Ancient Worlds has been a good series, it's a shame it's over now. He covered a lot of history in the 6 programmes, so it was inevitably a birds-eye view but that's not a bad thing, it brings out the themes more strongly than looking at the details does. I might get the book, tho I've a great stack of "improving" books to get to first, so I may wait a while :)
Afterwards we watched Pompeii: Life and Death in a Roman Town, which was a one-off programme shown on Tuesday about (obviously) Pompeii. It was presented by Mary Beard who's a Cambridge academic (at Newnham College, to be precise), and she was talking about what the remains and buildings in Pompeii can tell us about how Romans lived. Among other things she talked about what a group of skeletons found in cellar on the outskirts of the town told us about the health and lifestyles of both rich & poor Pompeiians, and showed us the jewellery and coins that had been found with one group (designated as the "rich" group). She also looked at the buildings, and the graffiti on the buildings (which she wasn't shy about directly translating, even the vulgar bits - refreshingly, even if I've spotted else-web people getting their knickers in a twist about such crass language from a woman *sigh*). And even visited the sewers - in Herculaneum rather than Pompeii - where a team has analysed what was eaten by the (middle-class) Romans in the apartment above, and found that the diet of the non-rich was still pretty varied. The class difference seems to have shown up by where people ate & in what style, rather than what they ate. It was an interesting programme & Beard had a great style - informal and very funny at times, but still informative.