Release Date: September 1976
10. Family Affairs
Season 1, Episode 2
It is now 9 BC. Livia has poisoned Agrippa and Tiberius is being forced to divorce his wife Vipsania to marry Julia. Neither Tiberius nor Julia are happy with this arrangement and Julia also confesses to Antonia, daughter of Mark Antony and wife of Tiberius’ popular brother Drusus Germanicus, that she believes Livia killed Marcellus. Drusus is all for a return to the Republic and Tiberius envies him because he is not stuck in Rome but spear-heading military campaigns in Northern Europe. However, Drusus dies after a fall from his horse. Livia is anxious that Augustus …
9. Queen of Heaven
Season 1, Episode 7
Tiberius embarks on a series of acts of debauchery, having sex with anybody he pleases, with Caligula a willing participant. Livia is shocked and Tiberius arranges to give her a horoscope for her birthday to suggest to her that she has not long to live. Augustus’s son Castor is perturbed at the free hand given Sejanus in bringing to trial anybody Tiberius feels is opposing him but Castor’s wife, Livilla, disagrees and is having an affair with Sejanus, ultimately poisoning Castor to get him out of the way. After Sejanus has forced him to marry Aelia, Sejanus’s adopted …
8. Old King Log
Season 1, Episode 13
AD 54: Claudius feels that Rome should return to be a Republic but nonetheless marries his niece Agripinilla and makes her son Nero co-heir with his own, teen-aged son Britannicus. Aware of a prophecy that Nero will indeed become sole emperor Claudius encourages Britannicus to flee abroad and then return to restore the Republic but the boy refuses and he is killed by Nero. Claudius resignedly allows himself to be poisoned by his wife and dies. Nero and Agripinilla look for his will but find only his chronicle which they burn. However Claudius and the Sibyl have the …
7. Fool’s Luck
Season 1, Episode 11
Claudius accepts the crown and spares all the conspirators except Cassius for killing Caligula’s wife and family. He also deifies Livia. Messalina, having borne him children, persuades him to let her rule alongside him and brings in senator Silanus as an aide, Silanus marrying Domitia, Messalina’s mother. However Messalina attempts to seduce Silanus, leading him to try and kill Claudius, for which he is executed. Not for nothing has Claudius’s friend Herod Agrippa warned him to trust nobody.
6. What Shall We Do About Claudius?
Season 1, Episode 4
Six years have passed. Germanicus has joined Tiberius in the Germanian campaign, to avenge the Roman legion slaughtered at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Claudius remains at home, researching his family history and despised for his weakness – he faints at the gladiatorial games. In the library Pollio the historian advises him to accentuate his deficiencies. That way he will not be seen as a threat in the murderous world about him and has a greater chance of survival. Augustus names Postumus as his successor but Livia aims to thwart him. She gets Livilla to invite…
5. Zeus, by Jove!
Season 1, Episode 9
Tiberius summons Caligula and his cousin Gemellus to Capri, declaring them his joint successors. Soon afterwards Tiberius is smothered by Macro, on the orders of Caligula, and his death is hailed joyfully by the citizens of Rome, unaware that worse is to come. Caligula, clearly unstable, sinks into a coma and on recovering, in addition to having Gemellus executed for trying to poison him, declares that he is the god Zeus and marries his sister Drusilla, declaring her a deity also. When Drusilla falls pregnant by him he cuts open her belly and eats the unborn child to …
4. A God in Colchester
Season 1, Episode 12
Whilst Claudius is invading Britain, Messalina is challenging the prostitute Scylla to see who can take the most partners, Messalina easily winning. She also takes the young senator Silius as her lover, forcing him to divorce his wife so that she can marry him whilst sending Claudius a divorce decree when he is away. She hopes that Rome will rally with her against her aging husband but she is mistaken as, on Claudius’s return, he is informed of her treachery and she and Silius are executed. At the same time, Claudius learns that Herod has died whilst also planning to …
3. Poison Is Queen
Season 1, Episode 5
Germanicus returns from Germania in triumph and he and Claudius catch up on family news – Claudius now has a son but is not enjoying married life. He tells Germanicus what Postumus had passed onto him about Livia’s murderous exploits and Germanicus in turn tells the emperor. Augustus is pleased with Claudius and apologizes to him for doubting his capabilities. As Augustus visits Postumus to restore him to his will, Livia works out what has happened and initially suspects Livilla, believing Claudius to be too stupid. Augustus is determined to survive any efforts to …
2. A Touch of Murder
Season 1, Episode 1
In 54 AD, elderly and lame from birth Emperor Claudius is writing his biography and the history of his family. He recalls an encounter with the Sibyl, who recognizes him from his stutter and tells him that his account will be famous in 1900 years time. Back in Rome in 24 BC, Emperor Augustus is celebrating the anniversary of the battle of Actium, when he and his friend Agrippa defeated Antony and Cleopatra. However, now Augustus is tipping his young nephew Marcellus as his heir. This displeases the emperor’s wife, the formidable Livia, who wants the succession to pass…
1. Hail Who?
Season 1, Episode 10
Caligula has not only made his horse a senator but has turned the palace into a brothel, selling off senators and their wives for sex. Although scared of him – and getting thrown into a river for his pains – Claudius is seemingly the only person who can put any sort of brake on the mad emperor, intervening to save mens’ lives on at least two occasions, the second when Caligula fails in his attempt to defeat Neptune and push back the waves, blaming his generals for his failure. Although Claudius has been living in peace with ex-prostitute Calpurnia Caligula thinks it …