It is 1918 and the end of WWI. Millions have died, and the world is exhausted by war. But soon a new horror is sweeping the world, a terrifying virus that will kill more than fifty million people - the Spanish flu. Using dramatic reconstruction and eyewitness testimony from doctors, soldiers, civilians and politicians, this one-off special brings to life the onslaught of the disease, the horrors of those who lived through it and the efforts of the pioneering scientists desperately looking for the cure. The film also asks whether, a century later, the lessons learnt in 1918 might help us fight a future global flu pandemic.
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Professor Robert Bartlett explores the impact of the Normans on southern Europe and the Middle East. The Normans spread south in the 11th century, winning control of southern Italy and the island of Sicily. There they created their most prosperous kingdom, where Christianity and Islam co-existed in relative harmony and mutual tolerance. It became a great centre of medieval culture and learning. But events in the Middle East provoked the more aggressive side of the Norman character. In 1095, the Normans enthusiastically answered the Pope's call for holy war against Islam and joined the first crusade. They lay siege to Jerusalem and eventually helped win back the holy city from the muslims. This bloody conquest left a deep rift between Christianity and Islam which is still being felt to this day.
2/3 • The Normans • 2010 • History
After Caesar, Antony and Octavian divided the empire for a time. But there could only be one successor to Caesar. Ten years later, the supreme strategist Octavian waged a critical naval battle, the Battle of Actium, against his former ally, Antony, who now had the backing of Cleopatra.
Part 2 • The Destiny of Rome: Series 1 • 2011 • History
Was the Sphinx originally built with a lion's head and later remodeled? Dr. Zahi Hawass presents the latest theories and evidence in the mystery of the Sphinx. Egypt is a land filled with hidden treasures, buried secrets, and centuries of old mysteries left unsolved. Perhaps the greatest of these is the Sphinx, no one knows for sure who built it, or when. This Sphinx, a lion with the face of a pharaoh, towers above the Giza Plateau. It is a four-and-half thousand -year old puzzle, but now the latest science is offering new clues.
Part 3 • Egypt Unwrapped • 2008 • History
Was he an incompetent ruler, a brutal tyrant, or a great leader? 2,000 years after his death, the legacy of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, remains a point of debate. His role in ending centuries of conflict between warring factions and creating China's first imperial dynasty is indisputable, yet he has questionably been portrayed as a violent oppressor. Through ancient texts, artifacts, and expert insights, revisit the life of this complicated and influential figure.
1/2 • China's Dragon Emperor • 2019 • History
Dr Helen Castor explores the life - and death - of Joan of Arc. Joan was an extraordinary figure - a female warrior in an age that believed women couldn't fight, let alone lead an army. But Joan was driven by faith, and today more than ever we are acutely aware of the power of faith to drive actions for good or ill. Since her death, Joan has become an icon for almost everyone - the left and the right, Catholics and Protestants, traditionalists and feminists. But where in all of this is the real Joan - the experiences of a teenage peasant girl who achieved the seemingly impossible? Through an astonishing manuscript, we can hear Joan's own words at her trial, and as Helen unpicks Joan's story and places her back in the world that she inhabited, the real human Joan emerges.
2015 • 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.
10/10 • Civilisations • 2018 • History