Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
Following the success of her last BBC programme, Pompeii, Mary Beard is set to return to BBC Two with a fascinating new series that delves deep into ancient Roman society, in the heart of Rome itself.
But it is not the rich and famous or the battles and blood of the gladiatorial arena that will take centre stage. The 3x60-minute series, Rome With Mary Beard, will use the latest archaeological evidence and historical analysis to uncover the physical and mental world of ordinary ancient Romans.
Two thousand years ago, Rome was a city heaving with over one million people, a size of population not matched again by any city in Europe until London in the 19th century. Mary will reveal all the little details of what life was like for the average inhabitant of the city, from where they slept and what they ate, to their attitudes to parenting, crime and punishment and the role of religion.
Janice Hadlow says: "Mary has a unique ability to bring history alive through the lives of ordinary people, all told with a incredible attention to detail. She has a fantastic talent for storytelling and I am sure her stories of life in ancient Rome will be as compelling as her documentary on Pompeii."
Along the way, Mary brings the Roman society to life using their own words. Through the thousands of epitaphs and funerary monuments – the mini-biographies of loving wives, of children sorely missed, of butchers and bakers, of slaves, shopkeepers, barmen and drunks – we learn more about their relationships, their successes and failures than any other record ever could tell.
From a time that may seem so distant, Mary will bring us closer to Rome in a way that will reveal a side to Roman society that we will recognize in our own today.
Rome With Mary Beard has been commissioned by Martin Davidson, Commissioning Editor, History and Business. It is made by Lion Television, the executive producer there is Richard Bradley.
Mary's last BBC Two programme, Pompeii: Life and Death in a Roman Town, broadcast in 2010 averaged 3.7million viewers and was the highest rating factual programme on BBC Two for the year.
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