Simon Schama explores one of our deepest artistic urges - the depiction of nature. Simon discovers that landscape painting is seldom a straightforward description of observed nature - rather it is a projection of dreams and idylls, as well as of escapes and refuges from human turmoil, the elusive paradise on earth.
2018 • History
If David Olusoga's first film in Civilisations is about the art that followed and reflected early encounters between different cultures, his second explores the artistic reaction to imperialism in the 19th century. David shows the growing ambivalence with which artists reacted to the idea of progress, both intellectual and scientific, that underpinned the imperial mission and followed the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.
2018 • History
From Roman marbles and Egyptian mummies to Renaissance masterpieces and African sculptures, in this special accompanying programme to Civilisations, Mary Beard goes in search of extraordinary works of art from all over the world that can be seen here in Britain.
2018 • History
The former Soviet Union collectivized many aspects of agricultural and industrial development in the 1950's. While some efforts were successful, others, like the cotton-growing around the Aral Sea, have proven to be an ecological nightmare.
The German Democratic Republic was created out of the Soviet Zone of occupied Germany in 1949 to build a democratic, anti-fascist Germany. One of the East Germany's greatest achievements was the creation of a more egalitarian society, but he other side of the coin was that there was also the Stalinist bureaucracy and East Germany is mostly remembered as "Stasiland". In the first episode we examine how the collapse of communism affected people in the 'socialist paradise' of East Germany.
Up to one million gladiators are thought to have died in arenas across the Roman Empire. Seventy-five were recently found in a single cemetery in York. Two thousand years ago, York was a Roman stronghold, a staging ground for the push against the Scots. Apart from ancient Italy, Roman Britain had the highest density of gladiatorial arenas in Europe. As part of a routine building inspection in the outskirts of York, archaeologists discover an ancient Roman burial site. It soon became apparent the find was anything but routine. Of total 80, 75 of the skeletons were men, a much higher majority than would be expected in a family grave site. The height, build and signs of musculature made the men much bigger than that of the average Roman man. A closer inspection of the bones also revealed a number of cut marks and fractures, evidence the men were no strangers to violence. Most disturbing of all most of the men had been brutally decapitated. Could the men be gladiators?
2010 • History
On a unique planet, a unique species takes its first steps: Mankind begins. But it’s a world full of danger. Threatened by extinction, we innovate to survive – discovering fire and farming; building cities and pyramids; inventing trade – and mastering the art of war. From humble beginnings, we become the dominant creature on the planet. Now the future belongs to us…
The finale episode examines an ancient civilization unlike any other, that of the Indus Valley. Rather than imposing order through war or religion, it relied on the free flow of trade. The exchange of goods promoted wealth, co-operation and trust.