Meet The Romans With Mary Beard

Mary Beard. Photographer: Caterina Turroni

In the first episode in a new series exploring Rome from the bottom up, Professor Mary Beard asks not what the Romans did for us, but what the Empire did for Rome.

All roads lead to Rome, but this isn’t the tale of trading might and imperial power - it’s a portrait of the world’s first global metropolis as seen through the eyes of the ordinary Roman on the street. This is a city where everyone and everything came from somewhere else. The Empire affected everything Romans wore, ate, touched and worshipped.

Mary rides the Via Appia, climbs up to the top seats of the Colosseum, takes a boat to Rome’s famous port Ostia and takes us into the bowels of Monte Testaccio (‘broken pot mountain’). She also meets Eurysaces, ex-slave and eccentric baker, who made a fortune out of the grain trade, building his tomb in the shape of a giant bread-oven; Baricha, Zabda and Achiba, three prisoners of war who went on to become Roman citizens and Pupius Amicus, the purple-dye seller making imperial dye from murex shellfish imported from Tunisia.


Confirmed for Tuesday 17 April on BBC Two at 9.00-10.00pm

Ep 1/3

Tuesday 17 April



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