Michael Wood tells the tale of China's first great international age under the Tang Dynasty (618-907). He travels along the Silk Road to the bazaars of central Asia and into India on the track of the Chinese monk who brought Buddhism back to China.
Historian Michael Wood looks back at the start of China's history from the creation legend to the first 3 recorded dynasties Xia, Shang and Zhou, to the unification of 7 states under Qin Shi Huang. The name China comes from this Qin Dynasty, although the Chinese people refer to themselves as The Han.
2016 • History
China's last empire, the Qing, lasted from 1644 to 1912. It began in violence and war as the Manchus swept down from the north, but invaders became emperors, with three generations of one family ruling the country. Among them, Michael Wood argues, was China's greatest emperor - Kangxi.
2016 • History
The pyramids of Egypt are the most enduring monuments of the ancient world. From underground burial chambers they developed into soaring structures that revolutionized architecture. This film reveals the name of the man who designed the very first pyramid and shows how his ideas were refined and perfected, until pyramids eventually fell out of fashion altogether. The Egyptian pyramids have fascinated us for thousands of years. Who built them, how were they built and why? Experts across Egypt are discovering new information that sheds light on the Ancient Egyptians' pyramids and how they evolved. One theory poses that King Sneferu's Bent Pyramid was not a mistake. Recent discoveries show how the pyramids evolved from a mound of rocks and sand to flat, rectangular mastabas, to the pyramid shape, so famously exhibited in the Great pyramid of Khufu and beyond. Now the archaeology is being taken a stage further with new technology. The film shows how the next generation of archaeologists are finally piecing together the secret pyramid code which might have been used by the Egyptians.
Historian Bettany Hughes investigates the ideas of ancient philosophers, starting with the Indian nobleman Siddhartha Gautama, more popularly known as Buddha. Thought to have been lived and tought between the sixth and fourth centuries BC, the sage and holy man inspired a diverse belief system that influences the lives of millions of people to this day. She travels to India, where Buddha experienced the challenging ideas and extreme methods of wandering `truth seekers', after he had abandoned his family and homeland in the Himalayas to embark on his philosophical quest to find a solution to human suffering.
Presenter Bettany Hughes explores the day in 49BC when, defying the Senate, Julius Caesar and his army crossed the river Rubicon, plunging the Republic into civil war. With the aid of the most recent archaeological finds and theories, she examines Caesar's character, his dealings with Crassus, Pompey the Great and Cicero, and how his quest for absolute power effectively sounded the death knell for the Roman Republic and paved the way for dictatorial rule.