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Mothers, Murderers and Mistresses: Empresses of Ancient Rome 

Professor Catharine Edwards explores the story of the remarkable Livia, wife of the emperor Augustus, mother of the emperor Tiberius and a woman whose influence was felt across the Roman ... See full summary »








Series cast summary:
Catharine Edwards Catharine Edwards ...  Herself - Host 3 episodes, 2013
Matthew Nicholls Matthew Nicholls ...  Himself - Reading University 2 episodes, 2013
Greg Woolf Greg Woolf ...  Himself - St. Andrews University 2 episodes, 2013


Professor Catharine Edwards explores the story of the remarkable Livia, wife of the emperor Augustus, mother of the emperor Tiberius and a woman whose influence was felt across the Roman Empire for over 60 years. But imperial women who lacked perfect political judgement would end up victims and not leaders. The history of ancient Rome contains stories of Empresses who would die miserably in exile.

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Release Date:

29 May 2013 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Anyák, gyilkosok és úrnők: az ókori Róma császárnői See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hotsauce TV See more »
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User Reviews

Friends, Viewers, Countrymen,... pin back your Listening Ears
27 March 2018 | by geoffwoo99See all my reviews

The star of this programme is the camera operator/VT editor.

The documentary is vividly brought alive by the locations of Ancient Rome used to illustrate the plot. While the Forum and Curia are well known in documentaries, some lesser known, less frequently visited locations, such as the House of Livia on the Capitoline and the Mausoleum of Augustus, broaden the sense of history and revitalise the sense of Imperial Rome. One is aware that the myth-like histories of events took place on those very spots. The Suetonius tales of Roman lives are made very real. And there is more than a courteous nod to Robert Graves's "I Clavdivs"......

The content is generally very good, based very much on Suetonius's "Lives", but extended appropriately by Historian Professor Catherine Edwards. For the first time I understand the complex lineage of the family tree, and the various comings and goings (mainly goings!) of the Dynasty made complete sense - despite half of the people having very similar names!

But, sadly, it is in the presentation of the documentary by the good Professor that I found the programmes wanting.

This isn't the warmly eccentric verbal embrace of a Mary Beard, or your friendly and engaging best mate Lucy Worsley. Nor even the enthusiastic delivery of a passionate and emotional Philippa Gregory. No, instead this is like getting a stinging Broadside from a Spitting Image Margeret Thatcher puppet. Even the voice intonation is very similar. The viewer is looked at down an aloof-looking nose, then addressed, talked at; not talked to. The invitation for the viewer is to sit up, pay attention and listen to what is being thrown at you. And after a while you have to simply turn it off for a while and return to it later if the subject really interests you.

So, content was great. Locations and camera work were superb, but a bit of a struggle to watch.

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