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 Hagia Sophia – We peel back the layers of this great church of Hagia Sophia to reveal its engineering secrets,and bring to life the story of its construction.
Documentary series about the brutal, bloody and dangerous history of surgery looks at how surgery dragged itself kicking and screaming out of the dark ages, transforming itself from butchery into a science. Presenter Michael Mosley recounts the history of surgery through its catastrophes and successes. Episode 5 Bloody Beginnings – Presenter Michael Mosley finds out how the early days of surgery were dark and barbaric, when the surgeon’s knife was more likely to kill you than save you, and invasive medicine generally meant being bloodlet by leeches to within an inch of your life.
Each turning point in history has behind it a story and a set of principal characters whose dilemmas and conflicts form its dramatic core, and whose unique personalities influenced the outcome of events. History’s Turning Points provides a fascinating and intriguing new perspective on the significant moments that have changed the world. The Siege of Constantinople – 1453 AD In 1204 crusaders sacked the city, then renamed Constantinople. For the next thousand years, the Byzantine Kings hid safely behind the massive walls of Constantinople. Then in 1453, with the Turkish Ottoman Empire encircling the city, Sultan Mehmet brought the newest technology of the 15th century, the cannon, and finally brought down the walls of the world’s most impregnable fortress.
Modern Marvels celebrates the ingenuity, invention and imagination found in the world around us. This series tells fascinating stories of the doers, the dreamers and sometime schemers that create everyday items, technological breakthroughs and manmade wonders. Episode Torture Devices – For more than 3,000 years, emperors and generals, dictators and police, criminals, clerics, and even medical doctors have created and used a vast array of torture devices, everything from the ancient Greeks’ Brazen Bull, which slowly barbecued the victim, to the elaborate mechanical apparatuses of the Spanish Inquisition. A medical doctor who specializes in victims of torture reveals how the human body responds to their use, from the earliest excruciating contrivances to the more modern.
Allegedly made from the skins of 160 donkeys, the Codex Gigas is the world’s largest and most mysterious medieval manuscript. According to legend, the cursed text sprang from a doomed monk’s pact with the Devil. Experts attempt to uncover its secrets. For the first time ever, a team of scholars and scientists embark on a quest to unravel the secrets of the Codex Gigas, or Devil’s Bible. Enshrouded in mystery and steeped in dark history, superstition and fear has clouded this medieval manuscript for centuries. Evidence of Lucifer’s hand seems to pervade the tome, including darkened pages, magic spells, and a full page portrait of the Devil. Forensic document experts team up to investigate the ancient Codex safely locked away in Sweden’s National Library. With ultra-violet fluorescence imaging, hand writing analysis and a recreation of the text itself, they’ll attempt to uncover the truth of the Devil’s Bible.
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 17 Shaolin Monks – The Shaolin pattern their martial arts on animal motion. In the year 621 China was ruled by chaos. Warlord fought warlord, no one was safe, not even the emperor. His estates were seized, his subjects murdered, and his son taken hostage. A peasant found the princes imperial seal and took it to a monastery nearby. The monks resolved to find the wicked warlord and rescue the emperors son. For despite their peaceful manner, they knew a hundred ways to kill a man. They were the shaolin masters of the deadly art of kung fu.
The history of Britain and the aspirations of her Christian communities can be traced in the glorious excesses of the cathedrals. From Norman grandeur to the modern interpretations found in Liverpool and Coventry, explore the changing styles of the cathedrals in our midst. A 5 part series that takes a looks at the ingenuity behind the construction of Britain’s most famous cathedrals, using CGI and reconstructions to describe the dramatic stories of riot, fire, war, murder, and flood that shaped the history of these impressive masterpieces. Murder at Cantebury – Canterbury was at the forefront of an architectural revolution the first Gothic cathedral to be built in Britain. But the building we know today has its origins in the most infamous murder of the medieval age – Thomas Becket in 1170. After his death a devastating fire meant that Canterbury could be rebuilt as a shrine to the martyred archbishop. This is the cathedral as theatre with the story of the murder etched in stone, marble and glass. It takes the pilgrim on a journey from darkness into light – from the horrors of the slaying in the North transept to the new Trinity Chapel where Becket was reburied in a magnificent tomb sparkling with gold and precious stones.
One of the world’s greatest authorities on the Middle Ages, Professor Robert Bartlett of St Andrew’s University, investigates the intellectual landscape of the medieval world. Sex – Unearths remarkable evidence of the complex passions of medieval men and women. The Church preached hatred of the flesh, promoted the cult of virginity and condemned woman as the sinful heir to Eve. Yet this was the era that gave birth to the idea of romantic, or “courtly” love.
In the series, nova crews attempt to ferret out long forgotten secrets of early architects and engineers. How did they design and erect the medieval war machines known as trebuchets? Egyptian obelisks? The Easter Island stone monoliths called moais? Roman baths? The rainbow bridges of ancient China? China Bridge – The ancient Chinese relied on bamboo, one of nature’s most versatile building materials, to lash together their famous rainbow bridges. In this section, learn more about this amazing plant and about China’s most noteworthy inventions, including paper money, gunpowder, and the compass. Also, play an interactive game that challenges you to use the right bridge type to span a span.
Documentary 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 artifact hoping to learn its powerful secrets, a quest which allegedly drove some to madness and others to celestial encounters. Today, the quest for the Philosopher’s Stone is merely thought of as a work of fiction from the pages of a Harry Potter novel. However, in the Middle Ages, the very real search for the Philosopher’s Stone was second only to that of the Holy Grail. This fascinating documentary unearths the astonishing events surrounding this legendary stone, and the alchemists and adventurers who stopped at nothing in their search for this tantalising quarry.
