Why, as a teenager in New Jersey in the 1980s, was Peter Sagal taught the Southern myth of the Civil War? How did Gone with the Wind became a national parable? Why is Robert E. Lee an American hero? Slaves = money = power.
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.
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
Mankind embarks on a new age of exploration, and tames the wilderness. In North America, Siberia and Australia, ancient traditions are swept away in the name of commerce and science. Within a hundred years, the irrational fear that produced a witch trial in Salem gives way to a very rational cry for freedom. American revolutionaries confront a mighty empire. The battle for the modern world begins.
Julius Caesar is the most famous Roman of them all: brutal conqueror, dictator and victim of a gruesome assassination on the Ides of March 44 BC. 2,000 years on, he still shapes the world. He has given us some political slogans we still use today (Crossing the Rubicon), his name lives on in the month of July, and there is nothing new about Vladmir Putin's carefully cultivated military image and no real novelty in Donald Trump's tweets and slogans. Mary Beard is on a mission to uncover the real Caesar, and to challenge public perception. She seeks the answers to some big questions. How did he become a one-man ruler of Rome? How did he use spin and PR on his way to the top? Why was he killed? And she asks some equally intriguing little questions. How did he conceal his bald patch? Did he really die, as William Shakespeare put it, with the words Et tu, Brute on his lips? Above all, Mary explores his surprising legacy right up to the present day. Like it or not, Caesar is still present in our everyday lives, our language, and our politics. Many dictators since, not to mention some other less autocratic leaders, have learned the tricks of their trade from Julius Caesar.
2018 • History