Many people believe the Hiroshima atomic bomb instantly incinerated nearly everyone in the Japanese city. That was true at ground zero, but not everywhere. Hiroshima government officials have been tirelessly collecting records on those killed to find out how they died. Using this "big data", NHK created a visualization of the movements of the 557,000 victims of the 6th August 1945 attack. Some did indeed perish instantly. Others burned to death in collapsed buildings. But what about the people who died in a strange "donut zone of death" days after the bombing and in areas more than 2 kilometers from ground zero? This documentary goes beyond big data to provide heart-rending accounts from people close to victims and survivors, revealing the true story of what happened on that dark day more than 70 years ago.
2017 • History
Drama-documentary about Winston Churchill's extraordinary experiences during the Great War, with intimate letters to his wife Clementine allowing the story to be told largely in his own words. Just 39 and at the peak of his powers running the Royal Navy, Churchill in 1914 dreamt of Napoleonic glory, but suffered a catastrophic fall into disgrace and humiliation over the Dardanelles disaster. The film follows his road to redemption, beginning in the trenches of Flanders in 1916, revealing how he became the 'godfather' of the tank and his forgotten contribution to final victory in 1918 as Minister of Munitions. Dark political intrigue, a passionate love story and remarkable military adventures on land, sea and air combine to show how the Churchill of 1940 was shaped and forged by his experience of the First World War.
2013 • History
Egypt's Great Pyramid may be humanity's greatest achievement: a skyscraper of stone built without computers or complex machinery. This super-sized tomb has fascinated historians and archaeologists for centuries, but exactly how the ancient Egyptians finished the monument and fitted its two and a half million blocks in a quarter of a century has long remained an enigma. Today the secrets of the pyramid are finally being revealed thanks to a series of new findings. At the foot of the monument, archaeologists are uncovering the last surviving relic of the pharaoh Khufu, whose tomb it is: a huge ceremonial boat buried in flat-pack form for more than 4500 years. It's a clue that points to the important role that ships and water could have played in the pyramids' construction. This documentary follows investigations that reveal how strong the link between pyramids and boats is. It's a story of more than how Egypt built a pyramid: it's about how the pyramid helped build the modern world.
2017 • History
It's known as the Miracle of Dunkirk: in May 1940, approximately 340,000 Allied troops were trapped with their backs to the sea. Sitting ducks, the troops were subjected to an endless barrage of bombs and bullets as the Luftwaffe apparently bombed at will. The situation seemed hopeless. Then a fleet of ships appeared on the horizon, mostly sent by the Royal Navy but joined by smaller craft captained by plucky civilians. The soldiers were rescued from the beaches and taken safely back to Britain. They would later return to win the war. But behind the Miracle of Dunkirk there's another, hidden story. Soldiers and mariners, angry that they'd apparently been left undefended against the Luftwaffe, blamed the RAF. Historians have long viewed Dunkirk as the RAF's poorest hour. But now, recently released MoD files reveal that, far from being absent, the RAF were suffering massive losses supporting the evacuation.
This is the glorious story of the Hittites - the most powerful people in the Near East of their time. Narrated by Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons, "The Hittites" brings the fascinating history of this mighty empire to life with expert interviews, stunning cinematography, dramatic reenactments, and visual effects. Highlights include a breathtaking recreation of the controversial battle of Kadesh that decimated the armies of Egypt's Pharaoh Ramesses II. Based on the actual words of the Hittites, deciphered from ancient clay tablets excavated in the 20th century, their story unfolds as beautifully as it written almost 3500 years earlier.
2003 • History
Over 60,000 years ago, the first modern humans—people physically identical to us today—left their African homeland and entered Europe, then a bleak and inhospitable continent in the grip of the Ice Age. But when they arrived, they were not alone: the stocky, powerfully built Neanderthals had already been living there for hundred of thousands of years. So what happened when the first modern humans encountered the Neanderthals? Did we make love or war?
2013 • History
Unearth over 2000 years of history deep below the streets of London On the surface, London is a buzzing, modern metropolis--but underneath lies a secret, hidden world, all but forgotten by the millions of people above. Secrets of Underground London uncovers 2000 years of subterranean history: a world of ancient caves and perfectly preserved Roman remains; mysterious rivers and gruesome plague pits; impenetrable vaults and top-secret bunkers. As we dig deep, we'll unearth some of the most extraordinary stories of the darkest side of the city.
2014 • History
Vikings cast members Katheryn Winnick and Alyssa Sutherland join leading experts in an investigation of the different roles women played within Norse society-and they are surprised at what they discover and in Ragnar and His Sons,Vikings creator Michael Hirst, actor Clive Standen and a host of experts sort through historic accounts, Icelandic sagas and archaeological discoveries to gain insight into the real lives of Ragnar Lothbrok and his famous sons.
Actor Clive Standon travels across Europe with Viking experts to discover how the Vikings were able to invade England and France. In Rise of the Pagans,Vikings actors Clive Standen and Maude Hirst travel to Scandinavia to explore the pagan beliefs and warrior culture of the Vikings-and dispel myths about their violent society.
On June 8th 793 Europe changed, forever. The famous monastery at Lindisfarne on the Northumbrian coast was suddenly attacked and looted by seafaring Scandinavians. The Viking Age had begun. Professor Alice Roberts examines how dramatically the story of the Vikings has changed on TV since the 1960s. She investigates how our focus has shifted from viewing them as brutal, pagan barbarians to pioneering traders, able to integrate into multiple cultures. We also discover that without their naval technology we would never have heard of the Vikings, how their huge trading empire spread, and their surprising legacy in the modern world.
Elvis Presley paid $4 to record two songs for his mother and the rest, as they say, is history. But without Elvis, would rock and roll have gone the same route? And how have the many iterations of rock and roll developed and changed our taste and culture since the 1950's?
The choices that Kong Qui, known in the West as Confucius, made during his career as a civil servant and administrator influenced an entire civilization. What if Kong Qui had been as opportunistic and corrupt as other officials? How might the fate of China and its worldview be changed?
A series of battles in France had an impact on modern day Europe and the fates of three countries down to our modern century. What might have happened if Richard the Lionheart had not been wounded? Or Philippe Auguste of France had fled the battlefield?
What if Alexander had not died at the age of 32? What if he had listened to advisors and returned to Macedonia instead of going on his worldwide conquest? How does the legacy of ideals and leadership left from Alexander's time resonate today?
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.
Trade, and in particular trade in luxury goods, drove the commerce economies of the Bronze Age. This is the time when the first super powers in history, Egypt and Mesopotamia, emerge and dominate the "world" stage of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas and surrounding areas.
In the region that includes the Mediterranean, the Aegean, Mesopotamia and Egypt, the Bronze Age arrived about 3000 BC and lasted nearly 2000 years. What singled out this period and the new societies and cities that emerged? The development of formal writing is one among several important factors.
After examining the evidence presented in the series, it seems clear the dates given by traditional Egyptology don t fit. Carefully considering cycles of time through gold, silver, bronze and iron ages of Plato's Great Year, a new chronology emerges that illuminates Ancient Egypt.
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.
Deciphering the meaning of strange symbols in Egyptian art gives insight into ancient knowledge of sacred cosmology. A new way of interpreting hieroglyphics is presented, indicating that the ancients had sophisticated understanding of physics, biology and celestial mechanics. The team goes on an expedition into the open desert in search of a remote site of extreme antiquity called nabta playa. Here, Neolithic stone circles were found marking the motion of the same stars as were tracked in pharonic civilization. The possible connection is discussed.
In this episode, evidence that the Ancient Egyptians used high level technology to construct pyramids and temples is shown. Scientists discuss the source of this power and its application in the ancient world. Our science is just beginning to grasp what the ancients clearly understood.
This episode raises questions about the purpose of the pyramids, challenging the story traditional Egyptology tells. See rare footage of six distinct pyramid sites near the Great Pyramid, with evidence of superior technology and sophisticated knowledge of science and the cosmos.
The Industrial Revolution and the rise of modern warfare have roots in the depths of time—in the natural process that enriches the soil. How do prehistoric forests link to the development of steam engines, and the rise of modern industry?
