In this first episode, Mary Beard reaches back to the myths and legends of the origins of Rome to gain an insight into the deep-rooted psyche of the people of Rome - a city born through fratricide and rape.
In July 1799, during the French Campaign in Egypt and Syria, the French soldiers of lieutenant Bouchard discover by chance at Rosetta a large black stone. It is, in fact, the fragment of a stele engraved in honor of King Ptolemy V, including three writing systems: Greek, Demotic, and hieroglyphs.
Bettany Hughes explores the day in 80AD when the Colosseum opened its gates for the first time. For new emperor Titus, the spectacular games and events were an opportunity to win over the people and secure his place on the imperial throne, but why did the Romans - cultured and civilised in so many ways - enjoy witnessing such brutality and bloodletting? Bettany travels across the Roman world in a bid to find answers.
1944: The Soviets continue on the path towards liberation. On the road to Berlin, they discover the horror of Hitler's extermination camps. Stalin's people have sacrificed the most: 9 million soldiers dead and 20 million civilians killed. Has he become Master of the World?
The Roman emperor Nero is considered one of history's greatest criminals. His name has become synonymous with evil, as historic accounts have accused him of killing his stepbrother, his wife and his mother, as well persecuting Christians and instigating the devastating Great Fire of Rome. This is the judgement that is passed in history from one generation to the next, but are these accounts of Nero's reign accurate? New scientific discoveries and a closer examination of the ancient texts written about Nero cast a different light on the Roman emperor and the accusations levelled against him. Secrets of the Dead: The Nero Files follows internationally renowned criminal psychologist Thomas Muller and a team of scientists and historians as they investigate the new evidence in order to discover the truth about the controversial emperor.