A two part series made by Tiger Aspect for BBC Two
29th January and 5th February 2006 at 8.00pm
BBC Commissioning Editor – Peter Horrocks
Executive Producer/BBC – Lucy Hetherington
Executive Producer/Tiger Aspect – Charles Brand
Produced and Directed by – David Jeffcock and Francis Hanly
For tape requests, picture requests or further information please contact Iain McCallum at Tiger Aspect on 0207 434 6700/07771 636612 or [email protected]
In this two-part series, journalist, former Editor of The Spectator and M.P. Boris Johnson asks,
How did the Romans run a united Europe and why does the European Union seem to find the same task so difficult?
The Romans ran an empire of up to 100 million people; we can’t even agree on a plug for our toasters.
PROGRAMME ONE Sunday 29 January 8.00pm BBC2
In the first programme, Johnson talks to leading historians and archaeologists, in Rome, France and Germany, to find out how the Romans actually ruled.
It wasn’t all at the point of a sword. Roman government was surprisingly light.
· So, how did the Emperor rule?
· Where did he get his money?
· What sort of bureaucracy was in place?
· How did he keep the million strong populace of Rome happy and content?
The answers to these questions are by turns shocking and depraved.
The Romans ran a vast empire, covering what was then half the known world.
· How did they control their conquered territories, containing vast numbers of people, of many ethnic groups, so well that the locals happily threw off their trousers and donned a toga?
· How did the Roman Empire make these people safer, and better off?
· How much were they taxed?
· What can we modern Europeans learn from what Boris Johnson calls “the fish paste technique”?
(And what about the barbarians – the Euro-sceptics of their day?)
Boris Johnson’s journey takes in Rome itself, the ancient harbour city of Ostia, Provence and the Rhineland.
PROGRAMME TWO Sunday 5 February 8.00pm BBC2
In this second and final part of the series Boris Johnson travels to Ephesus, Istanbul, Rome, France and Germany to discover how the Roman Empire fostered a sense of common identity amongst its many different peoples. He tries to discover how the Romans made people want to be Roman, in a way that we just don’t seem to want to be European.
With the help of our leading historians and archaeologists, he examines the ‘Romanising’ process – the baths, the games, and the Cult of The Emperor. We also find out the vital part played by bears and honey in keeping the people entertained.
The Roman Empire lasted for over 400 years in Western Europe.
· What can we in modern Europe learn from its decline and fall?
· Is the European Union itself getting too big?
Boris Johnson also traces the rise of Christianity, which some at the time blamed for the fall of Rome. He also considers the role of Romano-sceptic barbarians and the rise of nationalism, which makes the task of the European Union so difficult today.
‘The Dream of Rome’ by Boris Johnson is published by HarperPress on 6th February