Columbus has no idea that because of Earth’s geology and geography he won't get to his destination…or how that epic failure will make his voyage one of the most influential expeditions in the history of humankind. Let's add an asteroid hitting the earth billions of years ago and connect the dots...
About 8,000 BC, in a few select places some people begin to experiment with a new way of harvesting energy. They’re growing their own crops. An act so simple, it’s hard to believe it will kick start a revolution. But it will. These are the first seeds, literally, of the rise of civilization.
Up to one million gladiators are thought to have died in arenas across the Roman Empire. Seventy-five were recently found in a single cemetery in York. Two thousand years ago, York was a Roman stronghold, a staging ground for the push against the Scots. Apart from ancient Italy, Roman Britain had the highest density of gladiatorial arenas in Europe. As part of a routine building inspection in the outskirts of York, archaeologists discover an ancient Roman burial site. It soon became apparent the find was anything but routine. Of total 80, 75 of the skeletons were men, a much higher majority than would be expected in a family grave site. The height, build and signs of musculature made the men much bigger than that of the average Roman man. A closer inspection of the bones also revealed a number of cut marks and fractures, evidence the men were no strangers to violence. Most disturbing of all most of the men had been brutally decapitated. Could the men be gladiators?
2010 • History
Cleopatra was one of the most famous women who ever lived, yet she remains an enigma as most of her world has long since vanished. Roman sources portray her as a seductress but by examining evidence from all over Egypt a different picture emerges. With drama and CGI we bring back to life some of amazing monuments that made her city of Alexandria great and construct a new 3D image of the woman herself.
Over 100 years ago an unidentified mummy was found lying alongside some of the most famous pharaohs in Egyptian history but his face is locked in an eternal scream. In 1881, a bizarre mummy was unwrapped by a team of Victorian Egyptologists. Known today as the Screaming Man or Man E, he was very different from previously discovered royal mummies. What caused this mans haunting expression? Why wasn't he mummified according to custom? Find out what makes him different: Unknown Man E is nameless and, according to Egyptian beliefs, unable to move on to the afterlife because his body, wrapping, and coffin were left completely unmarked.
The Scorpion King was a mythical Egyptian ruler who predated the pharaohs. Recent developments, such as the excavation of the king's tomb, have revealed surprising new details about early Egyptian civilization. This program details the continuing research into the earliest period of Egyptian history that was inspired originally by discoveries such as the Narmer palette and the Scorpion mace head. The combined efforts of a number of archaeologists have pushed the boundaries of Egyptian civilization back into a period previously considered prehistoric. As a result some of the most fundamental beliefs about Egyptian civilization require a re-think. Is there more behind the mythical and violent leader known simply as the Scorpion King? New evidence suggests that his achievements may have layed the foundations of Egypt. Learn more about the king who likely united ancient Egypt, organized the world's earliest phonetic writing system, and inspired the creation of the pyramids.
The search for the tomb of the greatest warrior who ever lived is a 2000-year-old mystery. The film searches all over Egypt and beyond and discovers how his body has been used as a political tool throughout the ages. Drama and CGI bring Alexander back to life and as we follow the clues we finally may have solved the mystery.
The pyramids of Egypt are the most enduring monuments of the ancient world. From underground burial chambers they developed into soaring structures that revolutionized architecture. This film reveals the name of the man who designed the very first pyramid and shows how his ideas were refined and perfected, until pyramids eventually fell out of fashion altogether. The Egyptian pyramids have fascinated us for thousands of years. Who built them, how were they built and why? Experts across Egypt are discovering new information that sheds light on the Ancient Egyptians' pyramids and how they evolved. One theory poses that King Sneferu's Bent Pyramid was not a mistake. Recent discoveries show how the pyramids evolved from a mound of rocks and sand to flat, rectangular mastabas, to the pyramid shape, so famously exhibited in the Great pyramid of Khufu and beyond. Now the archaeology is being taken a stage further with new technology. The film shows how the next generation of archaeologists are finally piecing together the secret pyramid code which might have been used by the Egyptians.
Was the Sphinx originally built with a lion's head and later remodeled? Dr. Zahi Hawass presents the latest theories and evidence in the mystery of the Sphinx. Egypt is a land filled with hidden treasures, buried secrets, and centuries of old mysteries left unsolved. Perhaps the greatest of these is the Sphinx, no one knows for sure who built it, or when. This Sphinx, a lion with the face of a pharaoh, towers above the Giza Plateau. It is a four-and-half thousand -year old puzzle, but now the latest science is offering new clues.
There is one Egyptian pharaoh who towers above the rest: Ramesses II. A formidable warrior, builder, lover and statesman, he declared himself a living god. Archeologists look again at Ramesses, in the hope of finding out more and explores his claim to be called the "Great". This instalment charts the life of Rameses II, the longest-lived pharaoh, who is widely regarded as Egypt's greatest ruler. New discoveries have shed more light on the king's successful reign, while Egyptologists continue to debate the nature of his character and the political, military and religious achievements of Rameses II.
Built over 500 years, spanning nearly two and a half miles and holding 63 tombs, Egypt's Valley of the Kings is a staggering, complex set of enigmas locked beneath the sands for 3,500 years. What drove Egypt's greatest pharaohs to seek out this secluded valley? How did the ancient craftsmen achieve such feats of engineering? And why was this sacred site finally abandoned? Join National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Zahi Hawass and a team of experts as they uncover new evidence about how early engineers were able to construct the elaborate structures of tombs and chambers.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the impact of the Atlantic trading world, giving rise to powerful new kingdoms, but also transatlantic slave trade. Learn of the revolutionary movements of the 18th & early 19th centuries, including the advent of the Sokoto Caliphate. In the final part Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the dynamism of 19th century Africa, the “Scramble” by European powers for its riches, and the defiant and successful stand of uncolonized Ethiopia.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. uncovers the complex trade networks and advanced educational institutions that transformed early north and West Africa from deserted lands into the continent’s wealthiest kingdoms and learning epicentres. In Part 4 Gates explores the power of Africa’s greatest ancient cities, including Kilwa, Great Zimbabwe and Benin City, whose wealth, art and industrious successes attracted new European interest and interaction along the continent’s east and west coasts.
Parts 1 and 2. Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores Africa's rich history. Journey with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Kenya, Egypt and beyond as he discovers the origins of man, the formation of early human societies and the creation of significant cultural and scientific achievements on the African continent. In part 2: Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. charts the ancient rise of Christianity & Islam, whose economic & cultural influence stretched from Egypt to Ethiopia. Learn of African religious figures like King Lalibela, an Ethiopian saint, and Menelik, bringer of the Ark of the Covenant.
Dr Spencer Wells retraces the footsteps of 200 random New Yorkers and proves they are all cousins. On a single day on a single street, with the DNA of just a couple of hundred random people, National Geographic Channel sets out to trace the ancestral footsteps of all humanity. Narrated by Kevin Bacon, The Human Family Tree travels to one of the most diverse corners of the world -- Queens, N.Y. -- to demonstrate how we all share common ancestors who embarked on very different journeys. The goal: to retrace our ancestral footprints and prove we are all cousins in the "family of man." Regardless of race, nationality or religion, all of us can trace our ancient origin back to the cradle of humanity, East Africa. What did our collective journey look like, and where did it take your specific ancestors? At what point in our past did we first cross paths with the supposed strangers living in our neighborhood? Now, in The Human Family Tree, the people of this quintessential American melting pot find out that their connections go much deeper than a common ZIP code. Cutting edge science, coupled with a cast of New Yorkers – each with their own unique genetic history - will help paint a picture of these amazing journeys. Ultimately, Man's First Migrations answers some of humanity's most burning questions, such as who we are and where we come from, and forces us to change how we think not only about our relationships with our neighbours, but ourselves.
