Episode 1 The First Civilizations – investigates the very latest findings about the development of the earliest civilizations. Superb graphics and re-creations combine to reveal the truth behind our transition from hunter gatherer to city dweller as the myth of the “primitive savages” of pre-history is explored. The great ancient cities of Babylon and Jericho are explored as the program compares the lives of our earliest ancestors and their nomadic contemporaries. This program considers how civilizations were first organized. Humans first lived a nomadic hunter/gatherer lifewhich later gave way to agrarian communities that enabled people to stay in one place long enough to develop roots and structure. The interdependency of such communities were the starting point for the first civilizations in Africa and Europe.
Episode 2 The First Cities – As the concept of society grew and developed, the first great cities of the ancient world came to prominence. This episode from the Secrets of Ancient Empires collection investigates the realities behind everyday life in the city including law and order, taxation and the surprising truth behind early class systems.
Episode 3 The First Merchants – The common thread that joined all great ancient powers was the need to trade. This episode of Secrets of Ancient Empires explains how trade was carried out across continents long before a single road was constructed. Nor was it only raw materials that were common currency -the program reveals how luxury items such as honey, jewelry and opium were bought and sold across the world via a complex network of trade routes. Humans traded for goods and services when they lived in early societies. The process became more centralized with the development of cities and commercial districts. The mercantile class was born, attuned to recognizing and fulfilling the needs of consumers.
Episode 4 The First Armies – shows how evolving civilization prompted the creation of organized military forces meant to protect communities. Making the most of available archival materials and artifacts, expert interviews and reenactments of important events, The First Armies re-creates military life as it was in ancient times. It tells the powerful story of the origins of organized warfare. The program reveals the truth behind the savagery of ancient battle; how weapons were made and developed; how sophisticated tactics were introduced and how great warriors made their reputation as they fought to win glory and protect their lands from foreign invasion.
Episode 5 The First Beliefs – The myriad beliefs and practices of these places of antiquity are presented with archival materials, art, reenactments, on-site visits, and interviews with scholars. Ancient cultures had their own belief systems, which reflected their connection with their natural environment. The land, the sun, moon, and stars, figured largely in the mythologies and religions of ancient peoples. Animal and human sacrifice were practiced. Some of the most colorful examples are presented in this program.