Rome will rise again this fall

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If ABC's summer miniseries Empire leaves you desperate for more swarthy men in breastplates and sandals, never fear, for HBO has set the premiere date of August 23 for Rome.

Rome, a 12-episode series coproduced by HBO and the BBC, will chronicle the rise of the Roman Empire as experienced by two average soldiers and their families.

When Julius Caesar returns from eight years of empire-expanding warfare with an agenda for drastic social change, he faces an aristocracy that no longer trusts him. Caesar's old friend Pompey Magnus plots against him to restore the balance of power, but soldiers Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo foil the mutinous plan. Vorenus and Pullo are given the gratitude and friendship of Caesar and his clan, and their fates become entwined with the fate of Rome itself.

The cast of Rome includes Ciaran Hinds (Road to Perdition), Kevin McKidd (Kingdom of Heaven), Ray Stevenson (King Arthur), Polly Walker (State of Play), Lindsay Duncan (Under the Tuscan Sun), and James Purefoy (Resident Evil).

Rome will debut a few weeks before the premieres of most other networks' fall series, and producers will try to garner a wide audience by airing each episode several times on HBO and its sister networks, HBO2 and HBO Signature.

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