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 Conquest of Spain - 711 AD By the 8th century, the rise of the Muslim Empire spread Arab rule over the Middle East, Egypt, and North Africa. After appointing a Berber, Tariq, to invade Spain, the Arabs enslaved the Visigoth Kingdom. Seven centuries of their Moorish rule brought accomplishments in mathematics, architecture, and science.
Jones narration is not without an occasional sardonic air, almost of the roll your eyes type, which not only lends a skeptical perspective to a frequently misunderstood era in Western Europe, but also quite frequently editorializes the events that occurred between Pope Urban II's call for liberation of Jerusalem from the infidels of Islam and the embarrassing moment when officers of the fourth Crusade are conned out of its divine calling by the Venetians. Episode 2 Jerusalem - Encased in medieval armour and resembling an armed dustbin, Terry Jones sets out on the 1000 mile walk from the Bosporus to the Holy City a journey that took the Crusaders two years. Terry recounts how four in five Crusaders died on the road trying to cross a mountain in torrential rain wearing 200 pounds of iron, and how they became religious fanatics and cannibals who slaughtered a defenceless population.
The world's largest democracy and a rising economic giant, India is now as well known across the globe for its mastery of computer technology as it is for its many armed gods and its famous spiritual traditions. Like other great civilizations had not just one but several brilliant golden ages in art and culture. Freedom and Liberation - This episode examines the British Raj and India.
The world's largest democracy and a rising economic giant, India is now as well known across the globe for its mastery of computer technology as it is for its many armed gods and its famous spiritual traditions. But India is also the world's most ancient surviving civilization, with unbroken continuity back into prehistory. In this landmark six part series for PBS and the BBC, Michael Wood will embark on a dazzling and exciting journey through today's India, seeking in the present for clues to her past, and in the past for clues to her future. Episode 3 Spice Routes and Silk Roads - after the West's "discovery" and subsequent exploitation of the Monsoon winds, trading of spices and gold with the ancient Romans and Greeks put the subcontinent at the heart of global commerce. The trading of pepper, rice and silk put the West coast of India, and particularly modern day Kerala, on the map of global business. This episode also looks at how the invading Kushan empire from central Asia, particularly the emperor Kanishka, established major trading cities in Peshawar and Mathura, as well as helping to take Buddhism to China.
The world's largest democracy and a rising economic giant, India is now as well known across the globe for its mastery of computer technology as it is for its many armed gods and its famous spiritual traditions. But India is also the world's most ancient surviving civilization, with unbroken continuity back into prehistory. Like other great civilizations - Greece or Egypt for example, over the millennia it has enjoyed not just one but several brilliant golden ages in art and culture. Episode 1 Beginnings - Through ancient manuscripts and oral tales Wood charts the first human migrations out of Africa. He travels from the tropical backwaters of South India through lost ancient cities in Pakistan to the vibrant landscapes of the Ganges plain. Wood also attempts to re-create soma, an ancient drink recorded in the Rig Veda.
In this two-part series, Boris Johnson investigates the early beginnings of what some call the "clash of civilizations." The theory that Christianity and Islam are locked into a never-ending cycle of mutual antipathy, distrust and violence. Is this really true? There have been many "clashes" between Christianity and Islam in the period Boris Johnson examines in this series, 632 A.D. to 1492 A.D. But the real historical picture is far more subtle, interesting and optimistic than the cliches of a clash of civilization might suggest. Episode 1 - Boris Johnson travels to France, Spain, Egypt, Israel, Syria and Turkey. This first programme looks at the early history of Islam, the extraordinary series of conquests that gained for it half the territories of the old Roman empire in just 80 years. He also looks at the rich and sophisticated civilization Islam produced, the relationships between Muslims, Jews and Christians and the background to the crusades.
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.
Luxury isn't always a question of the expensive and beautiful for the rich and powerful, it's always been much more and more important than that. The story of luxury is about an idea that touches on democracy and patriotism on social harmony and epic courage and even on the divine. Because it is so important there has always been more than one definition of what luxury actually is. One thing all can agree on is that luxury is a rare thing, it divides society into the haves and have nots. Host Cambridge University academic Dr Michael Scott asks the question "Do we love luxury or hate it or both?" He presents the view that the best way to understand today's anxious response toward luxury is to think about how it operated in the past and to understand how that past continues to impact society today. Episode Luxury in Ancient Greece - follows the debate about luxury which convulsed ancient Greece from the beginning of the classical era. In Athens, it explores the role of luxury in the beginnings of democracy - how certain kinds of luxury came to be forbidden and others embraced. A simple luxury like meat could unite the democracy, and yet a taste for fish could divide it. Some luxuries were associated with effeminacy and foreigners, others with the very idea of democracy.
