For yearsthousands of paintings owned by the British public have been hidden away and inaccessible, until now. Thanks to the work of the Your Paintings project, over 200,000 works in our national collections have been painstakingly uncovered, photographed and put online, some for the very first time, allowing art experts and amateur sleuths alike to make connections and discoveries that wouldn’t have been possible before. Alastair Sooke teams up with art detective Dr. Bendor Grosvenor to unearth some hidden gems and find out what the paintings say about British society.
1979 British television documentary written and presented by the Australian journalist John Pilger. The film recounts the bombing of Cambodia by the United States in 1970 during the Vietnam Warthe subsequent brutality and genocide that occurred when Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge militia took over, the poverty and suffering of the people, and the limited aid since given by the West. Viewers were so moved by the plight of the people that they donated 45 million to the station in aid. President Nixon and Mr. Kissinger unleashed 100,000 tons of bombs, the equivalent of 5 Hiroshimas. John Pilger vividly reveals the brutality and murderous political ambitions of the Pol Pot/Khmer Rouge totalitarian regime which bought genocide and despair to the people of Cambodia .
New discoveries by Egyptologists have found that women pharaohs wielded secret powers in ancient Egypt. This documentary examines their rise to power and cultural influence in ancient Egypt. From Nefertitiwho some scholars believe briefly ruled before the accession of Tutankhamun, to Hatshepsut generally regarded by Egyptologists as one of the most successful pharaohs, learn about the female rulers of one of the ancient world s greatest dynasties. Of course no exploration of the women who ruled Egypt would be complete without an insight into the life of the most famous Empress of them all, the legendary Cleopatra. Traditionally she has been painted as a cruel voluptuary, but through dramatic reconstruction and breathtaking footage of various Roman and Egyptian sites, Discovery tells the true story of the Egyptian Queen. Narrated by Kyra Sedgwick.
Exclusive rough cut of first in depth documentary on WikiLeaks and the people behind it! Reporters Jesper Huor and Bosse Lindquistof Swedish televitions, SVT, have traveled to key countries where WikiLeaks operates, interviewing top members, such as Assange, new Spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson, as well as people like Daniel Domscheit-Berg who now is starting his own version, Openleaks.org, and other top members of the whistleblowing organization, some of who have since left the embattled internet site. The documentary chronicles the history of WikiLeaks, starting with its early leaks of Scientology documents and ending with its release of American diplomatic cables in 2010. Where is the secretive organization heading? Stronger than ever, or broken by the US? Who is Assange, champion of freedom, spy or rapist? What are his objectives? What are the consequences for the Internet?
How could a civilization which thrived for over two thousand years just suddenly disappear? Today many believe that a giant drought killed off the Maya but is this really the case? World Maya Expert, Nikolai Grube began by looking at the Maya’s own historical records their fantastic hieroglyphic writing. Hidden within them he found two extraordinary figures: Dark Bat King and a Cold Killer Queen. Never before has the story of these remarkable individuals been brought to life. By resurrecting their spirit, Grube has come to the groundbreaking theory that the Maya collapse cannot be blamed on natural forces, but on the violent world of human politics and power struggles.
Documentary about the final hours of Stalin’s lifewhy was he denied medical attention, was he poisoned? Was it one of his inner circle of cronies and henchmen, also reconstructions of that days events and interviews with Stalin’s living relatives and the children of his inner circle. This is a real who done it.
This documentary combines computer animation with live action footage to show how dinosaurs might have looked striding over the landscapes of the United States. Each portion of the U.S. is profiled to show what it looked like millions of years ago and what animals strode that particular portion of the continent.
