Cleopatra - a queen, a seductress, a living Goddess with a reputation that became legendary. We reveal the reasons why Cleopatra's name still resonates through the centuries. With sumptuous drama reconstruction and evidence from key experts including Bettany Hughes, Dr Chris Naunton and Dr Robert Steven Bianchi, we tell the true story behind Egypt's most famous ruler. How she survived a murderous and incestuous dynasty, secured her future by seducing the greatest leader Rome had ever seen and how her eventual fall from grace and ultimate death meant history would never forget her. This is the story of the real Cleopatra.
This documentary explores the origin and history of the ancient Olympic games - a contest of athletic prowess that began 2500 years ago in celebration of the god Zeus and featured sacrifice, feasting and processions. But there are aspects of that ancient competition that are strangely similar to today's Games.
They had no books to study, no history to remember. For them, war was a creative adventure with the fate of whole civilisations at stake. Unlock the truths and myths behind the world of epic heroes and villains. Ancient battles meet the contemporary visual style of Last Stand of the 300 as we spotlight the heroes and military strategies of the ancient world. In creative partnership with the people who brought you the CGI and graphic design for Last Stand of the 300, this series will have the look, excitement and vibrancy of a contemporary graphic novel.
The concluding episode of this documentary exploring the origin and history of the ancient Olympic Games. This part compares the ancient and modern versions of the Games, which - although conceived in different societies with different moral codes - have become more similar as time progresses. Especially examined is the culture of cheating, from a wrestler banned in 496 BC for 'clinching' to a fencer in 1972 who made sure of victory by altering his foil to 'score' whatever he did, and from a marathon runner in 1904 who took an 11-mile trip in a car to the Emperor Nero, who fell off his chariot in AD 67 yet bribed the judges to have him declared winner of the race.
Cleopatra - a queen, a seductress, a living goddess with a reputation that became legendary - we reveal the reasons why Cleopatra's name still resonates through the centuries. With sumptuous drama reconstruction and evidence from key experts including Bettany Hughes, Chris Naunton and Robert Steven Bianchi, we tell the true story behind Egypt's most famous ruler. How she survived a murderous and incestuous dynasty, secured her future by seducing the greatest leader Rome had ever seen, and how her eventual fall from grace and ultimate death meant history would never forget her. This is the story of the real Cleopatra.
According to Rome, German barbarians were among the most brutal of all. Terry Jones discovers that when it came to brutality, it was the Romans who were the masters and the Germans merely rebelled against Roman occupation.
Terry Jones reveals the image of savages, hell bent on slaughter, pillage and rape, is merely ancient spin by Rome. In his journey Jones exposes the depth of this deception, exploding myths and setting records straight.
Terry Jones immerses himself in the world of the 'barbarians' of the East - the Greeks and the Persians - and discovers that it was they who were the brains of the ancient world and the Romans the destroyers of progress.
Sixteen skeletons - the remains of a 9th century Mayan royal family - are discovered in a mass grave, revealing a sordid tale of sex, greed, rivalry... and the final clues to one of the greatest mysteries of the ancient world: what caused the collapse of the Maya Empire? Exclusive access to one of the most important finds in Maya archaeology combines with the latest in forensics, gripping recreations and advanced computer graphics to present a dramatic tale of how sex, greed and royal power struggles led to the undoing of an ancient superpower.
The Jewish Revolt was the biggest rebellion in Roman history threatening to destabilise the empire. At this time Rome turned to General Vespasian and his son Titus who unleashed the might of Rome on the Jewish people.
For years gladiators have been legendary figures of the Ancient World; the stuff of Hollywood blockbusters like Spartacus, or Gladiator. But our knowledge has been based largely on speculation - until now. Timewatch have secured exclusive access to the biggest archaeological gladiator research project of all time. As it approaches its conclusion, Gladiator CSI reveals the secrets of how gladiators lived, fought and died, not from speculation but from forensic science. In the 1990s a survey for the ancient course of the Holy Procession Path between the temple of Artemis (one of the seven Wonders of the World) and the city of Ephesus in Turkey came upon an unexpected find: a mass burial site. But most of the cadavers did not bear the signs of death from natural causes. Instead, they seem to have met a violent end. In 2002 two forensic anthropologists went to investigate: this was a gladiator graveyard. Although the corpses of gladiators had been found before, they tended to be isolated examples. In this graveyard, no less than 67 were buried. The amount of data was unprecedented. Employing two of the world's leading forensics anthropologists as our two crime scene investigators, this is the story of their investigation. Their research makes ground-breaking conclusions probing popular myths about gladiators: Is the currently fashionable thesis that although gladiators fought vicious contests, they rarely battled to the death, really true? Were the losers of gladiatorial contests really dispatched in the arena by the turning of the emperor's thumb? Were gladiators treated as no more than animals, with no provision for their health or well-being? Spanning two centuries, our 67 corpses reveal great technological changes in fighting equipment and wounds from weapons that were hitherto thought only to be the stuff of myth (like the cubic fore dent).
