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 soldiersas 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 twenty part documentary series from the Discovery Channel was aimed at the school market so it’s as good an introduction as possible for such a small time period and should not be taken as an exhaustive investigation of the topic. It is especially good for the lesser known groups of warriors. Series 1 Episode 1 The Assyrians Masters of War – The Assyrians employ the first standing army. No army had ever carried war so far, they conquered an empire from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. They despoiled great cities of Babylon and enslaved the tribes of Israel, even the Pharaoh of Egypt paid them tribute. Their army became the largest the world had ever seen, their warriors the greatest and their warfare the cruelest. 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. 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. Episode 4 The Legions of Rome – Roman legions destroy Carthage, then conquer Greece. At the end of the first century A.D. the soldier Tiberius Claudius Vitalus crossed the river Danube and reached the end of the world. Trained to obey in the war to come victory would hang on such discipline, the greatest weapon, of the greatest army the world had yet seen. Episode 5 The Macedonians – Alexander the Great uses his father’s tactics to conquer the Persian Empire. From the day these warriors fought, war would never be the same. They would march farther than any soldiers before them and outfight every army they met. In one afternoon they would defeat the proudest civilization of their day. Led by the greatest general in history they would forge an empire larger than any yet seen and leave their footprints forever on the world. Episode 6 Soldiers of the Pharaoh – Hieroglyphics depict Egyptian chariots. In the 17th century B.C. the ancient kingdom of Egypt was suddenly overthrown. “Unexpectedly from the region to the east invaders from an obscure race marched in confidence across our land. They burned our cities ruthlessly raised to the ground the temples of the gods and treated all the natives with cruel hostility.” Humiliated by the defeat the Egyptian Pharaoh vowed to reclaim his country. Out of the desert sprang an army of warriors burning with vengeance. Episode 7 The Spartans – Spartan culture is geared to producing the perfect warrior. They were soldiers unlike any others before or since. Their nation was an armed campthey knew no trade but war. In 480 B.C. in Thermopylae, they met an army 100 times their size and stood their ground. For them the trumpets never sounded retreat. Their name has become a synonym for hardship willingly endured and death stoically faced. Series 2 Episode 8 The Janissaries An Army of Slaves – Christian slaves become Ottoman Janissary warriors. For five centuries the crossroads of Europe and Asia has been known as Istanbul. Once it was called Constantinople, a Christian island in a muslim sea. It withstood every assault by the warriors of allah. In 1453 the sultan besieged the city with a new army men sworn to lay down their lives for him. An army of slaves, they were the sword of Allah and the scourge of Christendom. Episode 9 The Huns – Mobility gains Attila’s Huns a tactical advantage over Persia and Byzantium. Without warning they appeared one day in the east. An unknown tribe from an unknown land. Masters of the horse and the bow, they struck as swiftly as an arrow, robbing, burning, killing, passing over the land like locusts. In the fifth century A.D. they swept across the plains of Europe, to the gates of Rome itself. They were the horsemen of the apocalypse. Episode 10 The Knights Templar – The Knights Templar crusade to take back the Holy Land. A thousand years after Christ was crucified the holiest site in Christendom was seized and defiled. The pope beseeched all Christians to unite in a great crusade. “Go forward boldly as knights of Christ. Hurrying swiftly to defend the church” His call was headed by a new order of knights who pledged their lives to retake the holy land. Warrior monks fighting for God and betrayed in the end by their own church. Episode 11 The Vikings – Boats enable Vikings to plunder Europe. “In this year dire portents appeared over Northumbria and sorely frightened the people. They consisted of immense whirlwinds and flashes of lightening. And fiery dragons were seen flying in the air” A scribe records that in the year 793 marauders from the north crossed the sea to England and shattered the peace. Pagans in search of treasure they surprised the defenseless monastery of Lindisfarne. For Christian Europe the blackest hour of the dark ages was about to strike. The Vikings had come. Episode 12 The Highlanders – Highlander efforts help free Scotland from English control. In the Scottish Highlandswhere hatreds are as old than the hills, men die easier in feuds, where clan fights clan, only one hatred can unite them, the hatred of the English. Against the odds a band of warriors will help Scotland win it’s greatest victory and deal England one of its worst defeats. Episode 13 The Irish Warriors of the Emerald Isle – Irish warriors. A thousand years after the death of Christ, Ireland fights for its life against pagans from the north, Vikings. Out numbered the Irish put their faith in one man, a fanatical warrior destined to become a king and then a legend. Before the last battle is over Ireland will know unity and treachery in the same moment. Episode 14 The Maurya Warriors of the Elephant – The Maurya Empire defeats the last remaining opposition in the Indian subcontinent. In ancient India one creature was both a god and a weapon. For one king these beasts were the shock troops of an army as organized as any before or since. Riding a juggernaut these soldiers carved out on of the larges empires in history. Series 3 Episode 15 The Aztecs – The Aztecs sacrifice captured enemies. “Dear son you must understand that your home is not here where you have been born, for you are a warrior. You are a bird and the house where you have been born is just a nest. Your mission is to give the sun the blood of enemies to drink and to feed the earth with their bodies” In the time of Columbus Europe discovered a strange new world, where every boy was born to fight and men fought for living flesh. Mortals to be sacrificed to slate the thirst of a god for blood. Episode 16 The Samurai – A strict code of unquestioning loyalty characterizes the samurai. In the year 1160 Japan’s two greatest clans fought a war of annihilation. The leader of the Taira clan gathered his soldiers to hunt down his bitter rival the Minamoto. Few of the Minamoto survived, not even their chief. His young sons escaped and they swore to take up the sword and avenge their father. They would follow the path of honor or death, the way of the Samurai. 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. 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. Episode 19 The Ninja Warriors of the Night – History of the Ninja warrior group. A thief is about to steal or die trying. Outside the victims window a gentle rain shower begins to fall. It seams the roof has sprung a leak. False alarm, but the sword is gone, the novice has passed the test and joins an invisible army, Ninjas the warriors of the night. Episode 20 The Sioux Warriors of the Plains – Dakota history and warrior tactics, the Dakota battle American settlers, massacre at Wounded Knee. When the American west was still wild, they were its master. On the back of the horse, they swept across the plains. At a river called the Little Big Horn, under a warrior called Crazy Horse, they humbled a nation and won the greatest victory in the wars for the west. Bonus Episodes The Romans – Roman warriors establish Rome as the dominant city state in Italy. The Zulus – In 1879, the Zulus successfully defeat a British attack.