Richard Miles explores the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, which at the height of its power, extended the benefits of its civilisation to a staggering 60 million subjects and citizens, from Hadrian's Wall to the banks of the Euphrates. The archaeologist and historian also learns how the expansion of Christianity filled a gap left by the Roman multi-god belief system, eventually leading to the instalment of Constantine as the first Christian emperor
How did an insignificant cluster of Latin hill villages on the edge of the civilised world become the greatest empire the world has known? In the fifth programme of the series, archaeologist and historian Richard Miles examines the phenomenon of the Roman Republic, from its fratricidal mythical beginnings, with the legend of Romulus and Remus, to the all too real violence of its end, dragged to destruction by war lords like Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar. Travelling to Sicily and North Africa, Richard tells the story of Rome's century-long struggle for dominance with the other great regional power, Carthage. It was a struggle that would end with the total destruction of this formidable enemy and the transformation of landlubber Rome into a seapower, and the Republic into an Empire. But with no-one left to beat, the only enemy that Rome had left was itself.
In Richard Miles's epic story of civilization, there have been plenty of examples of the great men of history, but none came close to the legend of Alexander of Macedon, known to us as 'the Great'. Uniting the fractious Greek city-states, he led them on a crusade against the old enemy, Persia, and in little more than a decade created an empire that stretched from Egypt in the west to Afghanistan in the east. But it was Alexander's successors, the Hellenistic Kings, who had to make sense of the legacy of this charismatic adventurer. By knuckling down to the hard graft of politics, taxation and public works, they created something far more enduring than a mere legend - they built a civilization. Richard traces Alexander's battle-scarred route through Turkey, Syria and Lebanon to Egypt and ultimately to the western Punjab, Pakistan, where he discovers fascinating traces of a city where Greek west and Buddhist east were united in an intriguing new way.
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.
Archaeologist and historian Richard Miles looks at the winners, losers and survivors of the great Bronze Age collapse, a regional catastrophe that wiped out the hard-won achievements of civilisation in the eastern Mediterranean about 3,000 years ago. In the new age of iron, civilisation would re-emerge, tempered in the flames of conflict, tougher and more resilient than ever before.
Archaeologist and historian Richard Miles explores the roots of one of the most profound innovations in the human story - civilisation - in the first episode of an epic series that runs from the creation of the first cities in Mesopotamia some 6,000 years ago, to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. Starting in Uruk, the 'mother of all cities', in southern Iraq, Richard travels to Syria, Egypt, Anatolia and Greece, tracing the birth and development of technology and culture.
The Roman army turns its attention to an island of rich resources, powerful tribes and druids, and advanced military equipment - Britain. This episode tells the story of the Celts' last stand against the Roman army - a revolt led by another great leader, the warrior queen Boudicca.
In episode two, we discover the golden age of the La Tene Celtic warrior and reveal how their world extended as far as central Turkey. But by the middle of the first century BC, the Celts were under threat from an expanding Roman Empire, and the Gallic warrior Vercingetorix would challenge Julius Caesar in an epic battle that would shape the future of Europe.
In the first episode, we see the origins of the Celts in the Alps of central Europe and relive the moment of first contact with the Romans in a pitched battle just north of Rome - a battle that the Celts won and that left the imperial city devastated.
With the help of a team of experts and the latest in 3D scanning technology, Alexander Armstrong, along with Dr Michael Scott, explores the hidden underground treasures that made Rome the powerhouse of the ancient world. In his favourite city, he uncovers a lost subterranean world that helped build and run the world's first metropolis and its empire. From the secret underground world of the Colosseum to the aqueducts and sewers that supplied and cleansed it, and from the mysterious cults that sustained it spiritually to the final resting places of Rome's dead, Xander discovers the underground networks that serviced the remarkable world above.
2015 • History
In 480BC, the Greek army, led by 300 Spartan warriors, awaited the onslaught of the Persian Empire's war machine. Discover what happened at the bloody Battle of Thermopylae. This spectacular two hour documentary tells the amazing true story of the 300 Spartan warriors who so selflessly defended their country against the mighty Persian army, estimated at being a million strong for almost 7 days. This is the real story of the most famous last stand in history. At the height of the Persian-Greek war, Xerxes, King of Persia, intent on conquering all of Greece, led his mighty army into battle. But what awaited them was not to be anticipated. For seven days the King of Sparta Leonidas accompanied by just 300 Spartan warriors and a number of Greek regulars held off the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae, so that the Greek army would have time to mobilise. Against impossible odds, the Spartans held the narrow pass, inflicting shocking casualty numbers on the Persians untill every last Spartan was slain. This program is visually stunning with breathtaking dramatisations and graphics helping to bring the true story of the Spartans last stand to life and tell the real story behind what happened at the pass at Thermopylae, which is still used in military academies and by tactitians around the world today. Spartans never retreated. That's a fact. Or is it? But, putting aside the myths and legends surrounding the 300 Spartans, this documentary, which involves the most accurate, real-life ancient battle scenes ever filmed, takes a detailed look at The Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, leading to the last stand of the 300 Spartans, other Greeks and the Great Spartan King, Leonidas. The legend passed down is that Leonidas went to Thermopylae with a picked band of 300 Spartans to defend the narrow pass with units from other Greek cities. Then on the 3rd day of the battle, when he found out he was being surrounded, he sent most of his troops away and covered their retreat with a last stand because, again, Spartans never retreated. Had this heroic stand by the 300 Spartans never occurred, Western Civilization would not have flourished as we know it today.
2007 • History
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.
Historian Michael Scott begins his journey through Sicily on the slopes of Mount Etna, Europe's largest active volcano. For the ancient Greeks, the island was a land of gods and monsters - a dangerous and unpredictable world. Michael discovers how 3,000 years ago, the Greeks began to settle on Sicily's east coast - planting their olives and vines and building great city states that soon came to rival even Athens itself. He learns how great battles were fought between the Greeks and the Carthaginians for control of the island. How the Romans made it their first foreign colony and stripped Sicily of its forests to plant vast fields of grain.
Jago explores the ancient civilisation of Teotihuacan that exploded into a position of dominance in the ancient Americas almost 2,000 years ago. For hundred of years this great city state was the biggest in the New World. Its rulers built monumental pyramids and temples and then went on to build a vast empire that was maintained through force. Yet the identity of the people who led this civilisation remains a mystery.
Jago explores the forgotten people of ancient Costa Rica, who built a series of spectacular settlements amongst the rivers and volcanoes of central America and whose enigmatic legacy - including hundreds of mysterious, giant stone spheres - is only now being unravelled by archaeologists.
The Taino people of the Caribbean were the first people of the Americas to greet Christopher Columbus. But, as Jago reveals, they had a multicultural society complete with drug-infused rituals, strange skulls and amazing navigation. In deep caverns and turquoise seas, Jago uncovers their hidden history.
Jago begins by journeying through southern Mexico to investigate the rise and fall of America's oldest civilisation, the Olmec, who thrived over 3,000 years ago. He encounters colossal stone heads and the oldest rubber balls in the world and descends deep inside an ancient cave network in search of a were-jaguar.
From the depths of the greatest tomb on earth comes an epic new story that could rewrite history, revealing for the first time the true origin of one of the world's most powerful nations: China. In this landmark film, historian Dan Snow, physical anthropologist Dr Alice Roberts and scientist and explorer Dr Albert Lin investigate a series of earth-shattering discoveries at the mighty tomb guarded by the Terracotta Warriors, a site two hundred times bigger than Egypt's Valley of the Kings and the final resting place of China's first emperor. Mobilising the latest technology, delving into some of the oldest texts, enlisting world experts and employing forensic science, together the three reveal an explosive secret from the foundations of the Chinese empire.
2016 • History
For the first time, we are able to show full details of the excavation of a hidden tunnel, sealed and forgotten for 1,800 years, beneath a pyramid in Teotihuacan, Mexico. The ongoing excavation is producing a flood of discoveries that are not only shedding fresh light on the religious and intellectual life of the people who lived here, but also radically changing the way we think civilization began.
