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 5 King Death – The impact of the Black Death wiped out half the population, leaving decades of anarchy and civil unrest for the survivors. Ironically, the plague which sowed the seeds of the Peasants’ Revolt also contributed to the rise of the country gentleman.
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. Mongols Mongols rides with Genghis Khan and his descendants as they sweep from Asia to the heart of modern Germany in a frenzy of expansion.
His name comes from the latin corolus magnus, or Charles the great, and there can be no doubt about his claim to greatness. Because at the end of the 8th century, he managed to create, for a short time at least a united Europe. Something that political and military leaders and politicians have been trying to do ever since. Charlemagne founded the Holy Roman Empire which came to be one of the greatest forces in history, united many parts of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and central Europe. In spite of it’s name, this empire he created, had very little to do with the Roman Empire. What was important about it was that with it’s foundation Charlemagne brought an order and political stability to Europe that had not been seen since the fall of the old Roman Empire.
Martin Luther is the epic tale of the great Protestant revolutionary whose belief in his faith would overthrow the all powerful Catholic Church and reshape Medieval Europe. Join Luther as he recalls his life, from his initial crisis of faith in a storm wracked forest that led him to become a monk, to his heady confrontation with the great powers of Europe It is the story of the birth of the modern age, of the collapse of medieval feudalism, and the first shaping of ideals of freedom and liberty that lie at the heart of the 21st century. But this is also an intensely human tale, a story that hurtles from the depths of despair to the heights of triumph and back again. This is the story of a man who ultimately found himself a lightning conductor of history, crackling with forces he could not quite comprehend or control. Driven to Defiance – Few if any men have changed the course of history like Martin Luther. In less than ten years, this fevered German monk plunged a knife into the heart of an empire that had ruled for a thousand years, and set in motion a train of revolution, war and conflict that would reshape Western civilization, and lift it out of the Dark Ages.
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 Knight – While many may know the earthy humor of Chaucer or Rabelais, few know the dark side of chivalry, or that serfs and women were not downtrodden at all. Noble hero in shining armor? Or murdering, looting rapist? Discover some unsavory truths, and the dark side of chivalry.
What an unruly lot! Beheadings, murder, divorce, rows with the Pope, civil war, fire and plague. The headline stories from the Tudor and Stuart years represent a roller-coaster ride through one of the most important periods of history in the development of modern Britain. Most know the bloody, battle filled history of the Tudor period, not many know the accomplishments of the period. Adam Hart-Davis travels through England in search of Tudor excellence in science, art, printing, exploration and more. Ranging from a shepherd’s discovery of graphite which led to the first pencil, to a fuller understanding of human anatomy once Henry VII legalized human dissection. Episode 2 The Thinkynge Revolution – Hart-Davis travels around Britain to introduce the idea and inventions of the Tudor Age in science, literature and education. The first printing press, like the one recreated at St Bride Printing Library, was brought to England by William Paxton. The resulting printing revolution included William Tyndale’s English bible that lead to the standardisation of the English language. State education was founded by Henry VIII providing opportunities for Christopher Marlowe and William Harvey amongst others. Modern medicine began from the Swiss Alchemist Paracelsus’ belief that minerals and chemicals could be used to treat diseases. Observational science came of age when Thomas Diggs recorded the first observation of a supernova.
This is the 6 episode BBC docudrama with voiceover, not the 13 episode History channel documentary with recreations. The rise and fall of Ancient Rome through six key turning points. Factually accurate and based on extensive historical research, it reveals how the greed, lust and ambition of men like Caesar, Nero and Constantine shaped the Roman Empire. CGI is mixed with compelling drama and spectacular live-action battles. Episode 6 The Fall of Rome – At the start of the 5th century AD Rome was under siege, threatened by a vast army of Goths. Alaric finally takes Rome, and captures Galla Placidia. Following Alaric’s death, Athaulf marries Galla Placidia and his people finally settle in Southern France.
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.
