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When Rome Ruled [Blu-ray]

27 customer reviews

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When Rome Ruled [Blu-ray] + Rome: Power & Glory + ROME: Rise and Fall of an Empire
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Editorial Reviews

National Geographic's groundbreaking 6-part series reveals ancient Rome's hidden treasures and untold stories as never before. From iconic figures including Caligula, Caesar and Constantine, to epic events such as the eruption of Vesuvius, the invasion of Britain, and 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 doomsday, and Caesar's assassination provide fresh insights into the empire that not only influenced Western civilization, but created it.

Episodes include Secrets of the Gladiators, The Real Caligula, Doomsday Pompeii, Killing Ceasar, Birth of Rome, and Ancient Superpower.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: -
  • Directors: -
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: NAT'L GEOGRAPHIC VID
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004B93RBU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,413 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

143 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Florio on April 13, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am fascinated by ancient Rome and I am also a longtime documentary buff, so when I accidentally came across this set of discs on Amazon at a reasonable price I bought it without hesitation. I expected that a series with National Geographic's name on it would be a cut above and I wasn't disappointed. After all, it was they who first introduced me as a child to the ancient world in articles about Abu Simbel and the Bayeaux Tapestry.
This is a very good six part 270 minute documentary and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in this subject, or who just likes good, entertaining and informative documentaries. They have done a good job of walking a line between making a lively and entertaining TV show about the Roman world, and an intelligent treatment about this amazing civilization that informs so much of the modern western world. When I saw titles like "The Real Caligula" and "Secrets of the Gladiators" I thought it might be just a rehash of series like "Rome: Power and Glory" which aired some years ago on I believe the History Channel, but this series is more informative, with discussions of current archaeology and interviews with scholars like Andrew Wallace-Hadrill and many others, and visits to places I've always wondered about but have never seen pictures of, such as Tiberius' villa on the island of Capri.
They seem to have spent more than the usual amount of money for a TV documentary, creating a look that almost rivals that of HBO's dramatic series ROME, with street scenes and convincing recreations of ancient homes and gardens. I was impressed with the attention to detail and realism, such as when the victorious gladiators hold their palm branches in the air in victory in an exact reenactment of a scene from a well-known graffiti from Pompeii.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 17, 2011
Format: DVD
`When Rome Ruled' is a 3 disc set with 2 episodes on each. They include; Secrets of the Gladiators, the Real Caligula, Doomsday Pompeii, Killing Caesar, Birth of Rome, and Ancient Superpower. Each has English subtitles.

The first, Secrets of Rome is more about the coliseum and some little known facts, such as, Rome was one of the last cities to build a stone structure to house their games because they didn't trust their citizens to gather in large groups, also how the coliseum would have been filled with water. On the other hand, they tell about the wonderful emergency evacuation system, but never even hint at how it would have worked.

Doomsday Pompeii purports itself to be the never before told story of the common people, which is a bit of an exaggeration.
Birth of Rome is also a slight misnomer, it really tells how Caesar constructed many of Rome `s structures (the city was already built) and how the city was controlled by Caesar Augustus after Caesar is murdered, the building of the aqueducts and turning a city of brick into marble. Hadrian's rule is mentioned, but nothing of his most famous work Hadrian's Wall.

There are extras and a bonus program' Treasure Seekers' much of which consists of close ups of carvings and a montage of information that it seems couldn't have been fitted in elsewhere.
`In the Shadow of Ancient Romeis not captioned and the volume is much softer than the rest of the programs.

For all of these episodes they have the usual talking heads - historians giving their opinions and facts; however all of them had the extremely irritating habit of looking off to the side of the camera, as if they are staring at someone to the left or right. Some scenes, such as people strolling through villas, adjusting their tunics, eating and reclining in their villas are used multiple times in every episode.
This is, in total though is a very good lesson on Rome.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 21, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
FYI, this DVD contains 6 parts plus a bonus part. The original National Geographic special, and the DVDs sold on its website, contains 8 parts. This version is missing two episodes. I was not aware of this and will be returning it. I took one star off for the omission. I've viewed parts of this series on the National Geographic channel, however, and it is great and deserves the other stars.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard B on August 12, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
National Geographic has produced some excellent DVD's on various subject matter. This is a good example of their work. However, for the most part if you have studied ancient Rome or other films on the subject of Rome you will pick up little in the way of new material. For example, we all know that Caligula was a mad emperor, what caused him to go mad or speculation on the type of disease he had is not that exciting.
There is a pull out flyer inside the box with the DVD's that I found to contain some interesting facts it's worth the read. Over all if you have seen other films on Rome you can pass on this one. If you are just starting to look at Rome in its past glory you might want to add this one to your collection of past empires.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mac D. Culver on December 13, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This "made for television" production is a dynamic introduction to the realities of the establishment, rule and colapse of the Roman empire. The visuals are amazing but the commentary throughout the entire series by various scholars makes the series valuable. It is filled with "wow" moments and explains must that we in American culture in the 21st century has either forgotten or chosen to ignore.

Worderful for anyone who wants to understand and for those who would desire not to repeat disaster.
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When Rome Ruled [Blu-ray]
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