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BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

History
THE ROMAN WAY
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THE LATEST PROGRAMME
Begins Sunday 19 January 2003, 1.30 - 2,00 pm for four Sundays.
Using contemporary accounts from all levels of society, from the chattering classes to humble foot-soldiers, from senators to slaves, The Roman Way explores different aspects of everyday life, two millennia ago.


Life at the top

The Roman Empire, at its peak, spread right around the Mediterranean and stretched from Northumbria to Armenia. From the reign of the emperor Augustus onwards, power of all that territory lay in the hands of one man: the Emperor himself.


Bronze head of Augustus from Meroe (Nubia)
picture copyright The British Museum

What did the emperor do all day? We have two stereotypical images of Roman emperors: the good ones led victorious armies in battle, the bad ones indulged in orgies and excess. How accurate is this picture?

Though the emperor sat at the peak of the command chain, there were other powerful figures in the Roman world - the imperial advisors, for example. So who were these people? And how much power did they themselves have? Since the emperor's word was final, his whim was complete, and his tyranny absolute - how easy was it to keep friendly with the emperor?

Friendship was a vital tool in the running of the empire. Letters of recommendation were commonplace, and occurred at all levels. How did this network of friends-of-friends operate? What were the benefits - and disadvantages?

Those at the bottom of the social scale were not completely powerless. The emperor depended upon the good will and opinion of the people - and he knew it. How did they express their disapproval? And don't forget about the slave population of Rome, who vastly outnumbered the ranks of the free. They weren't without power, either.


Bronze head of Claudius, found in Suffolk
picture copyright The British Museum

Further reading

Peter Jones
An Intelligent Person's Guide to Classics
Duckworth

P Jones & K Sidwell
The World of Rome
Cambridge 1997

Jerome Carcopino
Daily Life in Ancient Rome
Penguin

Fergus Millar
The Roman Empire and Its Neighbours
Duckworth

Anthony Birley
Garrison Life at Vindolanda - A Band of Brothers
Tempus

Pliny (tr) Betty Radice
The Letters of the Younger Pliny
Penguin Classics

Marcus Aurelius (tr) Maxwell Staniforth
Meditations
Penguin Classics

Seneca (tr) Robin Campbell
Letters from a Stoic
Penguin Classics

Tim Cornell & John Matthews
Atlas of the Roman World
New York: Facts on File c1982

Listen Live
Audio Help
LISTEN AGAIN
Listen to l - Life at the Edge
Listen to ll - Life at the Top
Listen to lll - Filling the day
Listen to lV - Filling the Mind
Listen to David Aaronovitch's Roman Way
Listen to the producer's account of making the series..
ROMAN WAY PAGES
Go to - The Roman Way homepage
Go to l - Life at the Edge
Go to ll - Life at the Top
Go to lll - Filling the Day
Go to lV - Filling the Mind
Go to - Ancient Roman recipes
Go to - Useful Latin phrases for the Forum?
Go to - David Aaronovitch's Roman Way
Go to - The producer's insight into making the programme.
DON'T MISS
In Our Time
Thursday 9.00-9.45am, rpt 9.30-10.00pm. Melvyn Bragg explores the history of ideas. Listen again online or download the latest programme as an mp3 file.
USEFUL LINKS
Vindolanda
BBC History: Roman Britain
This Sceptred Isle
Appian Way - a journey between two seas
Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
Aphrodisias
Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors
British Museum COMPASS search
Kansas University: LacusCurtius
Argos: Ancient and medieval search
www.bbc.co.uk/history
news.bbc.co.uk
The BBC is not responsible for external sites.


PRESENTER
David Aaronovitch
David Aaronovitch is a broadcaster and journalist. Having been editor of On The Record, he moved onto presenting a number of programmes, including On Air, The Argument and Radio 4's Copy Snatchers. He is also a regular columnist on The Independent.

See Also

Elsewhere on bbc.co.uk

BBC History

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Don't Miss

In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg

Thursday, 9.00 - 9.45am, rpt 9.30pm
Melvyn Bragg explores the history of ideas.
Listen again online or download the latest programme as an mp3 file.


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