Mothers, Murderers and Mistresses: Empresses of Ancient Rome (3 x 60′) – Documentary series telling the dramatic story of how exceptional women came to stand at the epicentre of imperial power.
The series is presented by Professor Catharine Edwards, Birkbeck, University of London. Catharine travels across the empire, from its heart in Rome to its rich eastern fringes in Jerusalem to explore intriguing evidence of the impact women made throughout the Roman world.
In the first episode, The Trailblazers, Catharine traces the role of three women in the early empire, revealing how women who understood the realities of politics could become leaders – but those who did not would end up as victims.
In the second episode, The Rivals, Catharine looks at how Rome’s autocracy took shape in the first century AD. As the imperial court became a bloody, sexually charged arena in which the future of the empire was forged, two notorious women competed in a deadly power struggle.
The final episode, The Outsiders, profiles the women who lived through the renewal of the empire and ultimate transformation of the empire. Catharine’s focus spans 250 years, exploring – among other subjects – the role of women in legitimising and securing the succession through marriage. And, through one very distinctive case, Catharine looks at how female influence was felt as Rome’s dramatic adoption of Christianity began.
Producer: HotSauce TV
TX: 29th May 2013
Source: BBC press release