Pomp and Perversion • 2012 • episode "S1E2" Treasures of Ancient Rome

Category: History

Alastair Sooke follows in the footsteps of Rome's mad, bad and dangerous emperors in the second part of his celebration of Roman art. He dons a wetsuit to explore the underwater remains of the Emperor Claudius's pleasure palace and ventures into the cave where Tiberius held wild parties. He finds their taste in art chimes perfectly with their obsession with sex and violence. The other side of the coin was the bombastic art the Romans are best remembered for - monumental arches and columns that boast about their conquests. Trajan's Column in Rome reads like the storyboard of a modern-day propaganda film. Sooke concludes with the remarkable legacy of the Emperor Hadrian. He gave the world the magnificent Pantheon in Rome - the eternal image of his lover Antinous, the most beautiful boy in the history of art - and a villa in Tivoli where he created one of the most ambitious art collections ever created.

Make a donation

Buy a brother a hot coffee? Or a cold beer?

Hope you're finding these documentaries fascinating and eye-opening. It's just me, working hard behind the scenes to bring you this enriching content.

Running and maintaining a website like this takes time and resources. That's why I'm reaching out to you. If you appreciate what I do and would like to support my efforts, would you consider "buying me a coffee"?

Donation addresses

patreon.com

BTC: bc1q8ldskxh4x9qnddhcrgcun8rtvddeldm2a07r2v

ETH: 0x5CCAAA1afc5c5D814129d99277dDb5A979672116

With your donation through , you can show your appreciation and help me keep this project going. Every contribution, no matter how small, makes a significant impact. It goes directly towards covering server costs.

Treasures of Ancient Rome • 2012 • 3 episodes •

Warts 'n' All

The Romans were brilliant engineers and soldiers, but what isn't as well known is that they also gave us wonderful artistic treasures. In this three-part series, Alastair Sooke argues that the old-fashioned view that the Romans didn't do art is nonsense. He traces how the Romans during the Republic went from being art thieves and copycats to pioneering a new artistic style - warts 'n' all realism. Roman portraits reveal what the great names from history, men like Julius Caesar and Cicero, actually looked like. Modern-day artists demonstrate the ingenious techniques used to create these true to life masterpieces in marble, bronze and paint. We can step back into the Roman world thanks to their invention of the documentary-style marble relief and to a volcano called Vesuvius. Sooke explores the remarkable artistic legacy of Pompeii before showing how Rome's first emperor, Augustus, used the power of art to help forge an empire.

2012 • History

Pomp and Perversion

Alastair Sooke follows in the footsteps of Rome's mad, bad and dangerous emperors in the second part of his celebration of Roman art. He dons a wetsuit to explore the underwater remains of the Emperor Claudius's pleasure palace and ventures into the cave where Tiberius held wild parties. He finds their taste in art chimes perfectly with their obsession with sex and violence. The other side of the coin was the bombastic art the Romans are best remembered for - monumental arches and columns that boast about their conquests. Trajan's Column in Rome reads like the storyboard of a modern-day propaganda film. Sooke concludes with the remarkable legacy of the Emperor Hadrian. He gave the world the magnificent Pantheon in Rome - the eternal image of his lover Antinous, the most beautiful boy in the history of art - and a villa in Tivoli where he created one of the most ambitious art collections ever created.

2012 • History

The Empire Strikes Back

Alastair Sooke charts the decline and fall of the Roman Empire through some of its hidden and most magical artistic treasures. He travels to Leptis Magna in Libya, shortly after the overthrow of Gaddafi, and finds one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world and the cradle of later Roman art. Sooke discovers glorious mosaics which have never been filmed before but also finds evidence of shocking neglect of Libya's Roman heritage by the Gaddafi regime. His artistic tour takes him to Egypt and the northern frontiers of the empire where he encounters stunning mummy paintings and exquisite silver and glassware. As Rome careered from one crisis to another, official art became more hard boiled and militaristic and an obscure cult called Christianity rose up to seize the mantle of Western art for centuries to come.

2012 • History

You might also like

Part 2

Neil Oliver reveals the truth behind the legend of the Vikings. (Part 2.) Neil Oliver heads out from the Scandinavian homelands to Russia, Turkey and Ireland to trace the beginnings of a vast trading empire that handled Chinese silks as adeptly as Pictish slaves. Neil discovers a world of 'starry-eyed maidens' and Buddhist statues that are a world away from our British experience of axe-wielding warriors, although it turns out that there were quite a few of those as well.

S1E2Vikings • 2012 • History

The Hittites

This is the glorious story of the Hittites - the most powerful people in the Near East of their time. Narrated by Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons, "The Hittites" brings the fascinating history of this mighty empire to life with expert interviews, stunning cinematography, dramatic reenactments, and visual effects. Highlights include a breathtaking recreation of the controversial battle of Kadesh that decimated the armies of Egypt's Pharaoh Ramesses II. Based on the actual words of the Hittites, deciphered from ancient clay tablets excavated in the 20th century, their story unfolds as beautifully as it written almost 3500 years earlier.

2003 • History

Attila the Hun

Exploring the myth of the crude savage Attila. Part genius, part psychopath, Attila is unlike the other Huns. A calculating, ruthless gambler, his one goal is conquest - and he's set his sights on Roman cities to test out his brilliant new siege tactics. The Roman Empire is about to fall. Tribes hungry for booty are invading from Asia, the Huns being the fiercest of them. Only two things unite them: The greed for Roman gold and their leader, Attila. He is the greatest warrior the Huns have ever seen, as brutal as he is brilliant. Through skilful tactics and unscrupulous lust for power, he briefly creates an empire that stretches from the steppes of Central Asia to the Danube.

S1E6Warriors: Great Men of History • 2007 • History

The Roaring 20s

Ever wonder what happens after a global pandemic? Sometimes the secrets of the future can be found in the past. In the wake of the Spanish Flu, the 1920s become the decade of flappers, jazz, and the speakeasy, and for many a time of unprecedented opportunity.

S1E3History By The Numbers • 2021 • History

Poisoning the Soil

As communism takes off in Russia and China, Joseph Stalin begins his ruthless reign and the Soviet Union enters an era of terror.

S1E2Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War • 2024 • History

Orient Express a Train Writes History

Putting the Orient Express – also called „the train of trains“ – on its tracks called for considerable stamina. Several times, the ambitious project of Georges Nagelmackers was on the brink of failure as the Belgian entrepreneur was facing the bankruptcy of his sleeping car company.

S1E10History By The Numbers • 2021 • History