In this first episode, Mary Beard reaches back to the myths and legends of the origins of Rome to gain an insight into the deep-rooted psyche of the people of Rome - a city born through fratricide and rape.
Alastair explores the surprising roots of Greek art, beginning his journey in Crete at the palace of Knossos, legendary home of the Minotaur. He travels to Santorini to the 'Greek Pompeii', and finds gold in the fabled stronghold of Mycenae and dazzling remains from Greece's Dark Ages. Alastair discovers the beginnings of a defining spirit in Greek art, embracing mythology, a passion for symmetry, and an obsession with the human body.
In 1901, a group of divers excavating an ancient Roman shipwreck near the island of Antikythera, off the southern coast of Greece, found a mysterious object - a lump of calcified stone that contained within it several gearwheels welded together after years under the sea. The 2,000-year-old object, no bigger than a modern laptop, is now regarded as the world's oldest computer, devised to predict solar eclipses and, according to recent findings, calculate the timing of the ancient Olympics. Following the efforts of an international team of scientists, the mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism are uncovered, revealing surprising and awe-inspiring details of the object that continues to mystify
2012 • History
When Homo sapiens turned up in prehistoric Europe, they ran into the Neanderthals. The two types of human were similar enough to interbreed — and both created artifacts of similar complexity. But as more and more Homo sapiens moved into Europe, the balance of power shifted. Neanderthals were overwhelmed. Ever since, we’ve had Europe and the rest of the world to ourselves.
When Homo sapiens arrived in Australia, they were, for the first time, truly alone, surrounded by wildly different flora and fauna. How did they survive and populate a continent? There is a close cultural and genetic link between the First Australians and modern-day Aborigines. The ancient and modern story intersect here as nowhere else in the world. The secret to this continuity is diversity. Intuitively, they found the right balance between being separate and connected.