Cleopatra Portrait of a Killer New forensic evidence tells a sinister tale of love and power in Ancient Egypt. Described as a great queen, a beautiful lover, and a political schemer, Cleopatra is one of the greatest icons in history. However, with almost no remaining evidence of her existence, details of Cleopatra’s life have remained a mystery – until now. In one of the world’s most exciting finds, archaeologists believe they have discovered the skeleton of Cleopatra’s sister who was murdered by Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Journeying from Egypt to Turkey, Cleopatra – Portrait of a Killer uncovers the story of a ruthless queen who would kill her own siblings for power.
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 Oxford, Timbuktu 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.
Certain landmarks have captured the imagination and awe of modern architects and engineers around the world as they work to solve the mystery of how their ancient forebears were able to construct such beautiful, timeless and revolutionary structures with none of the machines and materials available to modern engineers. Episode Pyramids – The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only ancient Wonder of the World still standing. Can the architects cut and move the 2 million stones? Around the pyramids rise to many myths, but its real story is the story of triumph despite insurmountable obstacles, an outstanding human skills and an unquenchable thirst for one man to live forever.
They were the dreaded forces on the fringes of civilization, the bloodthirsty warriors who defied the Roman legions and terrorized the people of Europe. They were the Barbarians, and their names still evoke images of cruelty and chaos. But what do we really know of these legendary warriors? From the frigid North Sea to the Russian steppes, this ambitious series tells the fascinating stories of the most fabled groups of fighters in history, tracing 1,000 years of conquest and adventure through inspired scholarship and some of the most extensive reenactments ever filmed. Huns Huns probes the truth behind the mysterious warriors who were led by man whose name remains synonymous with bloodshed and destruction Attila.
Decisive Battles of the Ancient World presents the 13 defining points of ancient warfare moments that altered the course of history and shaped the modern world. It is a comprehensive account of the famed leaders that commanded victory and the brilliant military tactics that swayed destiny. The show used the game engine from Rome: Total War to present 3-D versions of the battles. Herman the German 9 A.D. Teutoburg Forest – The patrician leader Arminius, or Herman the German, was at the helm of one of the darkest ambushes in the history of Rome, dispelling the aura of invincibility that had long marched ahead of the vaunted legions.
Luxury isn’t always a question of the expensive and beautiful for the rich and powerful, it’s always been much more and more important than that. The story of luxury is about an idea that touches on democracy and patriotism on social harmony and epic courage and even on the divine. Because it is so important there has always been more than one definition of what luxury actually is. One thing all can agree on is that luxury is a rare thing, it divides society into the haves and have nots. Host Cambridge University academic Dr Michael Scott asks the question “Do we love luxury or hate it or both?” He presents the view that the best way to understand today’s anxious response toward luxury is to think about how it operated in the past and to understand how that past continues to impact society today. Episode Luxury in Ancient Greece – follows the debate about luxury which convulsed ancient Greece from the beginning of the classical era. In Athens, it explores the role of luxury in the beginnings of democracy – how certain kinds of luxury came to be forbidden and others embraced. A simple luxury like meat could unite the democracy, and yet a taste for fish could divide it. Some luxuries were associated with effeminacy and foreigners, others with the very idea of democracy.
As the world approaches the 21st century, this new series hosted by Michael Woods and produced in 1991, reminds us that other nations and cultures prospered for hundreds or even thousands of years. Now all that remains is the legacy of their civilizations, present and influential in our own. Shot on location on four continents, Legacy takes a different viewpoint from other series that concentrate primarily on the the Western view of history. Visiting China, India, Egypt, the Middle East, Greece and Meso-America, this series traces the rise of both Asian and western civilization. Central America The Burden of Time – Isolated from the rest of the world, the Mayans and Aztecs created sophisticated civilizations that in many ways paralleled ancient Mediterranean empires. god like kings and a priestly ruling class dominated splendid cities of temples and pyramids.