2014 • History
The fall of Napoleon, a key defining moment in global history, which saw him taken to the remote island of St Helena in the Atlantic Ocean in 1815 as a prisoner of the British. It had taken just a year for the monarchies of Europe, the anti-Napoleonic powers of the world, to destroy him. He trusted the Tsar of Russia - but the Tsar reneged on their deal. He sought revenge by invading Russia in 1812 - but the campaign was a disaster. He sought to defend France against her enemies - but made some grave and ultimately suicidal military misjudgements. Ever since the revolution had taken place in France in 1789, the monarchist nations of the world were out to destroy Napoleon. At the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, they were granted their ultimate opportunity.
The transformation of a political leader of the French to Emperor and global statesman, from a son of the French Revolution to husband of the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, the most powerful, conservative, monarchist nation on earth. It features the Battle of Austerlitz, one of the greatest military encounters of the 19th century, the rise of a Napoleonic Empire - at its peak numbered over 40 million people - and the supreme meritocracy that was the Napoleonic regime.
From lowly Corsican Army officer to first consul of France, this episode charts the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte to leader of the French nation in the late 1790s. It tells of Napoleon's military triumphs in Italy, Eqypt and against anti-revolutionaries on the streets of Paris, his marriage to Josephine Beauharnais and leadership of the military coup of 1799 that swept him into power.
By 1800 the East India Company had grown from a tiny band of merchants into a colossal trading empire. But scandal and corruption in the 18th century had led to a curtailment of its powers by the British government. The state now controlled the company's affairs in India and, throughout the 19th century, would chip away at its remaining powers and trading privileges. The company was transformed from a trading enterprise into the rulers of India, and governed vast swathes of the subcontinent on behalf of the British Crown. Its territory expanded enormously and an empire was born. As the company traded opium to a reluctant Chinese Empire, in India a dangerous chasm opened up between the British rulers and the Indian people. Alienated and disaffected, significant numbers of the company's massive army of Indian soldiers finally revolted and the Company's handling of the mutiny was its final undoing. In 1858 British India passed into Queen Victoria's hands and the Raj was born.
400 years ago British merchants landed on the coast of India and founded a trading post to export goods to London. Over the next 200 years, their tiny business grew into a commercial titan. Using the letters and diaries of the men and women who were there, this documentary tells the story of the East India Company, which revolutionised the British lifestyle, sparked a new age of speculation and profit and by accident created one of the most powerful empires in history. Yet inexorable rise ended in ignominy. Dogged by allegations of greed, corruption and corporate excess, by the 1770s the company's reputation was in tatters. Blamed for turning its back as millions died in the Bengal famine, and thrown into crisis by a credit crunch in Britain, the world's most powerful company had run out of cash, sparking a government intervention.
In the final part of his personal account of Britain's empire, Jeremy Paxman tells the extraordinary story of how a desire for conquest became a mission to improve the rest of mankind, especially in Africa, and how that mission shaded into an unquestioning belief that Britain could - and should - rule the world. In Central Africa, he travels in the footsteps of David Livingstone who, though a failure as a missionary, became a legendary figure - the patron saint of empire who started a flood of missionaries to the so-called 'Dark Continent'. In South Africa, Paxman tells the story of Cecil Rhodes, a man with a different sort of mission, who believed in the white man's right to rule the world, laying down the foundations for apartheid. The journey ends in Kenya, where conflict between white settlers and the African population brought bloodshed, torture and eventual withdrawal.
Jeremy Paxman continues his personal account of Britain's empire, looking at how the empire began as a pirates' treasure hunt, grew into an informal empire based on trade and developed into a global financial network. He travels from Jamaica, where sugar made plantation owners rich on the backs of African slaves, to Calcutta, where British traders became the new princes of India. Jeremy then heads to Hong Kong, where British-supplied opium threatened to turn the Chinese into a nation of drug addicts - leading to the brutal opium wars, in which Britain triumphed and took the island of Hong Kong as booty. Unfair trading helped spark the independence movement in India, led by Mahatma Gandhi; in a former cotton spinning town in Lancashire, Jeremy meets two women who remember Gandhi's extraordinary visit in 1931.
He continues his personal account of Britain's Empire by tracing the growth of a peculiarly British type of hero - adventurer, gentleman, amateur, sportsman and decent chap - and a peculiarly British type of obsession - sport, the empire at play. He travels to East Africa in the footsteps of Victorian explorers in search of the source of the Nile; to Khartoum in Sudan to tell the story of General Gordon - a half-crazed visionary who 'played the game' to the hilt; to Hong Kong where the British indulged their passion for horse racing by building a spectacular race course; and to Jamaica where the greatest imperial game of all - cricket - became a battleground for racial equality.
He continues his personal account of Britain's empire by looking at how traders, conquerors and settlers spread the British way of doing things around the world - in particular how they created a very British idea of home. He begins in India, where early traders wore Indian costume and took Indian wives. Their descendants still cherish their mixed heritage. Victorian values put a stop to that as inter racial mixing became taboo. In Singapore he visits a club where British colonials gathered together, in Canada he finds a town whose inhabitants are still fiercely proud of the traditions of their Scottish ancestors, in Kenya he meets the descendants of the first white settlers - men whose presence came to be bitterly resented as pressure for African independence grew. And he traces the story of an Indian family in Leicester whose migrations have been determined by the changing fortunes of the British empire.
In the first programme, he asks how such a small country got such a big head, and how a tiny island in the North Atlantic came to rule over a quarter of the world's population. He travels to India, where local soldiers and local maharajahs helped a handful of British traders to take over vast areas of land. Spectacular displays of imperial power dazzled subject peoples and developed a cult of Queen Victoria as Empress, mother and virtual God. In Egypt, Jeremy explores the bit of Empire that never was, as Britain's temporary peace-keeping visit turned into a seventy year occupation. He travels to the desert where Lawrence of Arabia brought a touch of romance to the grim struggle of the First World War. As Britain came to believe it could solve the world's problems, he tells the story of the triumphant conquest of Palestine by Imperial troops - and Britain's role in a conflict that haunts the Middle East to this day.
Henry V has claimed the French crown for his heirs, but to secure it the English must conquer all of France. Potent French resistance comes in the most unlikely form of an illiterate, young peasant girl - Joan of Arc.
Edward III rips up the medieval rule book and crushes the flower of French knighthood at the Battle of Crecy with his low-born archers. His son, the Black Prince, conducts a campaign of terror, helping to bring France to her knees.
Nowhere in the British Isles was the Viking connection longer-lasting or deeper than in Scotland. Hundreds of years after their first hit-and-run raids, the Norsemen still dominated huge swathes of the country. But storm clouds were gathering. In 1263 the Norwegian king Haakon IV assembled a fleet of 120 longships to counter Scottish raids on the Norse Hebrides. It was a force comparable in size to the Spanish Armada over three centuries later. But like the Armada, the Norse fleet was eventually defeated by a powerful storm. Driven ashore near present-day Largs, the beleaguered Norsemen were attacked by a Scottish army. The outcome of this vicious encounter would mark the beginning of the end of Norse power in Scotland. Marine archeologist Dr Jon Henderson tells the incredible story of the Norsemen in Scotland. Visiting fascinating archeological sites across Scotland and Norway, he reveals that, although the battle at Largs marked the end of an era for the Norsemen, their presence continued to shape the identity and culture of the Scottish nation to the present day.
2012 • History
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.
In episode two we explore the Ottoman Empire’s Golden Age and chart the height of its expansion into Europe, climaxing with the 1683 siege of Vienna. The episode opens in Istanbul where Presenter Julian Davison explores the reign of the Empire’s most successful Sultan, Sulieman the Magnificent. A sophisticated ruler, Sulieman not only encouraged artistic and architectural achievement but helped to organise and unify the wide range of cultures and religions across his growing empire.
In this first episode we follow the Ottomans rise from obscure beginnings as a nomadic tribe in Anatolia to their game changing conquest of the famed Byzantine capitol of Orthodox Christianity, Constantinople. Julian’s journey begins in Bursa, the Ottomans first capitol city and one of Turkey’s historical gems, where he explores the wealth of early Ottoman architecture and examines the legends, cultural traditions and unique circumstances that helped give birth to an empire.
Documentary `resurrecting' the city buried under volcanic ash almost 2,000 years ago with the aid of CGI. Michael Buerk takes viewers through 24 hours in the area, from the commute to work in the morning, to brutal sports at noon and a plenitude of vices by night.
