The eruption of Mount Vesuvius is renowned for its decimation of Pompeii, but nearby, an equally impressive Roman settlement known as Herculaneum was lost to history. Today, the latest in technology is opening a wind to the past, as scientists digitally "unravel" the Herculaneum Scrolls.
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.
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.
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.
A look at how Hitler calculated that to fight on long enough to fulfil his aim of eradicating Europe's Jews he needed to capture the Caucasus, and to do that he had to take Stalingrad. There is also a look at how the US rebuilt its navy and took itself from the 18th-ranked army in the world to be second only to the Soviet Union, a tale of ingenuity and enterprise that turned the vast resources of America into the numbers that could win a war.