Rome had occupied Jerusalem for a century when Jesus of Nazareth was sentenced to death for revolutionary teachings. Simon from Cyrene helped carry his cross. Crucifixions were common but this death would transform the world as Christ's friends spread his message.
Managing Ancient Rome (02:39)
Ancient Rome was the largest city on Earth and more densely populated than modern Manhattan. Emperor Claudius had to please the populace and legitimize his rule. Drought created food shortages; riots ensued.
Roman Aqueduct (03:07)
Engineers used concrete, a new building material, to create a 45 mile route transporting water to the city. Claudius named it Aqua Claudia after himself. Volcanic ash was a key ingredient. Today, two thirds of people live in concrete buildings.
Roman Blueprint (02:32)
The Aqua Claudia took 14 years to build and delivered 250 million gallons of water per day. The city featured apartment blocks, a sewer system, a police force, fire brigades, a postal service, libraries, and temples—inspiring modern cities.
British Resistance (02:05)
In 61 A.D., Romans landed on Britain under General Suetonius Paulinus. Druids had led a guerilla war against Roman occupation for 20 years. Roman writers claimed they practiced human sacrifice.
Roman Economic and Military Model (03:35)
Rome wanted Britain's precious metals to help fund continual expansion; military spending comprised 50% of the budget. Learn about the first professional army's weaponry and hear a description of Paulinus' men in combat against the Britons.
Roman Games (04:34)
After defeating British resistance, Roman soldiers built roads and towns modeled after Rome. Throughout the empire, citizens attended spectacles of violence. Gladiators were revered but died young. In 166 A.D., Roman merchants traveled to the Chinese Empire.
Silk Road (04:20)
Roman merchants traveled to China in search of silk, a luxury item. They met with Emperor Huan, who guarded the manufacturing process as a state secret—ensuring trade with the West. Hear how silk is made.
Spreading the Gospel (01:54)
Trade and ideas flowed along the Silk Road. Four years after Jesus' death, Paul fled the Romans in Damascus and escaped over the walls.
Paul's Message (02:33)
The Apostle preached salvation and wrote letters to fellow Christians throughout the Roman Empire—delivered via the Roman road network. Early Christianity demonstrated the power of ideas.
Early Christianity (03:43)
The religious movement attracted poor people, slaves, and women; converts were considered enemies of the state for refusing to honor Roman gods. Perpetua was a new mother and a subversive. She was arrested, charged with treason, and sentenced to death.
Perpetua's Martyrdom (03:05)
The Christian convert recorded her final days in a diary. Her family begged her to recant her faith and swear allegiance to the Roman Emperor, but she refused. She was executed in the arena at Carthage.
Constantine's Conversion (03:55)
Christian martyrs increased the religion's popularity; it became legal. In 337, the Roman Emperor was baptized on his death bed, inspiring Constantinople’s foundation. Today, nearly one third of the world is Christian—a legacy of the Roman Empire. (Credits)
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