The Mary Rosebuilt five centuries ago and named after the favourite sister of Henry VIII, was a forerunner of today’s battleships. A team of experts from the fields of shipbuilding, science, history and archaeology gather to study the evidence and try to pin down the reason for the disaster. Using a scaled down model of the Mary Rose, forensic scientists reconstruct the ship’s last voyage, and a tragic picture emerges of her final moments.In a cellar under a naval dockyard are some of the remains of an English warship that mysteriously sank in 1545 taking over 400 with her the reason the ship sank has never been fully explained over the centuries the french the crew and even the shipwrights have all been blamed for the catastrophe only now are archeologist and scientist beginning to come up with new evidence to explain one of the great disasters of sea warfare The sinking of the Mary Rose.
As the Nazi Reich staggers toward final extinction desperate resistance continues amidst the rubble of Berlin. Hitler had sent his armies marching and ravaging over a continent and beyond. Throughout all that vast sphere of conflict there was one band of fighting men who were everywhere known. In their brief but extraordinary existence they won a unique reputation for daring elan and unfailing professionalism in combat. Yet if their courage was beyond disputeso too was the fear and loathing which they elicited, even eventually among their own people, and in the regular soldiers alongside whom they fought. In the long period of decline and retreat, despite repeatedly sustaining appalling casualties their discipline remained unbroken, their fighting ardour unimpaired, almost to the very end, and for all their high undoubted bravery they bear a reputation forever shrouded with infamy.
Actor and writer Rupert Everett takes a revealing and witty journeyretracing the steps of one of his great heroes the infamous author, Victorian explorer and sexual adventurer, Sir Richard Burton. Labelled Dirty Dickin part for his translations of the Kama Sutra and The Arabian Nights, to others Burton was a pioneer, bringing new cultural ideas of sex and religion from the East to the West.
To mark the Papal visit to the UKa camera crew have spent a year filming a world that few have ever seen. With unprecedented access to the Vatican and the people who live and work there, this is a unique profile of the heart of the Catholic Church and the world’s smallest Sovereign State. Archivists reveal the Vatican’s secrets, including the signed testimony of Galileo recorded by the Inquisition. A Cardinal journeys deep below St Peter’s Basilica to inspect the site claimed to be tomb of the Saint himself, and curators share a private viewing of Michelangelo’s extraordinary decoration of the Sistine Chapel.
Through reenactmentscomputer animation and expert analysis, this documentary charts the origins of humanity, chronicling the evolutionary development that left Homo sapiens as the lone remaining human species. Text books will no longer include the famous illustration of human evolution moving in a straight progression from hulking ape to modern human. A new generation of scientists is unearthing tantalizing clues in a mystery that circles the globe over millions of years. Their discoveries are dramatically rewriting the human story. This new evidence reveals prehistoric ancestors did not walk the earth alone. Parallel experiments in human evolution gave rise to diverse human forms, from giants to hobbits … each with the intelligence skills and potential to flourish. Some evolved, others died off, and even those that gave rise to modern man may have teetered at the edge of extinction. How and why did we outlive nature’s other human experiments? What happened over the millennia to help us survive?
The legend of Helen of Troy has enchanted audiences for the last three thousand years. A Hollywood film staring Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom is about Troy. But is there any reality to the myth? This documentary has unprecedented access to the scientist with the answers. Since 1988 Professor Manfred Korfmann has been excavating the site of Troy. He has made amazing discoverieshow large the city was, how well it was defended and, crucially, that there was once a great battle there at precisely the time that experts believe the Trojan war occurred. But who had attacked the city and why? This documentary follows a trail of clues, the ancient tablets written by a lost civilisation, the sunken ship rich in treasure, and the magnificent golden masks and bronze swords of a warrior people. Korfmann is using science to get closer than ever to the truth behind the myth by digging in tunnels deep beneath the excavation site.
Tyrannosaurus Rexit’s the scariest, meanest, most bewitching dinosaur of them all. Children are captivated by the sheer savagery of the teeth. Moviemakers made millions out of the terror it inspired. But could our picture of this monster be completely wrong? Was T. Rex in fact a slow lumbering creature, with hideously bad breath, that couldn’t get anywhere close to catching a Triceratops. Was it really a scavenger that lived off the scraps left by others? Was T. Rex, in fact, a wimp?