It was perhaps the most spectacular flourishing of imagination and achievement in recorded history. In the Fourth and Fifth Centuries B.C., the Greeks built an empire that stretched across the Mediterranean from Asia to Spain. They laid the foundations of modern science, politics, warfare and philosophy, and architecture. This series, narrated by Liam Neeson, recounts the rise, glory, demise and legacy of the empire that marked the dawn of Western civilization. Told through the lives of heroes of ancient Greece. The latest advances in computer and television technology rebuild the Acropolis, recreate the Battle of Marathon and restore the grandeur of the Academy, where Socrates, Plato and Aristotle forged the foundation of Western thought. Episode 3 Empire of Mind - The final segment describes how Athens, at the height of her glory, engaged in a suicidal conflict with her greatest rival, Sparta. Through the eyes of Socrates, Athens' first philosopher, viewers see the tragic descent of Athenian democracy into mob rule. The episode opens in 399 B.C., after the great philosopher Socrates has been sentenced to death and Athens lies in ruins after a war with Sparta.
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. Attila The Hun - Attila was Khan of the Huns. He is remembered as the epitome of cruelty and rapacity. He passed unhindered through Austria and Germany, across the Rhine into Gaul, plundering and devastating all in his path with a ferocity unparalleled in the records of barbarian invasions and compelling those he overcame to augment his mighty army.
The ancient Maya civilization of Central America left behind an intricate and mysterious hieroglyphic script, carved on monuments, painted on pottery, and drawn in handmade bark paper books. For centuries, scholars considered it too complex ever to understand until recently, when an ingenious series of breakthroughs finally cracked the code and unleashed a torrent of new insights into the Mayas' turbulent past. For the first time, NOVA presents the epic inside story of how the decoding was done traveling to the remote jungles of southern Mexico and Central America to investigate how the code was broken and what Maya writings now reveal.
Sixteen hundred years ago, a mysterious left-handed warrior seized control of the Mayan city of Copan, founding a dynasty that would last for 400 years. Eventually the Maya abandoned Copan and all other Mayan cities, which lay undisturbed for over 1,000 years. Then, in the 19th century, explorers John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood stumbled on the vine strangled remains of huge complexes of temples and monuments covered with strange portraits and hieroglyphs. This documentary takes viewers deep into the Central American rain forest to the resurrected ruins of Copan, a once majestic jewel of Mayan civilization which was inexplicably abandoned over a thousand years ago.
On Easter Day 1722, Dutch explorers landed on Easter Island. A civilisation isolated by 4,000 km of Pacific Ocean was about to meet the outside world for the first time in centuries. The strangers were about to find something very strange themselves, an island dotted with hundreds of huge stone statues and a society that was not as primitive as they expected. The first meeting was an immense clash of cultures. (Bloody too: the sailors killed ten natives within minutes of landing.) Where had the Islanders originally come from? Why and how had they built the figures?
Spirituality is big business in Kerala, fueled by the planeloads of tourists who come to India's south western coast in search of enlightenment. In this documentary, Jenny looks into the activities of Kerala's "godmen" gurus who claim to be living gods, and asks whether they are exploiting their power over their vulnerable devotees.
In September 2004, on the last remaining site on the Mall in Washington D.C., the Smithsonian Institution opened the National Museum of the American Indian, inaugurating a new era in the education of all people about Native America. In conjunction with this event, and in response to popular demand 500 nations was broadcast on the Discovery Channel. Episode 2 Mexico - Follow the dramatic and tragic history of the Mexican Indian nations from pre-Colombian times, through the period of European contact and colonization. Witness the rise and fall of the Toltecs and the growth of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec city of an empire.
Ancient Aliens explores the controversial theory that extraterrestrials have visited Earth for millions of years. From the age of the dinosaurs to ancient Egypt, from early cave drawings to continued mass sightings in the US, first hand accounts and theories surrounding this age old debate. Did intelligent beings from outer space visit Earth thousands of years ago? Episode 2 Gods & Aliens - Myths and legends describe powerful gods, mutant giants and fearsome monsters. But why do so many different cultures, separated by vast distances, tell the same stories? Is it possible that myths and legends were really eyewitness accounts of ancient astronauts descending to Earth?
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.
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 The Alhambra - The Alhambra is the greatest example of Islamic military architecture in Europe. But just how did they construct such an impregnable fortress? In the Andalusian mountains of southern Spain, rises the majestic fort, which became a legend, Alhambra. This ancient citadel overlooks Granada. On the construction of its 37 towers and walls of the powerful took more than 150 years, but the Alhambra - it's not only an impregnable fortress, this magnificent palace, with elegant courtyards and unfolded the bloody scene where the intrigue and the most famous of the surviving monuments of Muslim architecture in the western world.