2016 • History
Alastair Sooke charts the decline and fall of the Roman Empire through some of its hidden and most magical artistic treasures. He travels to Leptis Magna in Libya, shortly after the overthrow of Gaddafi, and finds one of the best preserved Roman cities in the world and the cradle of later Roman art. Sooke discovers glorious mosaics which have never been filmed before but also finds evidence of shocking neglect of Libya's Roman heritage by the Gaddafi regime. His artistic tour takes him to Egypt and the northern frontiers of the empire where he encounters stunning mummy paintings and exquisite silver and glassware. As Rome careered from one crisis to another, official art became more hard boiled and militaristic and an obscure cult called Christianity rose up to seize the mantle of Western art for centuries to come.
Alastair Sooke follows in the footsteps of Rome's mad, bad and dangerous emperors in the second part of his celebration of Roman art. He dons a wetsuit to explore the underwater remains of the Emperor Claudius's pleasure palace and ventures into the cave where Tiberius held wild parties. He finds their taste in art chimes perfectly with their obsession with sex and violence. The other side of the coin was the bombastic art the Romans are best remembered for - monumental arches and columns that boast about their conquests. Trajan's Column in Rome reads like the storyboard of a modern-day propaganda film. Sooke concludes with the remarkable legacy of the Emperor Hadrian. He gave the world the magnificent Pantheon in Rome - the eternal image of his lover Antinous, the most beautiful boy in the history of art - and a villa in Tivoli where he created one of the most ambitious art collections ever created.
The Romans were brilliant engineers and soldiers, but what isn't as well known is that they also gave us wonderful artistic treasures. In this three-part series, Alastair Sooke argues that the old-fashioned view that the Romans didn't do art is nonsense. He traces how the Romans during the Republic went from being art thieves and copycats to pioneering a new artistic style - warts 'n' all realism. Roman portraits reveal what the great names from history, men like Julius Caesar and Cicero, actually looked like. Modern-day artists demonstrate the ingenious techniques used to create these true to life masterpieces in marble, bronze and paint. We can step back into the Roman world thanks to their invention of the documentary-style marble relief and to a volcano called Vesuvius. Sooke explores the remarkable artistic legacy of Pompeii before showing how Rome's first emperor, Augustus, used the power of art to help forge an empire.
In the spectacular deserts of coastal Peru, archaeologist Dr Jago Cooper explores the dramatic rise and fall of Chimor, the first empire of South America. His journey begins among the ruins of a vast lost city once home to an all-powerful monarchy, whose subjects transformed the desert landscape, created gold and silver treasures and believed so strongly in the power of their gods that they made the most shocking of sacrifices. Chimor thrived despite facing some of the most extreme climate conditions in the world, but not even this powerful empire could withstand the forces that eventually destroyed it.
Through the mountains and jungles of Colombia, Cooper goes in search of the truth behind one of the greatest stories ever told - the legend of El Dorado. His journey takes him from Bogota to the Caribbean coast, through territories once dominated by two cultures, the Muisca and the Tairona, who flourished for centuries before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century. Cooper reveals forgotten peoples who valued gold in a way the Western world still struggles to understand, travelling to an astonishing lost city and meeting the last survivors of an ancient civilisation.
Deep in the Bolivian Andes at the height of 13,000ft stands Tiwanaku, the awe-inspiring ruins of a monolithic temple city. Built by a civilisation who dominated a vast swathe of South America, it was abandoned 1,000 years ago. For centuries it has been a mystery - how did a civilisation flourish at such an altitude and why did it vanish? Jago Cooper journeys through Bolivia's spectacular landscape to investigate the origins of Tiwanaku and finds evidence of an ancient people with amazing understanding of their environment, whose religion was based on collective effort and ritual beer drinking.
He begins with an epic journey into the remote Peruvian Andes in search of the mysterious Chachapoya people. Once numbering half a million, they were known as the 'People of the Clouds'. Dr Cooper reveals how they developed sophisticated methods of recording stories, traded in exotic goods found hundreds of miles from their territory, and had funeral traditions that challenge assumptions about ancient human behaviour. His search for evidence takes him to astonishing cliff tombs untouched for 500 years and one of the most spectacular fortresses in South America, where the fate of the Chachapoya is revealed.
Rome was the world's first ancient megacity. At a time when few towns could number more than 10,000 inhabitants, more than a million lived in Rome. But in a world without modern technology, how on earth did the Romans do it? How did they feed their burgeoning population, how did they house them, and how did they get them into town without buses or trains? How on earth did the Romans make their great city work? In the final episode of the series, Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill takes us up ancient tower blocks, down ancient sewers, and above 2,000-year-old harbour basins still filled with water, to find out. He reveals how this city surpassed all those from the ancient world that had gone before. Last but not least, Professor Wallace-Hadrill uncovers the secret of Rome's success - the planning still captured on pieces of an 1,800-year-old marble map of the city, a map which shows that astonishingly, in many places, the street plan of Ancient Rome mirrors that of the city today in exact detail.
In the opening episode of the series, Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill takes us on a journey across stunning locations in Greece and Italy to find out how Athens gave birth to the idea of a city run by free citizens 2,500 years ago. Every aspect of daily life from defence to waste disposal was controlled not by a king, but by the Athenians themselves. Ultimately, this radical new system would define a way of life and the Athenians would give it a name.
China's last empire, the Qing, lasted from 1644 to 1912. It began in violence and war as the Manchus swept down from the north, but invaders became emperors, with three generations of one family ruling the country. Among them, Michael Wood argues, was China's greatest emperor - Kangxi.
Michael Wood tells the tale of China's first great international age under the Tang Dynasty (618-907). He travels along the Silk Road to the bazaars of central Asia and into India on the track of the Chinese monk who brought Buddhism back to China.
Historian Michael Wood looks back at the start of China's history from the creation legend to the first 3 recorded dynasties Xia, Shang and Zhou, to the unification of 7 states under Qin Shi Huang. The name China comes from this Qin Dynasty, although the Chinese people refer to themselves as The Han.
Day by day. Hour by hour. Second by second. This is the story of last century's bloodiest conflict told in a concise and compelling 3 hour special. Including personal accounts, strategic analysis and rare footage, Inside WWII provides a new and intimate perspective on the experience of war. A soldier's duty is not to reason why; a soldier's duty is to do or die. Inside World War II is the story of the doing and the dying … in the defining conflict of the 20th century. From the producers of the critically acclaimed specials Inside 9/11 and Inside the Vietnam War comes a three-hour television event that provides a detailed visual timeline of this complex war, with personal, in-depth stories from veterans who fought in one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Inside World War II combines archival footage with more than 50 testimonies from American, British, German and Soviet servicemen; a former member of the Hitler Youth; and Jewish and black Germans who endured persecution under Hitler's reign. Viewers hear from America's first Japanese American senator, Daniel Inouye, in one of his final interviews before passing away, as he describes with haunting candor what it was like to kill someone during battle. "He had on this German hat, so I told the men, 'That's mine.' He was not only my first, but when I think back, I think back with horror because I was proud." Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient for his service in World War II, goes on to say, "You don't forget the horrors of the war." The explosive first hour of Inside World War II begins in pre-war Germany at the 1936 Olympics, with American distance runner Louis Zamperini describing in an original, never-before-seen interview what it was like to meet Adolf Hitler. "His face, his mustache, the way he combed his hair. I mean he looked like somebody purposely did cosmetics on him for a comedy. He was, to us, a dangerous comedian." The second hour explores the attitudes of soldiers fresh from battle, including Harold Brown, an original Tuskegee Airman who recalls what it was like to fly next to and protect long-range bombers, and Paratrooper Earl McClung, who shares a harrowing tale of being stranded behind enemy lines. Author Benjamin Patton also explains how his grandfather General Patton commanded a ghost army to mislead the enemy, "He was commanding a fictitious Army group that was made up of inflatable tanks and cardboard vehicles, and tents," while General Eisenhower stormed the beaches of Normandy. Inside World War II culminates with the dramatic events of 1945, from Hitler's suicide to the revelation of Nazi concentration camps. And we'll hear Col. Paul Tibbets address the media after dropping the world's first wartime atomic bomb: "We saw this cloud of boiling dust and debris below us with this tremendous mushroom on top. Beneath that was hidden the ruins of the city of Hiroshima." As Lt. Lynn "Buck" Compton, 101st Airborne, US Army (Ret.), in the last interview he gave before his death last year, concludes, "I'm glad I did it. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Not that it was fun, but I think of it as it's a part of my life. And just lucky that I lived through it."