For over a thousand years, Rome was the center of the known world. One of the most glorious empires in history, she brought to her subjects a common language, shared culture, and for some wealth beyond imagination. But nothing lasts forever. War, barbarian attacks, and moral decay eventually took their toll and the empire slowly began to crumble. This six part series presents the complete history of Rome, from its primitive beginnings, to the height of its glory to its eventual decline, as well as its legacies today. Filmed in 10 countries, Rome Power and Glory combines location footage of ancient monuments, detailed reenactments, period art and writings, and insights from scholars and public figures to bring the ancient world to life. Narrated by Peter Coyote and originally shown on TLC network. Episode 1 The Rise – The origins of the Roman Empire, which rose from a weakened Italian city-state to conquer much of the known world
In 2009, a team of marine archaeologists carrying out a sonar survey of the seabed around the Italian island of Ventotene made an astonishing discovery. The wrecks of five ancient Roman ships were found in pristine condition. Remarkably, much of the cargo remained exactly as the ancient Roman crews had loaded it. What happened to these ancient ships? What were they carrying and why had they traveled to this remote, rocky island in the first place? Lost Ships of Rome follows the team as they explore the sites in detail, salvage artifacts and piece together the history of the ships and why they were lost at Ventotene two thousand years ago.
The world’s largest democracy and a rising economic giant, India is now as well known across the globe for its mastery of computer technology as it is for its many armed gods and its famous spiritual traditions. But India is also the world’s most ancient surviving civilization, with unbroken continuity back into prehistory. Like other great civilizations – Greece or Egypt for example, over the millennia it has enjoyed not just one but several brilliant golden ages in art and culture. Episode 1 Beginnings – Through ancient manuscripts and oral tales Wood charts the first human migrations out of Africa. He travels from the tropical backwaters of South India through lost ancient cities in Pakistan to the vibrant landscapes of the Ganges plain. Wood also attempts to re-create soma, an ancient drink recorded in the Rig Veda.
700 years ago the world was dominated by one superpower the Mongol Empire. Only one conquest still eluded their leader, Khubilai Khan – the mystical islands of Japan. To seal his place in history, he constructed the biggest invasion force the world has ever seen – a fleet of more than 4,400 ships. But at this pivotal moment in world-history the fleet vanished without a trace What force destroyed the Mongol armada? Was it the legendary Japanese samurai? Human error? Or a natural disaster of catastrophic proportions? Now a Japanese marine archaeologist believes he has found the Mongol fleet. With an array of the latest marine forensic technology, he is revealing chilling new insights into the events of that fateful day. Can science finally solve the mystery of the Lost Fleet of Khubilai Khan?
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 Nefertiti, who 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.
Each half hour episode looks at a major fighting people or force and charts the reasons for their rise to dominance and subsequent fall. The show explores the motivations of ancient soldiers, as well as how they lived, fought, trained, died, and changed the world. It also uses battle re-enactments and computer graphics to demonstrate military strategy. This series from the Discovery Channel is especially good for the lesser known groups of warriors. Episode 2 The Celts – Only Roman discipline overcomes well armed Celts. They swept down from the mountains like a torrent and roared over the land. They seemed half-man half-beast. As wild as the hills they emerged from. In battle none were more reckless, none more fearless. So terrible did they appear that their foes might turn and run before a blow was struck. They fought for nothing less than victory and mocked death itself.
Bible Mysteries is a series of programs exploring great figures and events from biblical times. Historical, archaeological and anthropological evidence combined with stylish drama re-enactments, CGI graphics and expert opinion offers a comprehensive exploration into some of the Bible’s most compelling people and stories and gives fresh insights into the historical realities of the times. Episode The Real Mary Magdalene – Mary Magdalene’s story is intimately linked with Jesus. She plays a starring role in one of the most powerful and important scenes in the Gospels. When Jesus is crucified by the Romans, Mary Magdalene was there supporting him in his final terrifying moments and mourning his death. She also discovers the empty tomb, and she’s a witness to the resurrection. She was there at the beginning of a movement that was going to transform the West. But the Mary Magdalene that lives in our memories is quite different. In art, she’s often semi naked, or an isolated hermit repenting for her sins in the wilderness an outcast.
