Alastair explores the extraordinary afterlife of the Greek masterpieces that changed the course of western culture. Succeeding centuries have found in ancient Greek art inspiration for their own ideals and ambitions. Filming in Italy, Germany, France and Britain, Alastair's investigation includes The Venus of Knidos, the first naked woman in Western art, the bronze horses of St Mark's in Venice which became a pawn in an imperial game and the naked discus thrower, the Discobolus, personally bought by Adolf Hitler and used by him as a symbol of Aryan supremacy.
In the concluding part, Dr Jago Cooper argues that it wasn't simply a clash of arms that destroyed the Inca, but a clash of world views. He travels from Peru to the far north of Inca territory in Ecuador to reveal how the great strengths of the empire suddenly became factors in its rapid demise. The Spanish conquest of the Inca destroyed one of the most remarkable empires in the world, yet the Inca legacy leaves a great deal for modern civilisations to learn from.
Simon explores modern Istanbul in search of the last desperate centuries of Christian Byzantium, in which the once glorious city was buffeted by enemies in both East and West, and yet still produced a golden artistic renaissance. This is story of the Christian crusaders who destroyed the city, and the Ottoman Muslims who restored it to life as an imperial capital after the epic siege of 1453.
The Aztecs have built a mighty empire that dominates Central America. But it will be destroyed because of a domino effect. 7,000 miles away in modern-day Turkey, the great trading centre of Constantinople is overrun by an Islamic army. Europeans race to find a new route to the spice-rich East. Instead, Christopher Columbus lands in America – and discovers gold. Within 30 years the Aztecs will be conquered.
The empowered human proposes that the pyramid builders were living in a Golden Age. They had more refined senses, and experienced higher levels of consciousness, which gave them superior abilities to those we have today. The sacred feminine was honored and existed in balance with the masculine.