Ancient Worlds

A fascinating journey of discovery through the birth of nations. From the cities of Mesopotamia to the Bronze Age, the Persian Wars, Alexander the Great and Rome, this landmark series brings kings, warriors, merchants and philosophers back to life, showing how the successes and failures of the ancients shaped the world that we have inherited.

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  • City of Man, City of God
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    November 14, 2011

    Examines the rise and fall of the world's most successful empire, Rome. But the material benefits of the 'good order' delivered by Roman rule provided its citizens and subjects with the security to ask profound questions about the meaning of life, questions that the pragmatic, polytheistic Roman belief system was ill-equipped to answer. Christianity grew to fill the spiritual vacuum at the heart of Roman civilization, and the City of Man would be eclipsed the City of God.

  • Republic of Virtue
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    November 7, 2011

    Examines the phenomenon of the Roman Republic, from its fratricidal mythical beginnings, with the legend of Romulus and Remus, to the all-too-real violence of its end, dragged to destruction by war lords like Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar.

  • Return of the King
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    October 31, 2011

    Traces the battle-scarred career of Alexander the Great, from Greece through Turkey, Syria and Lebanon to Egypt and ultimately to Pakistan, where he discovers fascinating traces of a city where Greek west and Buddhist east were united in a intriguing new way. But it would be Alexander's successors, the Hellenistic Kings, had to make sense of the legacy of this charismatic adventurer.

  • The Greek Thing
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    October 24, 2011

    Explores the power and the paradox of 'the Greek Thing'--a blossoming in art, philosophy and science that went hand-in-bloody hand with political discord, social injustice and endless war. He paints a fascinating picture of the internal and external pressures that fuelled this unique political and social experiment, one that would pioneer many of the political systems that we still live with today, from oligarchy to tyranny, from totalitarianism to democracy.

  • The Age of Iron
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    October 17, 2011

    Looks at the winners, losers and survivors of the great Bronze Age collapse, a regional catastrophe that wiped out the hard-won achievements of civilisation in the eastern Mediterranean about 3,000 years ago. In the new age of iron, civilisation would re-emerge, tempered in the flames of conflict, tougher and more resilient than ever before.

  • Come Together
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    October 10, 2011

    In the first episode of this epic series we explore the origins of one of the most profound innovations in our human story: civilisation. Starting in Uruk, the mother of all cities in southern Iraq, we travel to Syria, Egypt, Anatolia and Greece, exploring the challenges posed by this experiment in a new way of being human.