There was once a great emperor, who ruled over the most cosmopolitan and rich empire. This emperor built skyscrapers, palaces, giant statues and ruled for half a century. This isn’t the start of a fairytale, and it isn’t the story you might expect. This emperor was a woman... and she ruled a millennium and a half ago - in China.

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Perhaps no other single human has had such a lasting and powerful effect on the idea of civilisation. For his long reign, Augustus mostly wanted to be called ‘First Citizen’, but in effect he was one of the most powerful men to ever walk the Earth. He instituted a period of peace called the Pax Romana, something that was unknown in the brutal ancient world. He made laws, elevated culture, commissioned public works and vanquished all his enemies. By the time he died, he had brought about the creation of the greatest empire known to man.

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