The Roman Empire In the First Century

Season 1 Episode 2

Years of Trial

Aired Unknown Jul 17, 2001 on PBS
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Episode Summary

Years of Trial
In the year 14, Caesar Augustus died and the empire stood at a crossroad. Would Rome continue the course set by its first emperor… or would it fall into civil war? The tense period immediately following the death of Augustus brought a brutal army mutiny and intense political intrigue. A reluctant new emperor quickly inhabited the imperial palace and stability eventually prevailed. The new emperor was called Tiberius. He was Augustus' step-son and he was a dour, middle-aged man with limited vision. At first, Tiberius struggled to live up to his predecessor. But he quickly abandoned the effort. Tiberius' ultimate decline from ascetic ruler to reclusive despot ushered in one of the most notorious rulers of the ancient world: Caligula. As fear and conspiracy descended on Rome, crisis spread to the provinces. In Judea, modern-day Israel, a charismatic religious leader named Jesus challenged the religious and political establishment. The local furor barely touched Rome, but the legacy of Jesus would one day engulf the empire itself.moreless

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