On the eastern base of the Giza plateau below the pyramid complex is another stunning symbol of ancient Egypt the great sphinx. There are many theories as to the origin of this magnificent monument but the truth remains hidden behind the stony stare of this desert's most impressive lion. This strange sculpture, this mysterious mixture of man and beast, crouches in front of the pyramid complex of Khafra quietly keeping the secret of it's true significance. In Ancient Egypt sphinx's were traditionally guardians. For the Greeks it was thought to be a representation of occult wisdom, for the Medieval Arabs it was Abu el-Hol or Father of Terror. But in the beginning experts say it was nothing more than an outcrop of rock, the remains of an ancient quarry. Rather than removing it completely, an ancient Egyptian with vision thought they could do something with it. The result of that vision is the colossus that seems to effortlessly transform animal into man.
In China, there exists an astonishing place. A burial ground to rival Egypt's Valley of the Kings. In 221 B.C., China's first Emperor united warring kingdoms into a nation that still exists today. To memorialise this achievement, he bankrupted the national treasury and oppressed thousands of workers to build one of the world's biggest mortuary complexes. China's second dynasty, the Han, inherited the daunting challenge of building larger tombs to command respect and establish their right to rule without running the nation into the ground. Although no Han emperor's tomb has been opened, the tombs of lesser Han aristocrats have revealed astonishing things and at least one corpse so amazingly well preserved some believe Han tomb builders knew how to "engineer immortality".
They were built by the ancients in the time before Christ to a scale that is unbelievable. They dared their creators to push engineering to new heights which still astound us today. Architecture and sculpture continue to stand in the shadow of their genius. Now by revealing the secrets of the past we can unlock the mysteries of their construction which earn them the highest distinction as the seven wonders of the ancient world. Episode 1 Artemis, Mausoleum and Zeus - Temple of Artemis at Ephesus - The first cranes were used to construct the world's largest marble temple. It was supported by a forest of fluted columns, 60 feet high. How were the ancients able to achieve such detail while working on an such enormous scale? Mausoleum at Halicarnassus - The most extraordinary building every constructed, it stood the height of a 14 story building, and was covered with statues it has left the word mausoleum. Its style has been copied all over the world from Washington D.C. to the shrine of remembrance in Melbourne, Australia. Statue of Zeus at Olympia - The sculpture who created it used a secret recipe to shape the ivory. But how did he achieve such realism? The originality of it's design has inspired artists and sculptors to copy it throughout the centuries.
They were built by the ancients in the time before Christ to a scale that is unbelievable. They dared their creators to push engineering to new heights which still astound us today. Architecture and sculpture continue to stand in the shadow of their genius. Now by revealing the secrets of the past we can unlock the mysteries of their construction which earn them the highest distinction as the seven wonders of the ancient world. Episode 2 Pyramid, Gardens, Rhodes and Lighthouse - The rough appearance of the great pyramid masks the precision of its construction it remains the most accurately built stone structure on earth. With only geometry and rope to help them it is baffling how they created a perfect square. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built high above ground displaying their color in a middle of a desert. The ancient gardeners had a great knowledge of horticulture but what plants were they able to grow in the hanging gardens? Some scholars doubt whether they could have existed at all. The Island of Rhodes was attacked by Antigones, against all odds the Rhodians defeated Antigones and his huge fleet and celebrated by building a giant bronze statue of their savior, the sun god Helios, the Collosus of Rhodes. The last of the seven ancient wonders was built in Alexandria it was the worlds first metropolis and its world wonder, the Pharos, was the first skyscraper. it was a lighthouse standing over 400 feet high and it expressed the power, control and prestige of the Ptolemic dynasty.
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 3 Hades - Hades is the lord of the underworld and the keeper of dead souls. This episode tells how Hades came to this position, why he was so feared, and what the Greeks thought awaited them after death.
This compelling documentary explores conspiracy theories, retraces historical events, investigates internal agendas and uncovers macabre rituals. Profiling prominent and often famous members, alleged to include many of the Nazi Party elite. Legend has it that the original members of the society believed they could live under the earth and fly to far away stars powered by a mysterious substance called Vril. They also believed that one day they would rule the world. This dangerous group existed at the core of the Nazi Party. In this special, viewers will discover what occult rites were performed by the organization in their dark lust for ultimate power Uncover the truth surrounding one of the most renowned and feared organisations in the world, the Vril Society.