“The things that made them great were the same things that brought them down.”

Labor Day, September 5th, 9pm8c

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New York, NY, June 10, 2005 — For more than 500 years, Rome was the most powerful and advanced civilization the world had ever known, ruled by visionaries and tyrants whose accomplishments ranged from awe-inspiring to deplorable. But the primary elements of Rome’s rise to power were its consistently masterful use of engineering and labor, used to build cities and works of architecture that still stand today. Go inside the remarkably advanced culture of the Roman Empire as The History Channel presents ROME: ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE, premiering September 5th at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

The death of Julius Caesar, who found himself on the receiving end of twenty-three stab wounds on the floor of the Roman Senate in 44 B.C., touched off a 600-year succession of Roman dictators that was a historical rollercoaster ride of extraordinary proportions. These men pushed the Roman borders past unseen frontiers, built its cities to heights never before seen, and installed astonishing public works such as sewers, running water and heated pools. But the drive for power and growth wrought enemies, decay, and betrayal as well, as Rome often saw its leadership fall to the unfit hands of men who murdered enemies, oppressed citizens, and even burned Rome to the ground. ROME: ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE chronicles the rich history of the Roman Empire from the reign of Caesar in 44 B.C. to its eventual fall around 537 AD, detailing the remarkable works of architecture and technology in between that helped create Rome’s indelible mark on the world.

Highlights include:

· Digital re-creations of some of Rome’s greatest engineering feats, beginning with Caesar’s bridge across the Rhine River, a 1,000-foot long wooden passageway built in just ten days to allow thousands of troops to cross the river and conquer Germania.

· Shocking tales of the brutality of some of Rome’s most notorious leaders, including the teenage emperor Nero, whose reign included: presenting the severed head of an ex-wife to a future wife as a gift; kicking a wife to death while she was pregnant; murdering his mother; and allegedly burning much of Rome to the ground to make room for a new palace.

· The revolutionary Roman aqueduct system, which provided 200 million gallons of running water per day into Rome (as much as was provided to New York City as recently as 1985), and a sewer system built 2,500 years ago that still functions today.

· The creation of the Roman Highway, or Via Appia, the first modern highway in the world and the passageway that laid the foundation for Roman expansion.

· Explanation of one of the main secrets of Rome’s architectural proficiency: the use of durable, waterproof concrete that still sustains many of its key structures today.

· Detailed renderings and explanations of the masterworks of some of Rome’s most prolific emperors, including: Vespasian’s Roman Colosseum, which featured a retractable roof; Trajan’s Roman Forum, featuring a 160-store shopping mall; Hadrian’s Wall, protecting Rome’s borders in Brittania, and his Pantheon, which stood as the largest unsupported concrete dome on earth; and Caracalla’s Baths, a magnificent recreation area the size of a small town that featured, among other things, several heated pools.

· Historians’ ideas on the fall of Rome, ranging from theories that the population was subject to large-scale lead poisoning to the notion that the empire simply grew too big and complex to be centrally governed anymore.

Ancient Rome was an empire of architectural brilliance and modernized culture that still affects the world today. Its story is also one of the violence, vindictiveness, greed, and ego that contributed to its ultimate fall. ROME: ENGINEERING AN EMPIRE presents the full picture of one of the truly rich civilizations of all time.