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Hadrian, Rome and the Roman Empire

Updated Wednesday 13th August 2014

Reveal the stories of Hadrian's Wall and take a look at the legacy the Ancient Romans have left behind. 

 

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History & The Arts 

Hadrian's Rome

This free course, Hadrian's Rome, explores the city of Rome during the reign of the emperor Hadrian (117-38 CE). What impact did the emperor have on the appearance of the city? What types of structures were built and why? And how did the choices that Hadrian made relate to those of his predecessors, and also of his successors?

Free course
10 hrs
Hadrian: The Roamin' Emperor Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license activity icon

History & The Arts 

Hadrian: The Roamin' Emperor

Can you piece together strands of evidence to work out what motivated Hadrian to travel so extensively?

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History & The Arts 

Myth at the heart of the Roman Empire

How and why did ancient Romans use myth to validate their power? Emperor Augustus legitimised his rule by entwining his own ancestry with the mythical stories of Rome's foundation, and created a divine aura around Rome as capital of the vast empire. This album visits key emblems associated with Rome's beginnings: the Forum and the Capitoline Hill with its statue of the she-wolf and Romulus and Remus; the Emperor Augustus's palace and ceremonial altar, and the 17th Century D'Arpino frescos of foundation myths commissioned by Pope Innocent X to underpin his authority. By monumentalising and glorifying their real and legendary past, Romans painted their own history and this continues to encapsulate Roman identity today. This material forms part of The Open University course A330 Myth in the Greek and Roman worlds.

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History & The Arts 

Power and people in ancient Rome

The ancient Romans constructed some of the first ever purpose-built venues for mass-entertainment. How do these structures enhance the audience’s experience of the spectacle? This album looks at famous Roman buildings like the Colosseum, a venue designed to impress, where vast numbers of people congregated for gladiatorial combat, chariot-racing and theatrical shows. Structures such as the Circus Maximus and even the Baths were designed as striking symbols of civic pride, glorifying the power of the Emperors who built them. This material forms part of The Open University course A219 Exploring the classical world.

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30 mins

History & The Arts 

Buildings of ancient Rome

Rome: a majestic city with a rich past, spanning over two and a half thousand years. What remains to be seen of ancient Rome? As the heart of the Roman Empire, ancient Rome’s archaeological remains have been studied and admired for centuries, many being well-preserved due to their incorporation into newer structures. This album explores the sites of some of the republican temples in Rome’s Campus Martius, and relates them to the men who built them. The Roman Forum, centre of political and social activities, is examined for its importance in modelling city centres throughout the Roman world. This material forms part of The Open University course A219 Exploring the Classical World.

Audio
40 mins
OU on the BBC: Romans in Britain - Programme three - 'Hadrian's Wall: The Edge of the Empire' Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Romans in Britain - Programme three - 'Hadrian's Wall: The Edge of the Empire'

The third programme in the BBC/OU's Romans in Britain series examined Hadrian's Wall.

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Troy Story: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey Creative commons image Icon the Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license video icon

History & The Arts 

Troy Story: Homer's Iliad and Odyssey

Interested in Greek myths? We've condensed the epic narrative of Homer's poems the Iliad and the Odyssey into short animations voiced by the dulcet tones of Don Warrington.

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10 mins

History & The Arts 

The Birth of Comedy

Take the topical satire of Have I Got News For You and mix thoroughly with the adolescent humour of The Inbetweeners, add in a healthy dose of Monty Python-esque absurdity and finish off with lashings of songs and dances. Then serve it all up to a baying crowd in an atmosphere more like a football match than a theatre stage. Welcome to the world of Aristophanes, ‘the father of comedy’. The rise of democracy in ancient Greece produced one of the greatest ever flowerings of culture and gave birth to history, philosophy, science … and ---- gags. Theatre first appeared in Athens 2,500 years ago to educate and entertain the growing audience of citizens. However Greek theatre wasn’t a quiet entertainment but a rowdy, competitive sport involving teams of performers battling each other for prizes.

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The Persians by Aeschylus Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license video icon

History & The Arts 

The Persians by Aeschylus

In this Greek tragedy, Persian king Xerxes wages war against Greece but his navy is defeated at Salamis.

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