The story of the number one is the story of Western civilization. Terry Jones goes on a humor filled journey to recount the amazing tale behind the world’s simplest number. Using computer graphics, “One” is brought to life, in all his various guises, in Story of 1. One’s story reveals how celebrated civilizations in history were achieved, where our modern numbers came from and how the invention of zero changed the world forever, and saved us from having to use Roman numerals today.
From the dawn of civilization to the 20th century, A History of Britain re-animates familiar tales and illuminates overlooked aspects of England’s past. Hosted by Simon Schama, this series discards timelines and tiresome lineages for a lively look at the personalities and cultures that infuse British history. Epic themes and towering figures that transformed an island “at the edge of the world” into the greatest empire on earth. Episode 3 Dynasty – The story of Henry II, who built one of the greatest empires in the medieval world, only to see it torn down by members of his own family. Infamous for inciting the murder of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket, Henry has rarely been recognised for his achievements, which included the laying of the foundations for today’s legal system.
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.
For 1500 years the dome atop Haiga Sophia has soared above instanbul. That this wonder of the ancient world still stands is remarkable, but when you consider where it stands it becomes miraculous. At the intersection of two contents is Turkey. Istanbul, once the ancient city of Constantinople, is at ground zero in one of the nmost deadly earthquake zones on earth. Since the beginning of recorded history, 4000 years ago, the city has been periodically hit by a series of massive earthquakes. But while buildings around it have toppled, Haiga Sophia and it’s amazing dome have survived 15 centuries of devastation. Is this by chance or by design. Dr. Amit Chakma of Princeton University is searching every inch of the structure seeking to answer that question.
The series follows historian and adventure seeker Ashley Cowie in his quest to crack the code on his hunt for the most powerful lost treasures in the world that are some of history’s greatest and most mysterious artifacts. After spending years studying some of the world’s most fascinating relics he is on the hunt to find where they are. Episode 6 Holy Grail – Ashley and his team go after one of the biggest legends of the Middle Ages, the Holy Grail, thought to be the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper.
Buckle on your armor and pick up your lute. Legendary Monty Python star and medieval scholar Terry Jones opens your eyes to the truths behind nine medieval characters you thought you knew. Through a lively mix of humor and research, you’ll see beyond Renaissance myths and time worn stereotypes. The Monk – A life of prayer in peaceful service to God? Not for many medieval monks, who devoted their lives to making lots and lots of money. Religion was big business in those days and the merchandising opportunities endless when you had a constant stream of devoted, unquestioning worshippers.
Presenter Mike Loades, an expert who trains people how to use medieval weapons, takes the viewer on a tour of medieval arms and armour, and demonstrates their central role in key events in British history. Learn about much more than the weapons themselves as the series draws in themes of technology, religion, geography and even music. Episode 1 The sword – A deadly weapon that was used throughout the Middle Ages and was standard army issue until the late 19th century. In the 1471 Battle of Barnet (during the War of the Roses), fighting eventually came down to the sword despite the availability of gunpowder by that time. Mike teaches 10 students how to wield a sword using the same techniques that would have been employed in medieval sword schools. Mike visits the site of the Battle of Barnet to retrace the battle step-by-step and to explore the crucial role of the sword in deciding the outcome.
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 Machu Picchu – Rediscovered only 100 years ago, Machu Picchu remains today one the most awe inspiring and mysterious monuments in the world. On the distant mountain range, located high in the Peruvian Andes, are the ruins of the ancient city. 600 years they stood under the onslaught of torrential rains and mudslides.
Britain AD – which accompanies and expands on Britain BC Francis Pryor traces the story of King Arthur back to its ancient origins. Putting forth the compelling idea that most of its key elements are deeply rooted in Bronze and Iron Ages he argues that the legends survival mirrors a flourishing indigenous culture that endured through the Roman occupation of Britain and the subsequent invasions of the so called Dark Ages.
Star-gazing reached incredible heights thousands of years before the Hubble. Using the latest scholarship, hands on demonstrations, and dramatic reenactments this documentary shows just how far ahead of their times they really were. Without the aid of magnifying technology or even a firm idea of where they stood on the planet, the Mayan grasp of the universe through astrological observation was simply stunning. Host Michael Guillen travels to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to get a firsthand look at the ancient world’s most skilled astronomers. Learn how the Maya used the sun to lay out their various temples and observatories and examine their incredibly complex and accurate calendar.
Rome’s legions met their match in the highlands of Scotland. At the archaeological dig of the Roman garrison at Vindolanda, countless artifacts help recreate the life of Roman armies, from their aqueducts to their slaughterhouse Narrated by James Woods. This is the amazing story of one of the most remarkable archaelogical finds of the Roman Empire. Archaeologists examine treasures of letters, lists and notes written on wooden tablets 2,000 years ago by Roman soldiers stationed in Britains northern frontier at their fort at Vindolanda.
The meals of King Henry VIII of England were among the most fantastic ever created. Henry consumed meals of dolphin, songbird and enjoyed intricate puddings molded from sugar. Based on astrology as much as taste Tudor food included elaborate jellies made from deer antler even alcoholic spirits flavored with pure gold. From their great palaces the Tudor monarchs were served extravagant meals that combined the outrageous with the every day, helping to shape the way we eat and taste to the present day. As we journey back in time to the 16th century we will discover the secrets of royal cuisine and reveal a meal fit for a king.
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 18 The Hawaiians Warriors of Paradise – Kamehameha unites the Hawaiian Islands under one kingdom. Behind it’s peaceful facade this paradise is a battleground. Rival armies flow across the land, no chief rules supreme. One will try, daring to link by force a chain of islands that has never been conquered.