For almost 1000 years Norman cathedrals and castles have dominated the British landscapebut this norman legacy has eclipsed another culture. The lost art of the people the Normans conquered, the art of the Anglo-Saxons. The discovery of these golden hordes would radically alter our interpretation of the Anglo-Saxons. They used materials and techniques that brought together the ideas and beliefs of Scandinavia, main land Europe and the middle east. The Anglo-Saxons developed a complex artistic language that combined both their pagan past and their Christian future. They created a world of codes and secret messages that revealed the inner workings of the Anglo-Saxon mind, much of which has remained hidden until now. This documentary explores the collection of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England and is presented by Dr. Nina Ramirez of Oxford University.
Chronicling the exploits of former German Panzer driver Henry Metelmannwho was conscripted to fight for the Fatherland in World War Two. Transformed from idealistic Hitler Youth to battle-hardened soldier, he was responsible for the deaths of surrendering fighters and innocent civilians, only surviving the Russian Front through a combination of luck and cowardice. He tells his story in flashbacks from his home in Britain as an old man. A matter of fact account of his youth before the war and his trials during his time as a soldier.
This is a modern detective story and it’s the story of a clue the world once knew but then forgot about or covered up. That clue is the key to the most notorious mystery in the history of crime. For more than 30 years it lay neglected a dusty sheet of paper buried in an old book shop. But now it’s the start of a trail that leads straight to the forgotten prime suspect in the white chapel murders of 1888. The victorian police had a vital cluebut it has been left until now for a suffolk police constable to discover. The story of Jack the ripper, has always been the stuff of melodrama, shrouded in fog and folklore, the ripper story is infested with bogus theories and suspects. Cutting through the fiction, this documentary attempts to focus on the forensic facts.
In September 1943 the German army marched into Rome, beginning a 9 month battle for control of the Eternal City. It was the Allied aim to preserve the Holy City’s sacred institutions and treasures. So the staggering human cost before the city’s military conquest is nearly incomprehensible. The special is based on the book The Battle for Romeits author Robert Katz was subject to five penal proceedings over the years for his contention that fear of Communism produced a Faustian pact between the Vatican and the occupying Germans. The research draws on interviews with participants inside the city, and also on previously secret documents from Italian, German, Vatican, OSS and CIA archives. We hear from ordinary Roman citizens, informants, opportunists, spies, double agents, and Germans who risked death in efforts to save Jews. We see Rome as the hotbed of assassination, intrigue, treason, and bravery that it was as we look unflinchingly at unresolved controversies.
It is the most legendary war in history. It begins with a beauty contest and ends with a giant horse unleashing destruction and annihilation. A tale so powerful it inspires 3,000 years of myth and legend. It is a story of armies divided, stolen treasure, an ancient world trade center, and a war without end. Now archaeologists, literary detectives and military analysts are uncovering evidence that the mythological city destroyed by beauty and vengeance, may be real. This is the true story of troy. For thousands of years fortune seekers and archaeologists have been searching these shores for evidence of the Trojan war and now some say they have found it. In turkey an international team is excavating what they believe to be the site of legendary Troy.
What is known about the trial and execution of Jesus? Despite the familiar gospel stories of the new testamentmuch of the historical account remains a mystery. What most historians can agree on is this: around the year 30 of the first century, a Jewish man named Jesus, leaves his home in the Galilea and does something in the Jewish temple that causes him to be arrested. Then the occupying Roman authorities execute him by crucifixion. Beyond that crucial facts remain unclear. Why is he arrested? What charges are brought against him and by whom, and why is he given the cruelest of punishments, death by crucifixion? Eminent scholars sift through Roman, Jewish and early Christian documents searching for answers.
