Meet The Romans With Mary Beard

9:00pm Tuesday 1 May on BBC TWO

In the final episode of the series, Professor Mary Beard delves even deeper into ordinary Roman life, going behind the closed doors of the home.

There, she meets an extraordinary cast of characters: drunken housewives, teenage brides, bullied children and runaway slaves – and paints a more dynamic, lusty picture of Roman family life. She uncovers their preserved beds, furniture and cradles, tries on Roman wedding rings and meets eccentric wives like Glyconis (praised by her husband for liking a drink or two) and Allia Potestas (who lived in a Roman menage a trois).

She explores Roman parenting, childbirth and children, including the story of Sulpicius Maximus, an 11-year-old schoolboy worked to death by his pushy parents, and Geminia Mater, a 5-year-old tomboy. Finally she paints a more nuanced picture of Roman slavery and asks why if it was such a brutal institution many Romans chose to be buried with their servants, living cheek by jowl in death, as in life. This is a portrait of the Roman familia as you have never seen it before.

Confirmed for Tuesday 1 May on BBC Two at 9.00-10.00pm

Ep 3/3

9:00pm Tuesday 24 April on BBC TWO

Professor Mary Beard descends into the city streets to discover the dirt, crime, sex and slum conditions in the world’s first highrise city.

This Rome is not the marble Rome we know, but a vast, messy metropolis with little urban planning, where most Romans lived in high-rise apartment blocks with little space, light and sanitation.

Mary reveals where Romans went to hang out, get drunk, have sex and get clean. She looks at the Forum as a place of gamblers, dentists and thieves and explores the lustiness of Roman bar life and Roman jokes.

Exploring law and order from the bottom up, she finds out how the city really worked. She meets Ancarenus Nothus, an apartment dweller who lived in fear of the rent collector; ‘Notorious’ Primus, who wrote about his three great pleasures in life – baths, wine and sex; and ‘Unlucky’ Doris, a seven-year-old girl killed in one of Rome’s many fires.

Confirmed for Tuesday 24 April on BBC Two at 9.00-10.00pm

Ep 2/3

9:00pm Tuesday 17 April on BBC TWO

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

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