In Charles’s words, this 1976 film is a “little sketch which gives, in a very short amount of time, an idea of what the rise and fall of the Roman Empire really looked like.”
Charles always had a love for Penguin historical atlases. This film gave him and Ray the opportunity to experiment with visually charting historical events and the passage of time. Atlas begins in 500 B.C. and ends with the sack of Rome in A.D. 476.
The Eames Office made the film at the last minute to coincide with celebrations for the United States bicentennial. While this momentous historical event provided the impetus for the Atlas, the Eameses later learned that 1976 also marked the two-hundredth anniversary of Edward Gibbon’s book Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.