Through drama and cutting-edge computer graphics, this programme re-creates the story of Jason and the Argonauts, looking beneath the surface of the myth to unveil its themes, some of which prove to be surprisingly modern.
This documentary lifts the lid on the murderous and incestuous dynasty that gave rise to Egypt's most famous ruler and how Cleopatra, through ruthless political manoeuvring, family betrayal and sensual seduction, endured Rome became her greatest protector.
The battle for supremacy begins as the ancient world divides in two: Roman vs. Barbarian. Hannibal of Carthage builds the first great barbarian alliance to defeat Rome before it becomes unstoppable. The general launches an audacious and unprecedented campaign to strike at the heart of the Republic, conquering the Alps and leaving a trail of death across Italy as he aims for the capital city. But while Hannibal wins the battles, he loses the war. With no viable adversary remaining to stop its advance, Rome marches across the barbarian world, pillaging the land and its people, and reaping a bloody revenge on the tribes that fought alongside Hannibal. When Lusitania comes under the Roman sword, one man emerges to drive them back. This time it s not a military strategist but a simple shepherd, Viriathus, who unites his people to fight against Rome s overwhelming might, the first wave of resistance in an epic 700-year struggle for freedom.
Rome was once a democratic society with regular elections to ensure no one held too much power. This republic lasted for 500 years and was finally brought down because of a young brave soldier named Tiberius Gracchus.
Classicist Michael Scott looks at the prevalence of theatre throughout Greece as Athens began to decline during the fourth century BC, and how it conceived a new kind of comedy that is still popular today.
This series explores the greatest empires in a way that has never been fully investigated. Each episode highlights and exposes the political intrigue, personal vendettas, family mayhem, acts of vengeance and the ever-evolving tension, turmoil and chaos that shaped these civilisations and led to their destruction from within. Born in 624 CE, Wu Zhao became the concubine of Emperor Taizong. Her entry into the palace would begin one of the most dramatic periods in Chinese history. She would ultimately rule as the Empress Wu and expand Chinese military and political control in Central Asia and the Korean peninsula. Court intrigue raged during her reign and she successfully undermined constant attempts to usurp her power. In the end, however, ill health and conspiracy would combine to force her abdication. The former rulers seized control and the second Zhao dynasty began and ended with her.
Historian Bettany Hughes looks at the day in 49 BC that Julius Caesar led his army across the River Rubicon. By doing so he ignored the orders of the Roman Senate, and effectively declared war on his rivals in Rome. In time, it would prove a fatal blow to the republic - the system of elected officials that had governed for nearly half a millennium. Hughes analyses Caesar's character and reveals how new theories about his health shed light on his decision-making, while archaeological finds recently dredged from a Dutch river reveal the true genocidal horror of his conquest of Gaul.
How can something as devastating as war help bring about civilisation? Ancient Mesoamerica is the perfect petri dish to examine the process of 'destructive creation'. Evolutionary theorist Peter Turchin regards war as a necessary evil. It brought people together in a common cause while stimulating an arms race of technological progress.
Historian Bettany Hughes recalls the time that marked Rome's symbolic break with its 1000-year pagan past - the day in 337 AD that Emperor Constantine the Great was baptised a Christian. It was a moment of profound significance not just for the empire, but for the history of the world and one of its major religions. Constantine was one of the last great Roman emperors to rule over a united empire, giving it a new capital - Constantinople, today known as Istanbul - a city which would one day eclipse Rome as the greatest city on Earth.
The ancient Egyptian elite were more than just rich with history. In this series, with exploits that could've been ripped from the pages of modern magazines, experts will recount tales of excess wealth and discuss the scandalous vices of the era.
