Petronius: [after seeing Rome consumed by flames] Now indeed, Nero has his place in history.
Petronius: [in his dying letter to Nero] To Nero, Emperor of Rome, Master of the World, Divine Pontiff. I know that my death will be a disappointment to you, since you wished to render me this service yourself. To be born in your reign is a miscalculation; but to die in it is a joy. I can forgive you for murdering your wife and your mother, for burning our beloved Rome, for befouling our fair country with the stench of your crimes. But one thing I cannot forgive - the boredom of having to listen to your verses, your second-rate songs, your mediocre performances. Adhere to your special gifts, Nero - murder and arson, betrayal and terror. Mutilate your subjects if you must; but with my last breath I beg you - do not mutilate the arts. Fare well, but compose no more music. Brutalize the people, but do not bore them, as you have bored to death your friend, the late Gaius Petronius.
Petronius: [to Eunice] You ask why I do this. Because I love Nero, perhaps? He fills me with loathing!
Petronius: [to Nero] You will be worthy of the spectacle - as the spectacle is worthy of you.
Narrator: This is the Appian Way, the most famous road that leads to Rome, as all roads lead to Rome. On this road march the conquering legions. Imperial Rome is the center of the empire, the undisputed master of the world. But with this power inevitably comes corruption. No man is sure of his life, the individual is at the mercy of the state, murdering replaces justice. Rulers of conquered nations surrender their helpless subjects to bondage. High and low alike become Roman slaves, Roman hostages. There is no escape from the whip and the sword. That any force on earth can shake the foundations of this pyramid of power and corruption, of human misery and slavery, seems inconceivable. But thirty years before this day, a miracle occurred. On the Roman cross in Judea, a Man died to make men free, to spread the Gospel of love and redemption. Soon that humble cross is destined to replace the proud eagles that now top the victorious Roman standards. This is the story of that immortal conflict. In this, the summer of the year 64 A.D., in the reign of the antichrist known to history as the emperor Nero, the victorious fourteenth legion is on its way back to Rome under the command of one Marcus Vinicius.