Decoding the Past is a series that “decodes” the past by looking for unusual, paranormal, and mysterious things written about throughout history that may give clues as to what will happen in the future. The Antichrist Part 2 zero Hour – The Antichrist episode of Decoding the Past series was so popular producers added this second episode to the series. 10s of millions of people are on the lookout for him and for signs of the end times. Many people believe he is alive now and prepared to take his place in the sequence of events leading up to the end of time as predicted in the book of revelations. Whether believers think he is here or waiting in the wings they consider the antichrist a figure of unparallelled evil. He is seen as a sign of the times we live in. Many prophecy believers feel the endgame has already begun.
Michael Wood goes in search of four of the world’s most famous myths. These gripping adventures take the viewer to some of the most extraordinary places on earth, exploring stories that have captivated the world for thousands of years. The Search for Shangri-La – Wood’s search for Shangri-La takes him on a thrilling trek through India, Nepal and Tibet. The tale of the magical hidden valley of Shangri-La was popularized in the 1930s by James Hilton in his novel, Lost Horizon. But, the story of a lost kingdom behind the Himalayas free from war and suffering is descended from a much older Indian myth. When Europeans first caught wind of the tale back in the 16th Century, they set about trying to discover it. To find the truth behind the legend, Michael follows their track on foot through the Maoist controlled lands of Western Nepal and then on into Tibet. On the way he visits Mount Kailash
After thousands of years of debate and question this series explores many of the greatest tales of Scripture. Filmed on location throughout the Holy Land and utilizing modern scientific techniques and newly found archaeological discoveries Mysteries of the Bible reveals surprising facts and theories behind the legendary figures and fabled stories of the Bible. Episode Abraham One Man One God – His covenant with God led to the birth of a nation and in the ultimate test of devotion, he was asked to sacrifice his son. Abraham’s unwavering faith made him one of the holiest men in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Yet for all his renown, is there evidence that such a man existed? 1500 cuneiform tablets discovered within the ancient city of Ebla hold clues that might unlock the mystery surrounding this epic figure. Join esteemed scholars on a journey of discovery and revelation that leads from the lands of Mesopotamia and Canaan to Jerusalem’s most sacred sites.
It is 114 B.C. and the Republic of Rome is a small empire clinging to the rim of the Mediterranean. Suddenly, terror grips the Romans as the first barbarian attack smashes through the imperial boarder, paving the way for what would become one of the most tumultuous eras in the history of mankind. Filled with dramatic re-enactments and action packed battle scenes, Rome Rise and Fall of an Empire chronicles the dramatic story of one of history’s greatest empires from its first major battle to its remarkable military feats and through its eventual fall. This is the History Channel series, not BBC. Dacian Wars – Despite the Empire’s successes, the extensive military campaigns begin to take their toll on Rome’s finances. When Dacian tribes ravage Roman lands, the unpopular Emperor Domitian is forced to raise taxes. He has never been on the front lines himself, but one of his generals, a young man named Trajan, soon proves to be a worthy leader while battling Germanic tribes on the Rhine.
This documentary tour de force on the world’s greatest battles and the fearless men who won them. The Conquerors examines 12 legendary figures that altered the course of history through military brilliance and sheer willpower. Diary entries, interviews with scholars and heart-stopping reenactments examine the strategies, weapons of conquest and the significance of each engagement in the annals of history. Hosted by decorated war veteran Captain Dale Dye. Episode King David – After slaying Goliath, King David fought his way to the top while establishing Israel as an independent nation and capturing Jerusalem in 995 B.C. Famed as the slayer of Goliath, King David’s greatest triumph came when he united the tribes of Israel. See how David accomplished what scores of rulers before him had failed to do. King David vanquished all other contenders to the throne of Israel. He then turned his attention outwards, rapidly defeating the Philistines, the Moabites, the Aramaeans, the Edomites, and finally the Ammonites, establishing Israel as an independent national state and greatly extending its territories.
Time Life’s Lost Civilizations combines cutting edge digital effects technology (for 1995) with powerful dramatization. Dazzling spectacles re-create rituals and events, original location cinematography in 25 countries. Computer graphics make lost worlds live again! Episode 4 Greece A Moment of Excellence – Enter the extraordinary lives of the classical Greeks at the height of their civilization. Examine the conflicting forces of passion and reason that shaped the art and ideas of the western world.
