Ancient Rome is an expensive era to depict on the small screen. There are several historical dramas and bombastic action films that portray the rise and fall of the Romans and their eternal city, but when it comes to television, few studios have the resources to do it right. HBO's Rome debuted on a bigger budget than its much later hit Game of Thrones, and the high cost of its production led to a premature end to the series (and about 14 years of history condensed into 10 episodes).
Unlike Westerns, which can be filmed just about anywhere outside Hollywood, or English period dramas (which can take place in a handful of drawing rooms), Ancient Rome requires the resurrection of a 2,000-year-old culture. For that reason, we rarely get a quality series on this fascinating era of history. The following is a selection of the best television shows about Ancient Rome. Vote up your favorites.
- Photo: Netflix
Set In: Ancient Germany in the year 9 CE.
Synopsis: As Roman forces are attempting to subdue the Germanic tribes, Roman officer Arminius is torn between his duty and his identity in the lead up to the brutal Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. The series is unique in that its Roman characters actually speak Latin, and the barbarians speak German.Agree or disagree?
- Photo: BBC2
Set In: The early Roman Empire, up to the year 54 CE.
Synopsis: This critically-acclaimed series is narrated by the unlikely Emperor Claudius and follows the political intrigues of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. It begins with the Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia, and proceeds through the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius.Agree or disagree?
- Photo: Sky Atlantic
Set In: The final years of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire, circa 58 BCE to 29 CE.
Synopsis: The series follows the life of Livia Drusilla, the powerful wife of Emperor Augustus and the first Empress of Rome.Agree or disagree?
- Photo: USA Network
Set In: The declining years of the Western Roman Empire, circa 434-453 CE.
Synopsis: The miniseries centers on Attila the Hun as he leads the Hunnic tribes in conquest against the Romans and Visigoths, and faces off against Roman general Flavius Aetius.Agree or disagree?