Barbarians Rising


Series 1 - Episode 1 Resistance



With the honourable exception of those hosted by the likes of Mary Beard or Michael Scott, too many ancient history docs nowadays come across like an episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, with more emphasis on gore than analysis. That’s initially the case with this drama-doc series about the varying peoples who rebelled against ever-expanding Roman influence. The likes of Boudica, Alaric and Attila are to come, but we kick off with Hannibal of Carthage.

At the end of the third century BC, the North African general’s army dealt considerable blows to the Roman Republic, but never quite managed to break it; in the end, his own talents as a tactician were deployed against him. Comments from the likes of Wesley Clark and Jesse Jackson help to make up for occasionally clunky dialogue in the dramatised segments.


An epic 700-year battle for freedom begins as Hannibal builds a rebel alliance and conquers the Alps, and the shepherd Viriathus unleashes a wave of resistance.