Bettany Hughes' series profiling the most celebrated thinkers of the Ancient world continues as she turns her attention to Socrates. Heading to Greece, she details how the Athenian philosopher secured a reputation as an influential maverick. She also highlights how his contributions as one of the founders of Western philosophy did not please his detractors, as his outspoken defence of his beliefs ultimately led to his execution.
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.
Bettany Hughes' series exploring the lives and teachings of influential ancient philosophers draws to a close with a profile of Confucius, who is credited as the first Chinese thinker to take a systematic philosophical approach to issues of social, political and ethical importance. Born during the chaotic Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history, Confucius believed that harmony could be promoted and achieved through the examples of sage rulers. He was also a innovative teacher, and tried to instill his principles of moral excellence in China's elite, but died without seeing his vision for his nation come to pass. However, his philosophies would eventually form the bedrock of Chinese culture, with many of his principles of tradition surviving to this day.
Edward III rips up the medieval rule book and crushes the flower of French knighthood at the Battle of Crecy with his low-born archers. His son, the Black Prince, conducts a campaign of terror, helping to bring France to her knees.
On June 28th, 1914, the assassination of an obscure Austrian archduke in Sarajevo triggers the most disastrous conflict the world has ever known. Germany becomes an enemy to France, invades Belgium, and in September arrives at the gates of Paris.
Professor Darius Arya uses scanning technology to reveal the hidden secrets of ancient Athens. From the buildings on the Acropolis to the silver mines and quarries beyond the city, he investigates the story of the city that gave the world democracy.