2012 • History
An ancient murder mystery plays out like an episode of C.S.I. When human bones are found hidden under the floor of an old army barracks, a homicide detective is called in to examine the evidence. Preliminary observations indicate the victim may have been bound and killed with blunt force trauma to the skull. The culprit must be found and brought to justice. But there is one key problem: The victim died nearly 1,800 years ago. British investigators discover bones hidden under the floor of an old army barracks near the Scotland border. Solving the mystery of who murdered a 10-year old child in 213 AD, Murder in the Roman Empire delves into the life of an ancient Roman garrison using forensics, archaeology, and criminal investigation. Could an individual soldier have taken advantage of deserted barracks to hide his crime? Or was there collusion among a group of soldiers?
2011 • History
The film chronicles the story of how the Nazis and the IOC turned, to their mutual benefit, a small sports event into the modern Olympics. The grand themes and controversial issues from the 1936 Games have continued to this day: Monumentality, budget overruns, collusion with authoritarian regimes, corruption and sometimes even bribery. Featuring never before seen archival footage and new research, The Nazi Games reveals how the Olympics as we have come to know them were shaped by the collaboration of interests between Hitler and ambitious Olympic gentlemen. After initial distrust, both the IOC and the Nazis found common ground in turning the 1936 Games into the biggest Olympic show the world has ever seen.
2016 • History
Narrated by Brian Cox, Revelation of the Pyramids takes an in-depth look into one of Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Pyramids of Egypt. For centuries, the Great Pyramids have fascinated Mankind; every year brings a batch of new theories, from the plausible to the absolutely bizarre. One lone seeker, after more than thirty-seven years of study and research, has at last managed first to understand and then to prove what lies behind this greatest of archaeological mysteries: a message of paramount importance for all mankind, through time and space. Its key - and its heart - are the Great Pyramids of Egypt. From China to Peru, from Egypt to Mexico, throughout the Middle East - through the world's oldest, most enigmatic and often most beautiful sites - the director has spent six years of investigation, guided by his anonymous informant, verifying his discoveries one by one, and meeting the planet's most eminent scientific and technical specialists. The result will shake the history of mankind as it is taught to its very core, and revolutionize Egyptology entirely. A great odyssey along a breathtaking route rich in staggering imagery, an extraordinary scientific leap and finally a revelation as unexpected as it is spectacular: the message bequeathed to future generations by these mysterious builders.
2010 • History
In this ground-breaking film, historian Tom Holland explores how a new religion - Islam - emerged from the seedbed of the ancient world, and asks what we really know for certain about its rise. The result is an extraordinary detective story. Traditionally, Muslims and non-Muslims alike have believed that Islam was born in the full light of history. But a large number of historians now doubt that presumption, and question much of what Muslim tradition has to tell us about the birth of Islam.
2012 • History
When Homo sapiens turned up in prehistoric Europe, they ran into the Neanderthals. The two types of human were similar enough to interbreed — and both created artifacts of similar complexity. But as more and more Homo sapiens moved into Europe, the balance of power shifted. Neanderthals were overwhelmed. Ever since, we’ve had Europe and the rest of the world to ourselves.
When Homo sapiens arrived in Australia, they were, for the first time, truly alone, surrounded by wildly different flora and fauna. How did they survive and populate a continent? There is a close cultural and genetic link between the First Australians and modern-day Aborigines. The ancient and modern story intersect here as nowhere else in the world. The secret to this continuity is diversity. Intuitively, they found the right balance between being separate and connected.
What happened when early humans ventured out of Africa and into Asia? Where did they go and whom did they meet along the way? The latest evidence suggests they left far earlier than previously thought and interbred with other types of ancient human - Homo erectus, Neanderthals and also the Denisovans, whose existence was established only five years ago when geneticists extracted DNA from a tiny fragment of finger bone. Because these ancient humans mated with our ancestors, their genes have found a home in our DNA. More than that, they’ve helped us survive and thrive.
Around 200,000 years ago, a new species, Homo sapiens, appeared on the African landscape. While scientists have imagined eastern Africa as a real-life Garden of Eden, the latest research suggests humans evolved in many places across the continent at the same time. DNA from a 19th-century African-American slave is forcing geneticists to re-think the origins of our species. The theory is that our ancestors met, mated and hybridized with other human types in Africa — creating ever greater diversity within our species.
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.
We explore the legacies of the Ancient Greeks, what they have given us today, and asks why these legacies have lasted through time. Democracy, art, architecture, philosophy, science, sport, theatre - all can be traced back to ancient Greece. Travelling across the ancient Greek world, from Athens to Olympia, Macedon, Turkey and Sicily, Michael discovers why the ancient Greeks were so successful, why their culture and way of life spread across continents and through time and why they still have such a powerful hold over our imaginations today.
We visit ancient cities and battlefields, great ruins and wild countryside, all in his search to uncover how the ancient Greeks thought and lived. What he finds is that ancient Greece was a seething tornado of strange, unsettling and downright outrageous customs and beliefs, inhabited by a people who could be as brutal as they were brilliant.
In the final episode, Waldemar looks towards the north of Europe. The Carolingians saw themselves as successors to Rome, reflected in their art. Elsewhere, the Vikings were constructing long ships with intricate decoration and marking their territory with powerful rune stones. And on the British Isles, the Irish and Anglo-Saxons were creating unique works of manuscript illumination and remarkable jewellery.
Along with Christianity, the Dark Ages saw the emergence of another vital religion - Islam. After emerging in the near East it spread across North Africa and into Europe, bringing its unique artistic style with it. Waldemar examines the early artistic explorations of the first Muslims, the development of their mosques and their scientific achievements.
The 'Barbarians' are often blamed for the collapse of the Roman Empire, but in reality they were fascinating civilisations that produced magnificent art. Focusing on the Huns, Vandals and Goths, Waldemar follows each tribe's journey across Europe and discovers the incredible art they produced along the way.
Waldemar looks at how Christianity emerged into the Roman Empire as an artistic force in the third and fourth centuries. But with no description of Jesus in the Bible, how were Christians to represent their God? He explores how Christian artists drew on images of ancient gods for inspiration and developed new forms of architecture to contain their art.
Series premiere of a docudrama that chronicles the rebel tribes that brought down the Roman Empire. In the opener, An epic 700-year battle for freedom begins as the barbarians rise against Rome; Hannibal builds a rebel alliance and conquers the Alps; the shepherd Viriathus unleashes a wave of resistance to save his people from destruction.
Bettany Hughes' series exploring the lives and teachings of influential ancient philosophers draws to a close with a profile of Confucius, who is credited as the first Chinese thinker to take a systematic philosophical approach to issues of social, political and ethical importance. Born during the chaotic Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history, Confucius believed that harmony could be promoted and achieved through the examples of sage rulers. He was also a innovative teacher, and tried to instill his principles of moral excellence in China's elite, but died without seeing his vision for his nation come to pass. However, his philosophies would eventually form the bedrock of Chinese culture, with many of his principles of tradition surviving to this day.
Bettany Hughes' series profiling the most celebrated thinkers of the Ancient world continues as she turns her attention to Socrates. Heading to Greece, she details how the Athenian philosopher secured a reputation as an influential maverick. She also highlights how his contributions as one of the founders of Western philosophy did not please his detractors, as his outspoken defence of his beliefs ultimately led to his execution.