This is USA condensed version of David Starkey’s Monarchy Series. In this version the 6 episode Series 1 and 5 episode Series 2 have been condensed into 6 episodes of a single series. Below is description of the 6 USA version episodes. The English Crown is one of the oldest surviving governing institutions in the world. Hosted by Dr. David Starkey this documentary presents the complete history of British royal rule from the Dark Ages to the early 20th century. Filmed on location, it’s a vivid tapestry of bloodshed, power, and passion. Episode 2 Medieval Monarchs – Charismatic and commanding, Henry II clashes with his former friend Thomas Becket, opening a rift with Rome. His line extends through Richard the Lionheart, who bankrolls the Crusades, John, who signs the Magna Carta, Edward I, Hammer of the Scots, whom moviegoers know from Braveheart, and eventually Henry V, Shakespeare’s hero, who turns his attention to conquest.
This series of programs consists of 16 episodes which profile 16 evil men and women throughout history who have used their power to torture, kill, maim and eradicate millions of people. Vlad the Impaler – Vlad is best known for the legends of the exceedingly cruel punishments he imposed during his reign and for serving as the primary inspiration for the vampire main character in Bram Stoker’s popular Dracula novel.
Their images are etched in the earth and legends proclaim they created the wonders of the world. From fictionalized villains to real life heroes, through scriptures, folklore, and mythology, they are woven into the fabric of history. They are in our fairy tales and our nightmares. Giants are relevant to us because they tell us about our own past. Legends tell how their colossal strength moved mountains and how their iron will could move a nation. They represent the struggle between good and evil in ancient religions and they remind us all of the undeniable power of the human spirit.
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?
Thousands of years ago, Myths were used to help frame the world of the ancients, and dictate the guidelines of their societies. Today, they are often the first stories we learn as children, iconic tales in which good and evil clash, and humanity and fantasy collide. But what is the reality behind these stories? Each episode connects ancient myths to actual historical events, as well as to events in the Bible and other cultures mythologies, gaining important historical insight from renowned scholars in search of the truth behind the legends. Episode 9 Tolkien’s Monsters – About J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and how both legends and real life influenced it.
Japan blossomed into its Renaissance at approximately the same time as Europe. Unlike the West, it flourished not through conquest and exploration, but by fierce and defiant isolation. And the man at the heart of this empire was Tokugawa Ieyasu, a warlord who ruled with absolute control. This period is explored through myriad voices the Shogun, the Samurai, the Geisha, the poet, the peasant and the Westerner who glimpsed into this secret world. Episode 1 The Way of the Samurai – Tokugawa Ieyasu unifies Japan and establishes a dynasty that will rule Japan for over 250 years.
The Mystery of the Black Death begins in September of 1665, when a tailor in the secluded English village of Eyam opened a flea infested shipment of fabric from London. In a matter of days, the tailor and much of the village were suffering the telltale signs of bubonic plague, the disease that, in the first five years since its arrival, had wiped out a third of the European population. To prevent the outbreak from spreading throughout the region, the whole town was quarantined, no one was allowed in or out. Outsiders assumed that the bacteria would simply wipe out the entire village. But they were wrong. Three hundred and fifty years later, Dr. Stephen O’Brien, a geneticist from the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., is delving into the reasons why some individuals managed to survive the excruciating Black Death while others were dying all around them. Following O’Brien as he takes DNA samples and investigates historical records and family archives, the film sheds light on the resistance to the plague, and reveals a stunning legacy that the plague survivors passed on to their descendents, a similar resistance to the modern day scourge of AIDS.
John Rhys-Davies hosts this 1991 series that explores various archeological subjects and their link to stories of the past. The show explores the efforts of archaeologists and the methods they use to discover the answers to these mysteries. Episode Clash Of The Maya Kings – From the early ideas that the Maya were a peace loving society, to the slow realisation that they were state controlled, warring and bloodletting cities of warriors and priests, this programme looks at city sites such as Calakmul and Tikal. Maya kings were the centers of power for the Maya civilization. Each Maya city-state was controlled by a dynasty of kings. Maya kings and queens felt obliged to legitimize their claim to power. One of the ways to do this was to build a temple or pyramid. Pacal’s Temple of Inscriptions still towers today amid the ruins of Palenque, as the supreme symbol of Pacal’s influence and power in Palenque.
