In the first episode of an exciting three-part series, Professor Robert Bartlett explores how the Normans developed from a band of marauding Vikings into the formidable warriors who conquered England in 1066. He tells how the Normans established their new province of Normandy -'land of the northmen' - in northern France. They went on to build some of the finest churches in Europe and turned into an unstoppable force of Christian knights and warriors, whose legacy is all around us to this day. Under the leadership of Duke William, the Normans expanded into the neighbouring provinces of northern France. But William's greatest achievement was the conquest of England in 1066. The Battle of Hastings marked the end of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy and monarchy. The culture and politics of England would now be transformed by the Normans.
Examine the process of "destructive creation"-the idea that fear, rivalry and conflict strengthen community bonds while stimulating an arms race of technological progress. The result is civilization. Ancient Mesoamerica exemplifies this development.
In this ground-breaking film, historian Tom Holland explores how a new religion - Islam - emerged from the seedbed of the ancient world, and asks what we really know for certain about its rise. The result is an extraordinary detective story. Traditionally, Muslims and non-Muslims alike have believed that Islam was born in the full light of history. But a large number of historians now doubt that presumption, and question much of what Muslim tradition has to tell us about the birth of Islam.
2012 • History
Francois Duvalier trained as a medical doctor, but his healing touch was lost as he became the ruthless dictator "Papa Doc". The tools of his tyranny were violence and Voodoo. He killed 30,000 people, and kept a nation in fear of his mystical powers.
We explore the legacies of the Ancient Greeks, what they have given us today, and asks why these legacies have lasted through time. Democracy, art, architecture, philosophy, science, sport, theatre - all can be traced back to ancient Greece. Travelling across the ancient Greek world, from Athens to Olympia, Macedon, Turkey and Sicily, Michael discovers why the ancient Greeks were so successful, why their culture and way of life spread across continents and through time and why they still have such a powerful hold over our imaginations today.