early law codes, and the wonderful engineering feats such as the 6th century BC sewers still in use … and the tragedies of those who died building them. All without any of the silly stuff that’s sadly so prevalent in historical programmes these days, such as the BBC referring to the Gunpowder Plot as “5/11” or Lucy Worsley prancing about in Georgian costumes.

Good stuff! Bring on the next three episodes :-).

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