In the first programme, he asks how such a small country got such a big head, and how a tiny island in the North Atlantic came to rule over a quarter of the world's population. He travels to India, where local soldiers and local maharajahs helped a handful of British traders to take over vast areas of land. Spectacular displays of imperial power dazzled subject peoples and developed a cult of Queen Victoria as Empress, mother and virtual God. In Egypt, Jeremy explores the bit of Empire that never was, as Britain's temporary peace-keeping visit turned into a seventy year occupation. He travels to the desert where Lawrence of Arabia brought a touch of romance to the grim struggle of the First World War. As Britain came to believe it could solve the world's problems, he tells the story of the triumphant conquest of Palestine by Imperial troops - and Britain's role in a conflict that haunts the Middle East to this day.
In the middle of the Renaissance, the son of Francis I shake up the foundations of Europe. Henry II, the King of France, secures a claim to the Scottish crown by marrying young queen Mary Stuart to his son, the future Francis II, heir to the French throne.
S2E1 • The Real War of Thrones: The True History of Europe • 2018 • History
How did an insignificant cluster of Latin hill villages on the edge of the civilised world become the greatest empire the world has known? In the fifth programme of the series, archaeologist and historian Richard Miles examines the phenomenon of the Roman Republic, from its fratricidal mythical beginnings, with the legend of Romulus and Remus, to the all too real violence of its end, dragged to destruction by war lords like Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar. Travelling to Sicily and North Africa, Richard tells the story of Rome's century-long struggle for dominance with the other great regional power, Carthage. It was a struggle that would end with the total destruction of this formidable enemy and the transformation of landlubber Rome into a seapower, and the Republic into an Empire. But with no-one left to beat, the only enemy that Rome had left was itself.
The Romans were brilliant engineers and soldiers, but what isn't as well known is that they also gave us wonderful artistic treasures. In this three-part series, Alastair Sooke argues that the old-fashioned view that the Romans didn't do art is nonsense. He traces how the Romans during the Republic went from being art thieves and copycats to pioneering a new artistic style - warts 'n' all realism. Roman portraits reveal what the great names from history, men like Julius Caesar and Cicero, actually looked like. Modern-day artists demonstrate the ingenious techniques used to create these true to life masterpieces in marble, bronze and paint. We can step back into the Roman world thanks to their invention of the documentary-style marble relief and to a volcano called Vesuvius. Sooke explores the remarkable artistic legacy of Pompeii before showing how Rome's first emperor, Augustus, used the power of art to help forge an empire.