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.
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 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.
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.
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