Richard Miles explores the power and the paradox of the 'Greek Thing' - a blossoming in art, philosophy and science that went hand in hand with political discord, social injustice and endless war. He paints a fascinating picture of the internal and external pressures that fuelled this unique political and social experiment, one that would pioneer many of the political systems that we still live with today, from oligarchy to tyranny, from totalitarianism to democracy.
Our third and final episode looks at the Ottoman Empire’s slow decline in the face of Russian expansion and explores the complex alliances it would forge with European powers in an effort to survive. The map of Europe would be radically redrawn and the Ottoman Empire would come to a humiliating end, giving birth to the modern Turkish Republic.
North Korea is like no other tyranny on earth. It is Orwell's 1984 made reality. The regime controls the flow of information to its citizens, pouring relentless propaganda through omnipresent loud speakers. Free speech is an illusion: one word out of line and the gulag awaits. State spies are everywhere, ready to punish disloyalty and the slightest sign of discontent.
Historian Michael Scott continues his journey through Sicily, tracing the island's story through the arrival of the Muslim Arabs and then the Normans - times in which religious and cultural tolerance was the order of the day. Michael explores the dark days of the Spanish inquisition and then delves into the modern world - the unification with Italy and the rise of the Mafia. Today, Sicily faces a new challenge. The island is on the frontline of Europe's migrant crisis but the Sicilian response, formed in part by their own turbulent history, may well surprise many northern Europeans.
As early humans spread out across the world, their toughest challenge was colonizing the Americas — because a huge ice sheet blocked the route. It has long been thought that the pioneers, known as Clovis people, arrived about 13,000 years ago, but an underwater discovery in Mexico suggests people arrived earlier than previously thought — and by boat, not on foot. How closely related were these First Americans to today’s Native Americans? It’s a controversial matter, focused on Kennewick Man. Few other skeletons engender such strong feelings.
The Bronze Age had the first large urban centers, powerful kingdoms and armies, writing, and trade routes across vast areas. What led to the collapse of the city-state entities and the end of the Bronze Age? Possibly a perfect storm of uncontrollable factors that are still being researched.