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.
German commanders discover the efficiency of gassing prisoners, and Auschwitz transforms from a small backwater camp for those resisting the Nazi occupation of Poland to a large scale extermination camp for Jews.
August 5, 1962, South Africa. After several months on the run, the Black leader Nelson Mandela is arrested by the South African police and incarcerated in Robben Island, a fortress-like jail off Cape Town. He doesn’t know it at that time, but it is only the beginning of his penitential ordeal.
Simon Sebag Montefiore charts the rocky course of Rome's rise to become the capital of western Christendom and its impact on the lives of its citizens, elites and high priests. Rome casts aside its pantheon of pagan gods and a radical new religion takes hold. Christianity was just a persecuted sect until Emperor Constantine took a huge leap of faith, promoting it as the religion of Empire. But would this divine gamble pay off?
From Caves to Cosmos focuses on the deep roots of Native America: Who are America’s First Peoples and how did they create their unique world? Answers emerge from Hopi Elders on pilgrimage at sacred Chaco Canyon in the New Mexico desert, scientists examining ancient cave painting in the Amazon jungle, Chumash boat builders exploring their tribe’s ancient migration legacy off California’s coast, and an archaeologist digging deep below a towering pyramid near Mexico City`