Murder in Rome (2005)

BBC Timewatch

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Date Added: 11 years ago.

Documentary Description

Forget the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus, the greatest public spectacle in ancient Rome took place in the Forum, where trials were packaged as entertainment, with life or death outcomes. Thousands flocked to see the spectacles, drawn by the prospect of lurid tales of murder, intrigue and violence. After all, there was no state prosecution service so the law was only open to the rich and famous, meaning the trials were a fascinating window on a world of debauched privilege. The stars of these bloody shows were the lawyers and the greatest of them all was Cicero (Paul Rhys). Proud of his achievements, Cicero kept a record of his most famous case. This dramatisation of his trial transcripts makes for compulsive viewing, packed full of numerous twists and intriguing characters such as Sextus Roscius Junior (Mark McGann). Accused of his father’s murder, the odds are stacked against him: not only did he have the means, motive and opportunity but the prosecutor is Erucius (Owen Teale) - one of the finest in the city. Nevertheless, by the time Cicero has finished, not only is Sextus Junior absolved, but Cicero has unmasked a conspiracy that reaches right to the top of Roman society.  Using dramatic re-enactment of the court proceedings and witness testimonies, experts anchor the facts in the reality of everyday Roman life and visit the Forum and scenes of the crime, to bring this case alive as never before. The lives and loves of ancient Rome are here in all their glory. It is a thrilling journey into the past, to a world gripped by passion, lust, betrayal and murder.

Source: BBC

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