When ordinary people desire the luxuries of the rich, ingenuity and innovation come together to take history in a new direction. From the obsession with silk to the fall of Constantinople, our desire for luxury has shaped our history and evolution.
Mike Loades has spent his life exploring history. He is a historian who believes that when you get your hands on the past, you discover what a surprising place it was - a place with familiar challenges but very different solutions. Now historian and weapons expert Mike Loades presents this program on the Middle Ages, from the 5th to the 15th centuries. It is a distinct period in time that conjures up images of knights on horseback, castles, combat and chainmail, and which has played host to countless fictional adventures, from tales of King Arthur and Merlin to Robin Hood and many more.
2012 • History
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.
By January 1916 the war had become a stalemate. Millions had died and yet no side had achieved a decisive breakthrough. Austria-Hungary tripled the size of its armies to five million men. Germany doubled its forces to seven million. And in Britain men were volunteering to fight at the rate of up to 33,000 a day.
Mao Zedong, Supreme Leader of Communist China for 30 years, is one of the 20th Century's most ruthless tyrants. His reign of cruelty and revenge, transforms him to a position of authority so great, his personality cult remains to this day.
The end of the American Civil War allows Mankind to go into overdrive. This is an age of innovation, transformation and mass production. People believe that ‘Anything, everything, is possible.’ Japan goes from feudal society to industrial superpower within 50 years. But progress has its dark side. The demand for rubber devastates Africa. And the desire to build bigger, faster, better leads to a titanic disaster…