This is where it all began, Adam Hart-Davis first foray, directly inspired by the Monty Python sequence from “The Life of Brian”, where the People’s Front of Judea discuss “What have the Romans done for us?”, into how the foundations of modern society were laid by the surprising cultural and technological achievements of the Roman empires. This is the first series of “What The … Did For Us” hosted by Adam Hart-Davis. Episode 3 Building Britain – Within 30 years of the invasion there were 60,000 Roman troops in Britain, they had come from some of the most advanced places in Europe, and to them this sort of settlement must have seemed primitive. This is the story of how they transformed the landscape and laid the foundations for the countryside and the cities Britain has today. Hart-Davis analyses the Romans’ ingenious farming methods and looks at the creation of early towns. He visits York and discovers the remains of the Roman city and a Roman sewer that is still working. Butser Ancient Farm, described as “an open air laboratory”, this reconstructed Iron Age farm and settlement is an archaeological research project, investigating the ancient methods of Celtic farmers. Housesteads Roman Fort, Britain’s most intact Roman fort, all the more impressive for its clifftop location, built by Hadrian in the second century. Fire brigades and primitive fire extinguishers, demonstrated by Hart-Davis, were developed under the auspices of the Emperor Nero.
Explores how and why the seven wonders of this incredible civilisation still retain the power to amaze the world today. From prehistoric palaces to bold symbols of victory, explore the seven ancient wonders that stir spectators to this day: the Theatre of Epidaurus, the statue of Zeus at Olympia, Apollo’s Temple at Delphi, the Colossus of Rhodes, the settlement at Santorini, the Palace of Knossos and surely the greatest masterpiece of them all, the Parthenon. Learn how such impressive displays of engineering were managed in a time when technology was still in its infancy. Engineers and architectural experts detail the unique structural aspects that make each monument so “wonder-ful,” while historians describe each wonder’s powerful role in ancient Greek life.
Throughout the ages, civilizations have risen up and then disappeared. Traditionally, the disappearance of certain ancient civilizations has been left to the theologians and historians to explain. Now scientists have entered the fray. In this series geologists, archaeologists and climatologists explain their findings. Ancient Apocalypse seeks to explain how human achievements were destroyed by the forces of nature. Series using science to solve riddles of the ancient past. Episode 4 The Maya Collapse – The ancient Mayan culture left behind some of the world’s largest pyramids, but the mystery remains unsolved of why the tribe suddenly disappeared around 800 A.D., with no evidence to suggest what happened to 11 million people. For decades, archaeologists have been searching for an explanation of the Maya collapse. Many theories have been put forward, ranging from warfare and invasion to migration, disease and over farming or with a combination of these factors. But none of the controversial theories were good enough for Dick Gill. He believed that what had devastated the Maya was drought, however drought as the only explanation of the Maya collapse was highly controversial.
Ancient X Files travels around the world to solve some intriguing riddles. Each story is a piece of detective work by an expert trying to make sense of some puzzling ancient artifact, to find the truth behind some extraordinary legend, to discover the origins of a bizarre myth or to establish the authenticity of a venerated religious relic. Join intrepid investigators as they delve into some of mankind’s most enduring mysteries. Episode Philosophers Stone the Lost Ark – Examining the medieval myth of the Philosopher’s Stone, a Holy Grail-type relic which supposedly held the key to alchemy and immortality. Many noted alchemists and adventurers searched obsessively for the artefact hoping to learn its powerful secrets, a quest which allegedly drove some to madness and others to celestial encounters. It’s one of the most coveted artefacts of the Bible: a gold-encrusted chest containing the Ten Commandments. Can modern scholarship explain the awful powers of the Ark of the Covenant and tell us how it vanished and where it is today?
Discovery Channel Alexander the Great’s triumphs over the Persian and Egyptian empires are some of the most spectacular campaigns of conquest and exploration in history. But what inner conflicts drove this great military leader? Follow the story of a man who assumed power at the age of 22 and died at 33, planning his next expedition across North Africa and Europe.