Dr Saul David investigates the violent world of the medieval melee tournament. Forget the images of chivalric knights, well-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.
Ten thought – provoking episodes bring a fresh perspective to Scotland’s past and challenges many of the perceived notions of Scottish history. Using the very latest in historical research A History of Scotland is a sweeping and insightful chronicle of an often turbulent, but continuingly fascinating nation.
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. Saxons Watch this Germanic horde ravage the British coast, destroy Roman defenses and plunder monasteries in an orgy of pagan worship, then turn to confront their barbarian brothers in a bloody battle for power and land.
Beijing is one of the world’s great cities and it was made capital of China by a great man. That man was Kublai Khan. Kublai declared himself Great Khan, supreme ruler of the Mongol empire in 1260. But his main interest was in China where he reigned until 1294 and founded the Yuan dynasty. He was the first significant non-Chinese ruler to rule over the entire Chinese empire. Kublai was the grandson of a the legendary Mongol warlord Genghis Khan. Like his grandfather Kublai crushed his enemies with brute force yet he ruled his own lands peacefully, setting up governments, creating systems of taxation, and promoting culture and commerce. He made Beijing the capital of the biggest empire the world had ever seen. But his greatest achievement was the unification of China it survives to this day. Although he reined over 700 years ago his story is one that has great significance because he ruled a great multi-cultural society and he presided over a global economy, it was globalization in the middle ages.
Martin Luther is the epic tale of the great Protestant revolutionary whose belief in his faith would overthrow the all powerful Catholic Church and reshape Medieval Europe. Join Luther as he recalls his life, from his initial crisis of faith in a storm wracked forest that led him to become a monk, to his heady confrontation with the great powers of Europe It is the story of the birth of the modern age, of the collapse of medieval feudalism, and the first shaping of ideals of freedom and liberty that lie at the heart of the 21st century. But this is also an intensely human tale, a story that hurtles from the depths of despair to the heights of triumph and back again. This is the story of a man who ultimately found himself a lightning conductor of history, crackling with forces he could not quite comprehend or control. The Reluctant Revolutionary – When an obscure monk named Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses – 95 stinging rebukes attacking the mighty Catholic Church, and its head, Pope Leo X to the door of Wittenberg Cathedral he unleashed a tornado. His ideas spread like wildfire, aided by the newly invented printing press. Finally he’s called before the German imperial parliament, in the city of Worms, and told he must recant. Risking torture and execution, Luther nevertheless refused and proclaimed his inalienable right to believe what he wished.
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 Philosopher – Since the age of science and reason, the Middle Ages has been dismissed as a period shrouded in ignorance and superstition. But the reputation of medieval scientists, known then as philosophers, has been unfairly blackened. They understood far more than we give them credit for, and had a more ethical approach that we could learn from today.
What an unruly lot! Beheadings, murder, divorce, rows with the Pope, civil war, fire and plague. The headline stories from the Tudor and Stuart years represent a roller-coaster ride through one of the most important periods of history in the development of modern Britain. Most know the bloody, battle filled history of the Tudor period, not many know the accomplishments of the period. Adam Hart-Davis travels through England in search of Tudor excellence in science, art, printing, exploration and more. Ranging from a shepherd’s discovery of graphite which led to the first pencil, to a fuller understanding of human anatomy once Henry VII legalized human dissection. Episode 3 The Goode Lyfe – The Wars of the Roses concluded, Britain could finally afford to reap some of the rewards of civilization. In a climate of domestic peace England prospered, wealthy Tudor homeowners could worry less about defence and more about comfort. In this programme we see the vast opulence of the richest woman in Britian, Bess of Hardwicke, as well as the invention of tennis (originally played with kitchen sieves), horceracing, the theatre, and knitting. And of course what programme would be complete without an investigation of that perennial Hart-Davis obsession, the Water Closet.
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 3 The Normans – History of the Normans warrior group. On an autumn day almost a thousand years ago one of the greatest battles in history begins. Invaders have struck England with their prized weapons, an armored knight, a powerful horse and an unstoppable charge. Yet the charge is stopped by a wall of English shields. Before the sun sets these nights of France will win England or an English grave, they are The Normans.