Historian Bettany Hughes investigates the ideas of ancient philosophers, starting with the Indian nobleman Siddhartha Gautama, more popularly known as Buddha. Thought to have been lived and tought between the sixth and fourth centuries BC, the sage and holy man inspired a diverse belief system that influences the lives of millions of people to this day. She travels to India, where Buddha experienced the challenging ideas and extreme methods of wandering `truth seekers', after he had abandoned his family and homeland in the Himalayas to embark on his philosophical quest to find a solution to human suffering.
Simon discovers surprises in Istanbul as it rose to become the imperial capital and Islam's most powerful city. Visiting the great mosques and palaces built by the Ottoman emperors, he tells the stories behind them - of royal concubines, murderous bodyguards and sultans both the powerful and the depraved. He shows how the Christians, Muslims and Jews of the city once co-existed before the waves of nationalist rebellions brought the Ottoman empire to its knees. In the 20th century the ancient capital was once more transformed by the new secular vision of Ataturk.
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.
Simon uncovers the city's ancient Greek roots, maps its transformation into the imperial capital of a Christian Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great and reveals how ecclesiastical clashes forced Eastern and Western Churches apart.
In 1901, a group of divers excavating an ancient Roman shipwreck near the island of Antikythera, off the southern coast of Greece, found a mysterious object - a lump of calcified stone that contained within it several gearwheels welded together after years under the sea. The 2,000-year-old object, no bigger than a modern laptop, is now regarded as the world's oldest computer, devised to predict solar eclipses and, according to recent findings, calculate the timing of the ancient Olympics. Following the efforts of an international team of scientists, the mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism are uncovered, revealing surprising and awe-inspiring details of the object that continues to mystify
2012 • History
Neil Oliver reveals the truth behind the legend of the Vikings. (Part 3.) Neil explores how the Viking Age finally ended, tracing the Norse voyages of discovery, the first Danish kings, and the Christian conversions that opened the door to European high society. He also uncovers the truth about England's King Canute - he was not an arrogant leader who thought he could hold back the waves, but the Viking ruler of an entire empire of the north and an early adopter of European standardisation.
Neil Oliver reveals the truth behind the legend of the Vikings. (Part 2.) Neil Oliver heads out from the Scandinavian homelands to Russia, Turkey and Ireland to trace the beginnings of a vast trading empire that handled Chinese silks as adeptly as Pictish slaves. Neil discovers a world of 'starry-eyed maidens' and Buddhist statues that are a world away from our British experience of axe-wielding warriors, although it turns out that there were quite a few of those as well.
Neil Oliver reveals the truth behind the legend of the Vikings. (Part 1.) Neil begins by discovering the mysterious world of the Vikings' prehistoric ancestors. The remains of weapon-filled war boats, long-haired Bronze Age farmers, and the Swedish site of a royal palace and gruesome pagan ritual conjure up an ancient past from which the Viking Age was to suddenly erupt.
Rageh Omaar explains how the collapse of this Islamic super-power following the first World War left problems that still exist in Europe and the Middle East today. From its capital in Istanbul the Ottoman Empire matched the glories of Ancient Rome. Yet its achievements have been largely lost in the trauma of its last few years. Brutality, massacres and the carve-up of former Ottoman lands created a legacy of tension and conflict that continue to this day. The heartland of the former empire - modern day Turkey - turned its back on its Islamic, Ottoman past. It underwent a social revolution led by military commander and secular visionary Mustafa Kemal-Ataturk. So why is Ottomanism back on the political agenda? And why are many politicians in the West hoping that Turkey can provide a role model as a modern, Islamic democracy?
Continuing his fascinating journey to rediscover the central role played by the Ottoman empire in Europe and the Middle East, Rageh Omaar explores the huge contrasts in the times of two very different Ottoman sultans. The most famous Suleiman the Magnificent in the golden age of the 16th century and the troubled reign of Abdul Hamid II in the 19th century when the Ottomans were dubbed 'the Sick Man of Europe'. Rageh examines the cultural legacy as well as the physical, religious and political architecture of Ottoman rule to find out what a Muslim world run from Europe was really like. It reveals the backdrop to the relationship between Islam and Europe today, how the Ottomans became central in the power politics of Europe and what could have happened had they succeeded in their successive bids to seize Vienna, then a key European capital.
In this first episode, the unlikely roots of the Ottomans are revealed. From nomadic horsemen, in a rural backwater of modern day Turkey, they became rulers of a vast empire spanning three continents. At an incredible speed they came to rule over Baghdad and Cairo in the south, where they controlled the holiest sites of Islam - Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, and they reached deep into Europe.
Andrew Marr sets off on an epic journey through 70,000 years of human history. Using dramatic reconstructions, documentary filming around the world and cutting-edge computer graphics, he reveals the decisive moments that shaped the world we live in today, telling stories we thought we knew and others we were never told. (Part 8: Age of Extremes) Andrew Marr brings the story right up to date with the twentieth century. Marr suggests that humanity found itself propelled forward by our technological brilliance but limited by the consequences of our political idiocy. The decisions we make in the next 50 years, he argues, may well decide our fate. For Marr, the most interesting part of human history lies just ahead.
Andrew Marr sets off on an epic journey through 70,000 years of human history. Using dramatic reconstructions, documentary filming around the world and cutting-edge computer graphics, he reveals the decisive moments that shaped the world we live in today, telling stories we thought we knew and others we were never told. (Part 7: Age of Industry) Andrew Marr tells how Britain's Industrial Revolution created the modern world. The old agricultural order of aristocratic landowners, serfs and peasant farmers was replaced by a new world of machines, cities and industrialists. Across the world, many resisted this sweeping change. From China to America, Russia to Japan, bitter battles were fought between the modernisers and those who rejected the new way of life. In Europe, new industrial powers competed with each other to create vast empires which dominated the world. But this intense competition would lead to the industrial-scale slaughter and destruction of the First World War.
Andrew Marr sets off on an epic journey through 70,000 years of human history. Using dramatic reconstructions, documentary filming around the world and cutting-edge computer graphics, he reveals the decisive moments that shaped the world we live in today, telling stories we thought we knew and others we were never told. (Part 6: Revolution) Andrew Marr explores the Age of Revolution. In the 17th and 18th centuries, people across the world rose up in the name of freedom and equality against the power of the church and monarchy. In America, people fought a war to be free from British rule. In France, bloody revolution saw the king and aristocracy deposed. And in Haiti, the slaves revolted against their masters. The world was also gripped by a scientific revolution, sweeping away old dogmas and superstition. Galileo revolutionized the way we saw humanity's place in the universe, while Edward Jenner used science to help save the lives of millions.
Andrew Marr sets off on an epic journey through 70,000 years of human history. Using dramatic reconstructions, documentary filming around the world and cutting-edge computer graphics, he reveals the decisive moments that shaped the world we live in today, telling stories we thought we knew and others we were never told. (Part 5: Age of Plunder) Andrew Marr tells the story of Europe's rise from piracy to private enterprise. The explosion of global capitalism began with Christopher Columbus stumbling across America while searching for China. While Europe tore itself apart in religious wars after the Reformation, the Spanish colonised the New World and brought back 10 trillion dollars' worth of gold and silver. But it was Dutch and English buccaneer businessmen who invented the real money-maker: limited companies and the stock exchange. They battled hand-to-hand to control the world's sea trade in spices, furs and luxuries like tulips. In the 145 years from 1492 to 1637, European capitalism was born and spread across the globe.
Andrew Marr sets off on an epic journey through 70,000 years of human history. Using dramatic reconstructions, documentary filming around the world and cutting-edge computer graphics, he reveals the decisive moments that shaped the world we live in today, telling stories we thought we knew and others we were never told. (Part 4: Into the Light) Andrew Marr reaches the Middle Ages. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Europe was little more than a muddy backwater. Vikings explored and pillaged from Northern Europe to North America. But they also laid the foundations of powerful new trading states - including Russia. This was also the Golden Age of Islam, and the knowledge of ancient civilisations from India, Persia and Greece was built upon by Islamic scholars in Baghdad's House of Wisdom. By exploring the conquests of Genghis Khan, the adventures of Marco Polo and the extraordinary story of an African King - the wealthiest who ever lived - Marr finds out how Europe emerged from the so-called 'Dark Ages' and used influences from around the world to rise again with the Renaissance.
