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Mary Beard takes in the mythology, history and archaeology of Rome. Mary explores the physical world of the Roman Empire and finds surprising parallels with our own world.

In the second episode, Mary Beard explores the physical world of the Roman Empire, and finds surprising parallels with our own world. Setting out in the footsteps of the emperor Hadrian, she discovers a vast empire bound together by a common material culture, and a globalised economy of such scale that evidence of its side-effects can still be seen today, thousands of miles away from Rome. Mary unpicks the threads of a huge commercial and cultural network, taking in the vital supply of olive oil to Rome and her armies, the slave trade, and the all-important silver mines of Spain.

Following the famous Roman road network, and the shipping routes connecting the empire's thriving ports, Mary reveals another side to the Roman Empire, one where builders and traders eclipse soldiers, and starring slaves, not senators, making the most of a hugely connected new world.

59 minutes



Role Contributor
Presenter Mary Beard
Writer Mary Beard
Photographer Craig Hasting
Photographer Liam Ayres
Photographer Marco Rossi
Photographer Piers Leigh
Sound Timothy Hodge
Sound Bill Rudolph
Colourist Martin Mayos
On-line editing Martin Mayos
Re-recording mixer Gavin Allingham
Production Coordinator Isabelle Burn
Production Manager Claire Smith
Assistant Producer Johnny Crockett
Film Editor James Dowd
Executive Producer Martin Davidson
Executive Producer Richard Bradley
Director Chris Mitchell
Series Producer Caterina Turroni
Production Company Lion Television


  • Wed 4 May 2016 21:00
  • Thu 5 May 2016 23:15
  • Thu 5 May 2016 23:45
  • Tue 17 May 2016 01:35
  • Tue 17 May 2016 02:05
  • Mon 19 Feb 2018 22:00

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Read more about what happened behind the scenes for each episode.