DATELINE: Rome’s Unbuilt Day
You have to love Dr. Richard Miles, not your usual host of these archaeological dig histories. We dig him and are dismayed that he gave up a media career to stay in academia. If you want history with a twist of lemon, try Carthage: the Roman Holocaust.
Miles is your quintessential media hunk—with credentials to kill for: Cambridge University, notable scholarship, and a presence to walk among the ruins with sharp observations.
Make no mistake, Dr. Miles has an axe to grind: he does not like the Roman Empire. Indeed, what they did to Carthage he compares to Hiroshima. They obliterated a city brick-by-brick for defying Roman authority. They attempted genocide on a people after 150 years of war. Talk about overkill.
Wearing an assortment of t-shirts and jeans, Richard Miles stops his perambulations now and then to smirk into the camera with one of his zinger one-liners.
Miles walks miles and miles before the end of this saga.
He is not shy about gruesome details either—if you want the uncivilized and unvarnished tale of two Punic Wars.
Dr. Miles puts emphasis on two individuals, one from Carthage and the other from Rome. They turn out to be metaphoric representations of the mind of ancient political and military philosophy: which is not too far removed from contemporary times,
In the corner of Carthage you have Hannibal. Miles shares many little-known details about the man with elephants at the gates of Rome. He was the bogeyman that terrified Rome for the rest of the Empire’s length. He was their worst nightmare come true.
On the other hand, you have the master race Roman version of Hitler in Cato, the jingoistic and nationalistic white supremacist of the Seven Hills. He wanted only the utter destruction, annihilation, and decimation of the arch-rival for Rome.
You can view this priceless documentary in two parts or one long one on Prime. Alas, Dr. Miles forsook a career in TV and moved on the Australian and the University of Sydney where he seems to prefer academic administration.
In our experience, there is not much difference between the Roman Empire and college admin than in a Roman holocaust.