TV Review – Rome, Rise and Fall of an Empire: Constantine

This series of documentaries is cycling though on TIVO and I caught this episode on the life of the Roman Emperor Constantine. The series picks several events in the life of the empire – some even before it starts, like Marius and Caesar.  The best part is that it actually has more coverage near the end – it has at least three episodes after 400 AD – one on Stilicho, Ricimer and Majorian, and one on Odoacer who puts and end to the Western Empire.

It is a good series, and it provides a lot of information while using reinactor skits for key battles and events to add some punch. You do start to recognize the foot soldiers as they reuse them, but the main characters are well cast.

The history is pretty accurate, although saying that Constantine’s rise to co-emperor was valid while Maxentius was a nasty usurper is a little forced.  The casting of Maxentius is great – he looks like that annoying guy in high school you always wanted to smack. He even looks a lot like the bust I saw on Wikipedia.

Aside from his initial nomination, the show doesn’t pull that many punches about Constantine’s ambition to be sole emperor and wiping out the others, and also his execution of his own son Crispus.

Worth watching for sure.

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