Ancients Behaving Badly (2009)


Ancients Behaving Badly is an eight part series for History Television that applies a modern analytical take to some of classical history's most infamous rulers.

Evidence for the lives of these people comes from very limited and biased sources. Like all histories, they're written by the victors, whether the dynasty that usurped the line of Nero and Caligula and therefore had a vested interest in making them look bad, or the history of the Mongols, a hagiography to Genghis Khan written by his successors designed to make him look great.

Because of their bias, how much of these stories can we trust? Were these men as depraved or as noble as the stories suggest?

This series will answer these questions. Using physical testing, archaeology and a modern knowledge of the sciences from toxicology to ballistics we will re-appraise their lives to separate fact from fiction.

Historical experts will take us to the sites of some of the most pivotal or infamous events of their lives and we will piece together what really happened. Highly stylized two and a half D graphics will be used to bring the crucial and violent moments of their lives to life.

And psychiatric profiling will help us to piece together what was going on inside their heads and then see how they measure up to other brutal rulers on our unique Ancients Behaving Badly Psycho-graph.

By looking at these tyrants with a modern eye, the series aims to show them as real people, who behaved and thought and acted in ways that we can recognize. We will test the stories told about them in the crucible of the modern world. (More details at

Episodes included: Caligula, Attila The Hun, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Nero, Hannibal, Genghis Khan and Cleopatra

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