Two thousand years ago, at the dawn of the first century, the Roman Empire was the world’s first and most enduring superpower. Through the experiences, memories and writings of the people who lived it, The Roman Empire in the First Century tells the story of that time — of the emperors, slaves, poets, and peasants who wrested order from chaos, built the most cosmopolitan society they world had ever seen, and created the foundation from which western civilization grew.

The Roman Empire in the First Century was filmed in Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and Germany.

3-Hour Series. National Primetime PBS Broadcast, 2001.



  • Produced and Directed by: Lyn Goldfarb and Margaret Koval
  • Series Producer: Patricia Asté
  • Writer: Margaret Koval
  • Director of Photography: Michael Chin
  • Editors: Douglas Cheek, Bill Haugse A.C.E.
  • Composer: Dana Kaproff
  • Narrator: Sigourney Weaver

Produced in association with Devillier Donegan Enterprises and PBS.


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Selected Reviews

“The four-hour documentary…creates a richly textured portrait of the age-and leads to intriguing comparisons between America now and Rome of 2,000 years ago.”

– Associated Press, 2001

“A new PBS special breathes fresh life into the topic by taking a more personal approach…What emerges is a compelling program that is notable for both its sweep and its attention to detail.”

– Kansas City Star, 2001

“If you like sex, violence and intrigue in your dynastic politics—and who doesn’t?—then PBS has a dandy four-part documentary for you, The Roman Empire in the First Century. With narration by Sigourney Weaver, producers Margaret Koval and Lyn Goldfarb have whipped up a zesty, nicely paced, eye catching rundown of the personalities, triumphs and agonies that gave the world its first superpower…the series is helped by sumptuous photography and re-creations of historic events.”

– Los Angeles Times, 2001

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