The Spirit Hunters follows anthropologist Glenn Shepard as he lives with and learns from the Machiguenga Indiansa remote ethnic group that inhabits Peru’s upper Amazon jungle. The core of Machiguenga beliefs center around their view of the rainforest and the spirits that inhabit it. By ingesting the hallucinogen Ayahuasca, the Machiguenga are able to perceive the spirit world of the rainforest that surrounds them. This 60-minute documentary is narrated by James Earl Jones. Written and co-produced by Kim MacQuarrie.
Exposing the undercover dealings of enemy agents and the MI5 counter deception known as the double cross system, in the Second World War. Captured German spies were turned into double agents and used to deceive the Axis forces. These agents played a crucial role in the success of the Normandy landings Includes interviews with Pat McCallum, who was in charge of the double agents’ files at MI5, Anthony Simkins, former Deputy Director of MI5, as well as members of the German Abwehr military intelligence service.
It is unique in the Roman World. A spectacular and complex stone barrier measuring 74 miles longand up to 15 feet high and 10 feet thick. For 300 years Hadrian’s Wall stood as the Roman Empire’s most imposing frontier and one of the unsung wonders of the ancient world. Almost 2,000 years after it was built, Hadrian’s Wall is proving to be a magical time capsule – a window into the human past. Archaeologists have properly excavated less than 1per cent of it, but they have unearthed extraordinary findings. With presenter Julian Richards Timewatch journeys back through time to unlock the secrets of a lost world.
In 1986 a group of Romanian scientists working near the Black Sea stumbled upon one of the most amazing discoveries of this centuryone that would revolutionize our understanding of what life is and where it came from. Geologist and cave explorer, Christian Lascu, was inspecting a series of six test wells at a site where the government was planning on building a power station, the first five bore holes yielded nothing unusual and the sixth looked equally unpromising at first. The workers were inside and said they found a small hole. The geologist dug and realized there was a cave there. His task was to explore the well and insure that the limestone bedrock would support the foundations of the power station. The strong sulphurous smell at the bottom drew him on into the unknown, he reached a small sulforous lake and saw many small animals. He knew immediately this cavern was unique, where had these bizarre animals come from and how could they survive in this hostile environment deep underground?
Robert Beckford explores the historical evidence for claims that Jesus had brothers and sisterscousins, aunts, uncles and nephews, as well as a deep friendship with Mary Magdalene. Beckford and many other theologians believe that Jesus did indeed have an extended family that survived some 300 years after his death. However, they have been airbrushed from history and excised from the Bible as the result of a power struggle in the early church. The idea that Jesus was a divine being is backed by the claim that his mother Mary was a virgin and that his birth was the miraculous work of God. There is evidence from the Gospels and other documents that Mary and Joseph had other children besides Jesus, and that he grew up in an ordinary Jewish family, surrounded by brothers and sisters. For most Christians Mary’s virginity is central to their faith, and many consider it heresy to suggest that Jesus was not her only child.
The Tomb of the Red Queen is a burial chamber containing the remains of an unknown noblewoman located inside Temple XIII in the ruins of the ancient Maya city of Palenquenow the Palenque National Park, in the Chiapas state in southern Mexico. It has been dated to between 600 and 700 A.D. The tomb was discovered in 1994 by the Mexican archeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez Cruz. It takes its popular name from the fact that the remains of the noblewoman and the objects in the sarcophagus were covered with bright red cinnabar powder when the tomb was discovered. Discover the secrets of the identity of the Red Queen in this amazing documentary.
The Real Da Vinci Code ought to be the last word among plentiful video debates over the validity of startling claims in Dan Brown’s bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code. Produced by Britain’s Channel Four Television and broadcast on the Discovery Channel in the U.S.the irreverent but no-nonsense documentary systematically dismantles so called historical facts Brown embraced (not only in his story, but in interviews) to support the idea that the Holy Grail is actually the blood lineage of Jesus, carried by descendants of his child by Mary Magdalene. Hosted by Tony Robinson (Blackadder’s Baldrick), The Real Da Vinci Code hopscotches through France, Scotland, Israel, Italy, Spain, and America to investigate evidence that the major historical players in Brown’s alternative Grail legend, the heretical Cathars, the wealthy but persecuted Knights Templar, the secretive Priory of Sion, did the things Brown (and his research sources) said they did.
The Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in November 1947 was a day of national celebration. But the young couple’s path to the altar had been strewn with controversy and difficulties. Behind the smiling faces and the colourful regalia lay a story of political machination public hostility and court intrigue. This documentary captures the story of the princess from the moment when her love life became a matter of dynastic and political importance. It shows how Philip’s suitability was called into question. The stakes could not have been much higher the popularity and therefore the future of the monarchy itself.
Tensions and conflict arose between the Queen Mother and Prince Philip behind the scenes leading up to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953. The Queen’s Coronation Behind Palace Doors includes dramatic re-enactments and interviews with leading royal biographers Hugo VickersSarah Bradford, Tim Heald, Piers Brendon and Gyles Brandreth, Maids of Honour Lady Anne Glenconnerand and photographers’ assistants Michael Dunne and John Drysdale, and former House of Hartnell employee Michael Talboys. King George VI died prematurely on 6 February 1952, aged 56, thrusting his twenty five year old daughter Elizabeth onto the throne. The Queen Mother was forced to stand aside Elizabeth was caught in the middle. Prince Philip wanted to showcase a thoroughly modern monarchy whilst the traditionalists, including the Queen Mother, saw no reason for change.
Starts with an old fashioned British Pathe title card and plays just like an old extended newsreel. No controversyno real questioning of the Queen Mother’s motives or choices, but an interesting first in depth look. Labelled by Hitler as the most dangerous woman in Europe but known more affectionately as the Little Duchess then the Queen Mother she reinvigorated the Royal Family. This is the story of how the nation’s favourite grandmother carved a place in her nation’s hearts forever. A Woman of her Century is a biographical celebration of her long and distinguished life.
A charismatic original Ivor Gurney, who prior to the Great War had suffered a nervous breakdown at the Royal College of Music, enlisted as an experiment, he actually found the war invigorating and for a while his mental health improved. Unlike the other war poets Gurney wasn’t a commissioned officer, he was an ordinary front line soldier. A private. The poetry he wrote there is uniquely powerful, capturing the experience of the ordinary soldier, and the this documentary argues that it is the equal of the work of any of the more well known soldier poets of WWI.
Over three thousand years ago legend has it that Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s first female pharaoh, sent a fleet of ships to the wonderful, distant land of Punt. A bas-relief in the temple where she is entombed in Luxor shows them bringing back extraordinary treasures. But did this expedition really happen? And if it did, where exactly is the land of Punt?
Simon Armitage presents the extraordinary story of the most disturbing witch trial in British history and the key role played in it by one nine year old girl. Jennet Devicea beggar girl from Pendle in Lancashire, was the star witness in the trial in 1612 of her own mother, her brother, her sister and many of her neighbours and, thanks to her chilling testimony, they were all hanged. Armitage explores the lethal power and influence of one child’s words – a story of fear, magic and demonic pacts retold partly with vivid and innovative hand drawn animation.
Britain’s National Health Service celebrates its sixtieth birthday on 5 July this year. It is universally regarded as a national treasurethe most remarkable achievement of post war Britain. Yet, surprisingly, the National Health Service very nearly did not happen at all. In the months leading to its launch it was bitterly opposed, by the Tory Party, the national press and Britain’s 20,000 doctors. To get the NHS at all required the persistence and determination of one man, Nye Bevan, Labour’s minister of health. This film tells the extraordinary story of the six months leading up to its traumatic birth.
