Ancients Behaving Badly is an eight-part series that recounts the antics of rulers throughout history. Each episode looks at the actions of one ruler, educating the audience about the person through consultations with historians and animated shorts. Each episode concludes by charting the featured ruler’s actions on a ‘psycho graph’ where they are rated from goal driven killer to psychopathic murderer on one axis, and their individual pathologies measured on the other axis.
With the sole exception of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, the series only addresses men. The seven men featured in this series are: Caligula, the hedonistic Emperor of Rome from 37–41 CE; Atilla the Hun, the savage emperor of several European tribes; Julius Caesar, who transformed Rome into an empire; Alexander the Great, the youthful conqueror; Nero, a Roman Emperor widely considered responsible for the Great Fire of Rome; Hannibal, a Carthaginian military genius and Genghis Khan, ruler of the Mongol Horde.