Barbarians is a German historical war drama series on Netflix based on the real Battle of Teutoburg Forest in the year 9 AD. The story takes place during the Roman Empire’s occupation of Germania and follows as Arminius, Thusnelda and Folkwin, having united the sparring Germanic tribes, lead the rebellion against the Romans. With 6 episodes lasting around 45 minutes each, Barbarians is definitely a binge-worthy series for anyone with even a mild interest in this period of history.
Based on Homer’s “Iliad”, Troy is an epic historical war film portraying the famous battle between Troy and Sparta. After the Trojan prince Paris falls for the Spartan King Menelaus’ wife, Helen, he takes her back to Troy with him and subsequently sparks the fury of Menelaus’ brother, King Agamemnon, who wages war on Troy. Directed by Wolfgang Peterson and starring Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana, Troy is a truly entertaining film complete with great battle scenes, beautiful costumes and superb set design.
Set in Roman Egypt in 391 AD, Agora tells the story of Hypatia, a Greek philosopher, astronomer and mathematician who taught at the Platonic school in Alexandria. Whilst studying the mistakes of the geocentric model and the heliocentric model that challenges it, Hypatia, along with her students, tries to save the knowledge of classical antiquity which is threatened by the growing social and religious unrest in Alexandria. This movie, although not completely historically accurate, tells the important story of a pivotal moment in history and the woman at the centre of it all.
Hercules is an animated musical fiction film loosely based on the Greek hero Heracles (Roman name, Hercules). Hercules, having been turned into a demigod by the evil Hades, discovers his immortal heritage and goes on a quest to return to Olympus. Packed with witty jokes and great characters, this movie has timeless appeal…and a memorable soundtrack!
Rome is a historical drama set in the 1st century BC, during Ancient Rome’s transition from Republic to Empire. This television series focuses on the lives of both the affluent, powerful Roman families and two common men named Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo, who were fictionalized based on a pair of soldiers mentioned in Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico. If you’ve ever wanted to picture Julius Caesar’s civil war of 49 BC, his rise to dictatorship, his eventual fall, and the consequences of his assassination, this show on HBO is for you!
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Originally a musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was adapted to a musical comedy film in 1966. This movie tells the story of Pseudolus, a slave who desperately wants his freedom. When Pseudolus realizes that his master’s son has fallen in love with the girl next door, Pseudolus makes a deal: if he can get the girl, he can get his freedom. Although the movie is meant to make you laugh, it is also pretty historically accurate, providing a visual of what Rome was like during the reign of Emperor Nero. Here is a link to watch: https://archive.org/details/AFunnyThingHappenedOnTheWayToTheForum
Spartacus is another historical fiction television series based in Ancient Rome. This show is primarily about Spartacus himself, an actual slave and Thracian gladiator who led a major slave uprising against the Roman republic from 73 to 71 BC. From his time as an ally of the Romans, this series documents Spartacus’s journey leading the rebellion and living through its outcome. Spartacus is available to watch on the Starz network and through Amazon Prime.
Jason and the Argonauts
If you’re familiar with the story of the golden fleece, you must see this movie! Jason and the Argonauts is about Jason’s attempt to reclaim the throne from his uncle and undergoes a series of dangerous adventures and a quest to retrieve the golden fleece of his ancestors. This movie is an amazing representation of this legendary Greek myth about heroes, betrayal, and vengeance. Suspenseful with an unexpected outcome, Jason and the Argonauts is available to watch on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50DZWP-Pz88