Documentary about the painters Augustus John and his young protege James Dickson Innes whoin 1911, left London for the wild Arenig Valley in North Wales. Over three years, they created a body of work to rival the visionary landscapes of Matisse. The paintings were the entry point for British art into Post-Impressionism. The Arenig mountain had such a hypnotic fascination for Innes that in 1910 he committed Arenig Fawr obsessively to canvas in a free and impulsive way which, one expert said, no British artist had yet managed. His work excited John, older by nine years, into following him up to North Wales, in due course bringing his chaotic menage along too. It was a fruitful stay. In John’s paintings the mountain’s contours had to compete with a figure, invariably a sinewy female and often swathed in swirling Romany scarves, parked foursquare in the foreground. One of these women was the sultry beauty Euphemia Lamb who bedded both men (among many others) and who would break Innes’s heart. But the profounder relationship of the two men seems to have been, on a creative level, with each other and with the landscape.
At a time when immigration reform continues to be one of the most heated topics in political and business circles this feature length special reexamines the controversial war that resulted in the United States taking control of what was nearly half of Mexico’s territory. Featuring lavish reenactments, and interviews with both Mexican and American historians to tell the story of President Polk’s desire to expand US territory to the Pacific Ocean. Hosted by Oscar de la Hoya.
Has the tomb of Jesus Christ been found? Since the 1970shundreds of tombs and thousands of ossuaries (limestone bone boxes) have been discovered in the Jerusalem area. These ossuaries served as coffins in first century Jerusalem. One of these tombs was found to contain ten ossuaries. Six of the ossuaries in this tomb have inscriptions on them. As it turns out, every inscription in this particular tomb relates to the Gospels. This documentary makes a case is made that the 2,000 year old Tomb of the Ten Ossuaries belonged to the family of Jesus of Nazareth.
The magnificent ancient city of pyramids at Caral in Peru hit the headlines in 2001. The site is a thousand years older than the earliest known civilization in the Americas and at 2,627 B.C., is as old as the pyramids of Egypt. Many now believe it is the fabled missing link of archaeology – a mother city. If so then these extraordinary findings could finally answer one of the great questions of archaeology why did humans become civilised?
The Lost Mummy of Imhotep uncovers what may be Egypt’s fabled city of the dead and the legendary Imhotep buried beneath the sands of Saqqara. At the dawn of Egyptian civilization, Imhotep built the first pyramid, became legendary as a physician and governed the greatest state on earth. The ancients made him a god, and Hollywood made him The Mummy. But few realize that the character was based on one of the most important figures in all of ancient history a man historians have called the world’s first known genius. For some archaeologists Imhotep’s lost burial site has been the Holy Grail of Egyptology. Now, at long last, Polish archaeologist Karol Mysliwiec may indeed have found him.
Aminatta Forna tells the story of legendary Timbuktu and its long hidden legacy of hundreds of thousands of ancient manuscripts. With its university founded around the same time as OxfordTimbuktu is proof that the reading and writing of books have long been as important to Africans as to Europeans. Viewers meet local scholars, as well as experts from across Africa and the Western world, who elucidate just how valuable these fragile treasures are to our knowledge of Africa, Islam, and the growth of literacy outside the Western tradition.
Dukedoms are created by the monarch for reasons ranging from a grateful nation rewarding a major war leader to a king acknowledging his illegitimate son. The last dukedom to be created was by Queen Victoria. As they gradually become extinct what will become of those that remain? Do they still have power and wealth? What is it to be a duke in the 21st century? Answers come from a surprising variety of extraordinary character.
One August morning in 1826two men went for a walk in the Scottish countryside, in a field just outside Kirkcaldy in southern Fife. Only one of them came back alive. Timewatch tells the story of two men who fought to the death with pistols, one a respected merchant, David Landale, a linen merchant and pillar of the community. The other was George Morgan, a soldier turned banker with a fiery temper, steeped in military tradition. The soldier also happened to be the merchant’s bank manager. It would end with the death of one man and mark the demise of a 600 year old ritual.
