WASHINGTON (March 9, 2011)—Serving as rich storylines for feature films, television series and historical fiction, stories of ancient Rome have fascinated consumers of popular culture, scholars and history buffs for generations. Now, National Geographic gives context to these stories in its epic new multi-volume compilation, “When Rome Ruled,” available at retail on March 29, on shopNG.com, in stores where videos are sold or by calling (800) 437-5521.
The six-part series, airing on the National Geographic Channel, combines historical recreations with scenes of modern-day Rome and the expertise of contemporary historians and scientists to tell the story of ancient Rome, its more colorful personalities, transformative events and pioneering architecture.
From such iconic figures as Caligula, Caesar and Constantine to epic events such as the eruption of Vesuvius, the invasion of Britain and the fall of Rome, “When Rome Ruled” reveals a startling up-to-date vision of the ancient empire and challenges our perception of what we know about the Romans and their lives. New discoveries about the Roman gladiators, Pompeii’s doomsday and Caesar’s assassination provide fresh insights into the empire that not only influenced Western civilization, but also created it.
For centuries, Rome governed hundreds of thousands of people in an empire that covered as much as 2 million square miles. In an age when most travel was done on foot, how was this possible? Digging deep into the lives of two emperors who presided over one of the most successful periods in Roman history, National Geographic explores how the empire owed its longevity to its ambition, innovation and genius for administration. See how Rome endured for centuries as one of the greatest bureaucracies on earth.
“Birth of Rome”
Over centuries, the Romans transformed a swamp on the banks of the Tiber River into a settlement, then a city of brick and ultimately the gleaming marble core of the ancient world’s greatest empire. Journey through massive Roman tunnels and trace the city’s architectural and engineering evolution, including tombs, temples, monuments and aqueducts. See how the Romans converted an uninhabitable region into the home of some of the most impressive monumental architecture the world has ever seen.
In a story that plays out like a Mafia saga, National Geographic tracks Julius Caesar’s meteoric rise to power and his historic murder. His life was marked by tyranny and treachery, grand public gestures and secret double dealings. Witness how every action Caesar took brought him closer to death — and how his genius, ego and ambitions changed the course of history in the Greco-Roman world.
“Secrets of the Gladiators”
Beast fights in the morning. Executions at lunchtime. Gladiator combat in the afternoon. National Geographic re-creates the opening days of the Colosseum, the spectacles, the combatants and the monumental structure that housed them.
“The Real Caligula”
Demonized by ancient sources and portrayed throughout history as a cruel madman — was Emperor Caligula really insane or just the product of a mad world? He inherited a vast empire, unimaginable wealth and the love of his people, but Caligula’s reign descended into paranoia, depravity and full-blown insanity. Using dramatic re-enactments along with expert testimony from a forensic psychologist, National Geographic investigates if there indeed was a medical explanation behind this ruler’s terrifying mind.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted, it rained 8 million tons of debris onto Pompeii and sealed the fate of more than a thousand people. But it also preserved the city for future generations. From the ashes, scientists can tell us today the story of the ordinary people caught up in this disaster. These are the forgotten men and women who lived when Rome ruled….and were buried when the volcano blew.
Bonus features include a “Behind the Scenes” featurette and a poster-size map of Ancient Rome.
“When Rome Ruled” was produced by Atlantic Productions for National Geographic Channels, in association with Fremantlemedia Enterprises. For National Geographic Channels, executive producer is Kathleen Cromley; senior vice president, production, is Michael Cascio. Steven Burns is the executive in charge of production. National Geographic Home Entertainment titles are distributed to the retail marketplace through Vivendi Entertainment.
For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com/migrations.
“When Rome Ruled”
Street Date: Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Suggested Retail Price: $29.97 (DVD)/$34.99 (Blu-Ray)
Run Time: Approx. 270 mins.
About National Geographic Entertainment
National Geographic Entertainment (NGE) combines into a single operating group National Geographic’s Cinema Ventures, Feature Films, Kids Entertainment, Home Entertainment and Music & Radio business units. NGE is part of National Geographic Global Media, which bring together all of National Geographic’s editorial platforms to streamline collaboration and further support the Society’s mission of inspiring people to care about the planet.
About Vivendi Entertainment
Vivendi Entertainment is a full-service independent film, television, DVD and digital distribution company operating in the United States and Canada. Representing a vast range of genres including action, comedy, thriller, urban, family, fitness and stand-up comedies, Vivendi Entertainment has become a favorite distribution partner for independent content providers. The company has built an extensive catalog of over 3,000 titles, and its customer-centric business model was founded on the principles of collaboration and financial transparency. The company provides sales, marketing and distribution services to many of the home entertainment industry’s most prestigious brands, including: The Weinstein Company, World Wrestling Entertainment, Classic Media, RHI, Shout! Factory, Salient and Code Black. Vivendi Entertainment is a division of Universal Music Group Distribution, the award-winning sales, marketing and distribution arm of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company.