Andrew Marr sets off on an epic journey through 70,000 years of human history. Using dramatic reconstructions, documentary filming around the world and cutting-edge computer graphics, he reveals the decisive moments that shaped the world we live in today, telling stories we thought we knew and others we were never told. (Part 3: The Word and the Sword) Andrew Marr plunges into the spiritual revolutions that shook the world between 300 BC and 700 AD. This was an age that saw the bloody prince Ashoka turn to Buddhism in India, the ill-fated union of Julius Caesar and Egypt's Cleopatra, the unstoppable rise of Christianity across the Roman Empire and the dramatic spread of Islam from Spain to Central Asia. But the most potent human force on the planet came from the combination of faith and military power as both Christianity and Islam created new empires of 'the word and the sword'.
Andrew Marr sets off on an epic journey through 70,000 years of human history. Using dramatic reconstructions, documentary filming around the world and cutting-edge computer graphics, he reveals the decisive moments that shaped the world we live in today, telling stories we thought we knew and others we were never told. (Part 2: Age of Empire) Andrew Marr tells the story of the first empires which laid the foundations for the modern world. From the Assyrians to Alexander the Great, conquerors rampaged across the Middle East and vicious wars were fought all the way from China to the Mediterranean. But this time of chaos and destruction also brought enormous progress and inspired human development. In the Middle East, the Phoenicians invented the alphabet, and one of the most powerful ideas in world history emerged: the belief in just one God. In India, the Buddha offered a radical alternative to empire building - a way of living that had no place for violence or hierarchy and was open to everyone. Great thinkers from Socrates to Confucius proposed new ideas about how to rule more wisely and live in a better society. And in Greece, democracy was born - the greatest political experiment of all. But within just a few years, its future would be under threat from invasion by an empire in the east...
Andrew Marr sets off on an epic journey through 70,000 years of human history. Using dramatic reconstructions, documentary filming around the world and cutting-edge computer graphics, he reveals the decisive moments that shaped the world we live in today, telling stories we thought we knew and others we were never told. (Part 1: Survival) Starting with our earliest beginnings in Africa, Marr traces the story of our nomadic ancestors as they spread out around the world and settled down to become the first farmers and townspeople. He uncovers extraordinary hand-prints left in European caves nearly 30,000 years ago and shows how human ingenuity led to inventions which are still with us today. He also discovers how the first civilisations were driven to extremes to try to overcome the forces of nature, adapting and surviving against the odds, and reveals how everyday life in ancient Egypt had more in common with today's soap operas than might be imagined.
Dan Snow uncovers the lost Vikings in America with space archaeologist Dr Sarah Parcak. Sarah uses satellites 383 miles above the earth to spot ruins as small as 30cm buried beneath the surface. As Sarah searches for Viking sites from Britain to America, Dan explores how they voyaged thousands of miles when most ships never left the shoreline. He also tracks their expansion west, first as raiders and then as settlers and traders throughout Britain and beyond to Iceland and Greenland. In North America they excavate what could be the most westerly Viking settlement ever discovered.
2016 • History
In these two 2-hour specials, HISTORY channel digs deep beneath the surface of our collective understanding of the Third Reich to unearth what we don't know about the individuals who comprised one of the most fascinating and complex regimes of recent history. Part 2: The Fall How did the Germans experience the Allied victory in WWII? Rarely-and never-before-seen amateur films recount the catastrophic downfall of the Third Reich through the eyes of the people who lived it: the Germans themselves.
In these two 2-hour specials, HISTORY channel digs deep beneath the surface of our collective understanding of the Third Reich to unearth what we don't know about the individuals who comprised one of the most fascinating and complex regimes of recent history. Part 1: The Rise A unique perspective on the rise of Nazi Germany and how millions of people were so vulnerable to fascism, told through rare and never-before-seen amateur films shot by the Germans who were there.
Auschwitz-Birkenau was designed to kill. Four gas chambers murdered thousands at a time, belching out smoke and human ashes. Starvation, thirst, disease, and hard labor reduced the average lifespan to less than three months. More than 1-million people perished in the largest German Nazi concentration and extermination camp. Seventy years after her liberation, Kitty Hart-Moxon makes a final return to Auschwitz-Birkenau to walk among the crumbling memorial with students Natalia and Lydia, who, at 16, are the same age now as she was then.
2015 • History
Historical documentary telling the definitive story of Hitler's final hours as told by the people who were there. The programme features exclusive interviews originally filmed in 1948 - only recently rediscovered after 65 years and never before seen in the UK - with the inner circle who were trapped with Hitler in his bunker as the Russians fought to take Berlin. Parts of the bunker are rebuilt according to this eyewitness testimony in order to forensically chart the last hours, days and minutes of the Fuhrer's life.
2016 • History
A rapid-fire history of our world, from the beginning of time as we know it to present day. This two-hour CGI-driven special delves into the key turning points: the formation of earth, emergence of life, spread of man and the growth of civilization - and reveals their surprising connections to our world today.
2011 • History
Was America's first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller, a greedy robber baron, a generous philanthropist, or both? And did the oil tycoon exploit America's poor or give them access to much-needed energy? Historian and Hillsdale College professor Burt Folsom, author of "The Myth of the Robber Barons," reveals the truth about the Rockefeller empire.
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.
In the first of a two-part series, Dr Jago Cooper reassesses the achievements of the Inca Empire. He begins in Peru, where evidence is still being uncovered that challenges preconceptions about its origins and significance. Venturing from the coast to the clouds, he reveals how the Inca transformed one of the most challenging landscapes in the world to ward off the worst effects of the climate, and created sophisticated systems of communication. He shows how one of many independent societies became a commanding empire - not through force, but by using subtle methods of persuasion.
The final programme in the series looks at Romania, where Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu ran a personal dictatorship for nearly a quarter of a century. Abortion and contraception were banned as their rule reached far into the private lives of every Romanian. When communism collapsed and the regime was overthrown, the self-styled 'mother and father of the nation' were executed by a firing squad on December 25 1989.
Second part is looking at Czechoslovakia's attempts to reform communism, which were brutally crushed in an invasion by Warsaw Pact allies in 1968. What followed was the reimposition of hardline communist rule known as 'Normalisation' - under which the reformers were removed, the reforms reversed and history rewritten, leaving the country known as 'the Kingdom of Forgetting'.
The German Democratic Republic was created out of the Soviet Zone of occupied Germany in 1949 to build a democratic, anti-fascist Germany. One of the East Germany's greatest achievements was the creation of a more egalitarian society, but he other side of the coin was that there was also the Stalinist bureaucracy and East Germany is mostly remembered as "Stasiland". In the first episode we examine how the collapse of communism affected people in the 'socialist paradise' of East Germany.
An animated data-driven documentary about war and peace, The Fallen of World War II looks at the human cost of the second World War and sizes up the numbers to other wars in history, including trends in recent conflicts. Visit fallen.io for the interactive version and more information.
Albert Speer - Hitler's architect, arms minister and only friend. After the war, he became the Nazi who said sorry, even for the crimes he claimed had been kept secret from him. Was his remorse genuine, or did he know more than he admitted, still proud of his meteoric career under Hitler?
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.
Hitler becomes chancellor in 1933 after the German economy collapses and sets out to ensure the Nazi party's members dominate every aspect of society. One year later, he is proclaimed Fuehrer, beginning an ideological and military programme that eventually lead to the invasion of Poland and the start of the Second World War.
Documentary charting the dictator's rise to power, from his beginnings as a struggling artist in Vienna to his eventual demise in Berlin. The first episode focuses on Hitler's formative years and how, when he returned home from the First World War, his nationalistic diatribes were largely ignored by the public, until the 1929 economic crisis put him and his ideas in the spotlight.
World War II was one of the definitive events of the 20th century, if not all of human history. John Green takes a look at the causes of World War II, the key event, as well as, both the short and long term effects of the war. For those interested in looking at World War II from a world perspective, this video focuses on the war before United States involvement.
2012 • History