The region now known as Iraq has always beenin many ways, world history’s ground zero. From this rich territory sprang the earliest cities and empires, earliest armies, and earliest tyrants. The Kings From Babylon To Baghdad tells the story of Iraq through the history of its rulers, from Sargon the Great to Saddam Hussein. This feature length documentary explores the connections and relevance between ancient and modern Iraq and between Iraq and the rest of the planet.
A tsunami in the Bristol Channel could have caused the deaths of up to 2,000 people in one of Britain’s greatest natural disasters, experts have said. For centuries, it has been thought that the great flood of January 1607 was caused by high tides and severe storms. Two experts have argued a tsunami could have caused the devastation. Eyewitness accounts of the disaster, published in six different pamphlets of the time, told of huge and mighty hills of water advancing at a speed “faster than a greyhound can run” and only receding 10 days later. Dr Roger Mussonhead of seismic hazards at the British Geological Survey, said there were other examples of earthquakes in the area caused by an ancient fault off south west Ireland. One magnitude 4.5 earthquake was recorded there on 8 February 1980. “The idea of putting a large historical earthquake in this spot is not so fanciful he said. “We know from seismological evidencethat we have actually had an earthquake here, so there is a fault and it is moving, it is active. Other UK tsunamis include a 70 feet high wave that hit Scotland 7,000 years ago, following a massive landslip in Norway.
Searching for traces of a mysterious age. Could a sword with magical powers really have existed? Was there really a camelot? Who was King Arthur and the knights of the round table? Where was the legendary grail castle located? The first step in the journey for the holy grail brings us into the mysterious world of the celts. They came to europe from the east. With them they brought their culture rituals and tradition of burying a prince with his belongings as a gift to the gods. The celts believed in resurrection of the dead. A relief on a bronze vessel from the 1st century B.C. shows a prince placing dead warriors into huge drinking vessels to bring them back to life. This documentary argues the celtic magic vessel as the origin of the medieval holy grail story.
Based on the best selling book by Karen ArmstrongA History of God descents into the ancient roots of Abrahamic religions and analyses today’s three major monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This searching, profound comparative history of the three major monotheistic faiths fearlessly illuminates the sociopolitical ground in which religious ideas take root, blossom and mutate. Armstrong also acknowledges that the idea of a personal God can be dangerous, encouraging us to judge, condemn and marginalize others.
LuciferBeelzebub, The Beast, Satan. He has been called many names and taken many strange different forms over the ages. So where does the concept of the traditional evil come from? The History of the Devil goes back to the ancient Middle East, even before the Old Testament to find the roots of Satan. In Zoroastrianism it was believed that the all knowing good God was Ahura Mazda, the one Uncreated, Creator, and Ahriman was his antithesis, the God of chaos, the dark and evil one.
The true story of a family that fought the Nazi madness with the only weapon they had. Love. In wartime Holland the Ten Boom family quietly sheltered Jews in their small house – until Nazis discovered the hiding place. With the Nazi invasion of Hollandthe ten Boom family joins the underground resistance to help save persecuted Jewish families. But when they are arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps themselves, they’re left with nothing to cling to but their faith.
Historian Hallie Rubenhold reveals the story behind the 18th century’s most infamous book Harris’s Listsa catalogue describing the talents and attributes of London’s prostitutes. Created by a pimp, a prostitute and a poet, the Lists became an instant bestseller – even though they contained lurid and often disturbing descriptions of the lives of the common courtesans. Rubenhold uses the details found within the Lists to produce a vivid depiction of the steamy underside of Georgian life.
Dr Saul David investigates the violent world of the medieval melee tournament. Forget the images of chivalric knightswell-dressed damsels and dropped handkerchiefs associated with the joust. The melee tournament was a brutal free-for-all with sharpened weapons, few rules and one undisputed champion, William Marshal. His story reveals a very different kind of tournament, one in which brute force ruled, handkerchiefs stayed in pockets and where money was more important than manners.