The Romans were brilliant engineers and soldiers, but what isn't as well known is that they also gave us wonderful artistic treasures. In this three-part series, Alastair Sooke argues that the old-fashioned view that the Romans didn't do art is nonsense. He traces how the Romans during the Republic went from being art thieves and copycats to pioneering a new artistic style - warts 'n' all realism. Roman portraits reveal what the great names from history, men like Julius Caesar and Cicero, actually looked like. Modern-day artists demonstrate the ingenious techniques used to create these true to life masterpieces in marble, bronze and paint. We can step back into the Roman world thanks to their invention of the documentary-style marble relief and to a volcano called Vesuvius. Sooke explores the remarkable artistic legacy of Pompeii before showing how Rome's first emperor, Augustus, used the power of art to help forge an empire.
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.
He begins with an epic journey into the remote Peruvian Andes in search of the mysterious Chachapoya people. Once numbering half a million, they were known as the 'People of the Clouds'. Dr Cooper reveals how they developed sophisticated methods of recording stories, traded in exotic goods found hundreds of miles from their territory, and had funeral traditions that challenge assumptions about ancient human behaviour. His search for evidence takes him to astonishing cliff tombs untouched for 500 years and one of the most spectacular fortresses in South America, where the fate of the Chachapoya is revealed.