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Date: 29.08.2012Last updated: 03.09.2012 at 17.10

Category: BBC Four; Factual

Alastair Sooke talks about his new series which takes an in-depth look at the art of the Roman Empire.

The Romans have a reputation for being brilliant engineers and soldiers, but what isn't as well known is that they also gave us wonderful artistic treasures. In this new three-part series, Alastair Sooke argues that the old fashioned view that the Romans didn’t do art is nonsense.

He traces how, during the Republic, the Romans went from being art thieves and copycats to pioneering a new artistic style: warts ‘n’ all realism and follows in the footsteps of Rome’s mad, bad and dangerous emperors as he finds that their taste in art chimes perfectly with their obsession with sex and violence.

Sooke travels to Leptis Magna in Libya shortly after the overthrow of Gaddafi to discover one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world and the cradle of later Roman art. He discovers glorious mosaics which have never been filmed before as he charts the decline and fall of the Roman Empire through some of its hidden and most magical artistic treasures.

Executive Producer: Jonty Claypole

A BBC Vision Production

Starts Monday 3 September on BBC Four at 9.00-10.00pm

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