The Ancient Egyptian elite were more than just rich with history. In this series, with exploits that could've been ripped from the pages of modern magazines, experts will recount tales of excess wealth and discuss the scandalous sins of the era.
Historian Bettany Hughes explores the day in AD 80 when the Colosseum opened its gates for the first time. For new emperor Titus, the spectacular games and events were an opportunity to win over the people and secure his place on the imperial throne, but why did the Romans - cultured and civilised in so many ways - enjoy witnessing such brutality and bloodletting? Bettany travels across the Roman world in a bid to find answers.
Historian Bettany Hughes recalls eight pivotal days that defined the Roman Empire and its establishment as the world's first superpower. She begins by exploring the day in 202 BC when the Roman army, led by Scipio, defeated the might of Carthage under Hannibal at the Battle of Zama in modern-day Tunisia. This was a decisive moment, setting Rome on the path to greatness and exemplifying the military muscle and supreme ambition on which its empire would be built.
Historian Bettany Hughes focuses on the day when Roman troops earned the undying hatred of a fierce and fearless queen who led a revolt that came perilously close to ending the Roman occupation of Britannia. Around 60 AD, troops invaded Boudica's settlement, flogged her and raped her daughters. The outrage provoked the Iceni queen to lead a revolt that came perilously close to ending the Roman occupation of Britannia.
The ancient Egyptian elite were more than just rich with history. In this series narrated by Alexander Siddig, experts recount tales of excess wealth and discuss the scandalous vices of the era. The pharaohs would do anything to attain power: murder, incest, seduction, and political backstabbing.
Historian Bettany Hughes looks at the day in 73 BC that Spartacus, a Thracian gladiator fighting for the entertainment of the Romans, broke out of gladiator school and started a slave revolt. The republic's rulers were so panicked by the protest that they offered unprecedented power to a single, ambitious individual - Crassus - who promised victory in what would prove a dark foreshadowing of Rome's slide into dictatorship.
Historian Bettany Hughes focuses on the day in 32 BC when Octavian stole the secret will of his most dangerous political rival, Mark Antony. It is a moment that casts a light on what it took to win in Roman politics, as the cunning, brilliant subterfuge required paved Octavian's path to power by undermining Antony's popularity and giving Octavian the crucial support of Rome's Senate and people in the civil war that followed.
Historian Bettany Hughes focuses on events leading up to and after June 9, 68 AD, when Emperor Nero took his life. She examines his relationship with his mother, fondness for debauchery and how casual violence and murder began to destabilise what had once been touted as a new 'golden age' for Rome. Nero's death plunged the empire into anarchy and civil war. From here on in, the Roman Empire would be plagued by military coups and revolt, one of the crucial factors in its eventual decline.
When Alexander the Great lay on his deathbed his companions asked to whom he wished to leave his kingdom. "To the strongest," was his reply. The passing of the great conqueror plunged the Greek Empire into 40 years of war as kings, generals and henchmen vied for ultimate power.
In 2011 a team from the University of Basel made two astonishing discoveries in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. By chance they came across a new tomb that was the first to contain a body since the discovery of Tutankhamun. Then they discovered that the tomb beside it, which had never been excavated before, held the bodies of around 50 people. But who were all the people in these two linked tombs? This film follows the archaeological detective story to uncover the answer. It pursues the trail that leads to one of Egypt's greatest pharaohs, Amenhotep III - and to the women he was close to. And the film also reveals the astonishing project behind the re-emergence nearby of the largest temple ever built in ancient Egypt - the lost mortuary temple of the same pharaoh, Amenhotep III.
In a newly excavated tomb in the Valley of the Kings, a team from the University of Basel have found at least 30 bodies. But who are all these people? To solve this puzzle, the team must work with the fragments of evidence that remain, including dozens of broken pots. When these are reassembled they reveal the names of many of the occupants, including several royal princesses. The team turn to Professor Frank Ruehli, world-renowned physical anthropologist from Zurich University, to see what information he can glean from the broken mummies themselves. He soon establishes that there are not 30 bodies, but more than 90, and most of them are women from the time of Amenhotep III.
Dive into the Great Barrier Reef with Attenborough, explore Kakadu's Mountford rock art, peek inside the micro-worlds of the Galapagos, and be awed by the Great Wall of China when exploring the world's heritage sites.