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.
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.
Alastair explores the extraordinary afterlife of the Greek masterpieces that changed the course of western culture. Succeeding centuries have found in ancient Greek art inspiration for their own ideals and ambitions. Filming in Italy, Germany, France and Britain, Alastair's investigation includes The Venus of Knidos, the first naked woman in Western art, the bronze horses of St Mark's in Venice which became a pawn in an imperial game and the naked discus thrower, the Discobolus, personally bought by Adolf Hitler and used by him as a symbol of Aryan supremacy.
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.
The battle between the French and English for the French territory of New France hinges on the presence of the British navy. And the Battle on the Plains of Abraham is tipped to Great Britain by the solidly trained soldiers of the British army. This changed the landscape of North America.