Why, and how, did the Roman Empire fall? Surveying the massive walls and fortifications of Britain and Germany, she discovers an empire under pressure, struggling to control its borders.
400 years ago British merchants landed on the coast of India and founded a trading post to export goods to London. Over the next 200 years, their tiny business grew into a commercial titan. Using the letters and diaries of the men and women who were there, this documentary tells the story of the East India Company, which revolutionised the British lifestyle, sparked a new age of speculation and profit and by accident created one of the most powerful empires in history. Yet inexorable rise ended in ignominy. Dogged by allegations of greed, corruption and corporate excess, by the 1770s the company's reputation was in tatters. Blamed for turning its back as millions died in the Bengal famine, and thrown into crisis by a credit crunch in Britain, the world's most powerful company had run out of cash, sparking a government intervention.
When Rome is sacked by barbarians, Europe enters a Dark Age. But from the fringes of the old empire, two new forces remake the world. The Arabs, funded by a gold rush, unite under the banner of Islam. The Vikings rejuvenate the cities of Europe, travel to America and become Christian knights. The stage is set for a clash of civilisations - the Crusades.
In the third episode Mary takes an in-depth look at the question of identity and citizenship within the Roman Empire. What did it mean to be, or to become, Roman, and how did the very different parts of the empire react to Roman rule?
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.
An ancient murder mystery plays out like an episode of C.S.I. When human bones are found hidden under the floor of an old army barracks, a homicide detective is called in to examine the evidence. Preliminary observations indicate the victim may have been bound and killed with blunt force trauma to the skull. The culprit must be found and brought to justice. But there is one key problem: The victim died nearly 1,800 years ago. British investigators discover bones hidden under the floor of an old army barracks near the Scotland border. Solving the mystery of who murdered a 10-year old child in 213 AD, Murder in the Roman Empire delves into the life of an ancient Roman garrison using forensics, archaeology, and criminal investigation. Could an individual soldier have taken advantage of deserted barracks to hide his crime? Or was there collusion among a group of soldiers?
2011 • History