Video documentaries about history of the world

Civilisations episode 7

Civilisations episode 7 – Radiance

In Civilisations episode 7, Simon Schama starts his meditation on colour and civilisation with the great Gothic cathedrals of Amiens and Chartres. He then moves to 16th century Venice where masterpieces such as Giovanni Bellini’s San Zaccaria altarpiece and Titian’s Bacchus and Ariadne contested the assumption that drawing would always be superior to colouring.     As the Baroque took […]

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Civilisations episode 6

Civilisations episode 6 – First Contact

In the 15th and 16th centuries distant and disparate cultures met, often for the first time. These encounters provoked wonder, awe, bafflement and fear. And, as historian of empire David Olusoga shows, art was always on the frontline. Each cultural contact at this time left a mark on both sides: the magnificent Benin bronzes record the meeting of an ancient

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Civilisations episode 5

Civilisations episode 5 – The Triumph of Art

Think Renaissance and you think Italy. But in the 15th and 16th centuries the great Islamic empires experienced their own extraordinary cultural flowering. The two phenomena did not unfold in separate artistic universes; they were acutely conscious of, and in competition with, each other and mutually open to influences flowing both ways.     The fifth film in Civilisations goes

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Civilisations episode 3

Civilisations episode 3 – Picturing Paradise

In Civilisations episode 3, Simon Schama explores one of our deepest artistic urges – the depiction of nature. Simon discovers that landscape painting is seldom a straightforward description of observed nature – rather it is a projection of dreams and idylls, as well as of escapes and refuges from human turmoil, the elusive paradise on earth.     Simon begins

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Civilisations episode 2

Civilisations episode 2 – How Do We Look?

In Civilisations episode 2, Professor Mary Beard explores images of the human body in ancient art, from Mexico and Greece to Egypt and China. Mary seeks answers to fundamental questions at the heart of ideas about civilisations. Why have human beings always made art about themselves? What were these images for? And in what ways do some ancient conventions of

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French Revolution

The French Revolution: Tearing up History

A journey through the dramatic and destructive years of the French Revolution, telling its history in a way not seen before – through the extraordinary story of its art. Our guide through this turbulent decade is the constantly surprising Dr Richard Clay, an art historian who has spent his life decoding the symbols of power and authority.     Dr

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Egyptian Old Kingdom

Death on the Nile

Professor Fekri Hassan attempts to determine why the Egyptian Old Kingdom, the civilisation of the great pyramids, collapsed around 2200 BC. Can science show that terrible forces of nature were to blame – even driving people to cannibalism?     Clues come from the remote deserts of southern Egypt, the glaciers of Iceland and a dramatic and unique archaeological find

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Sicily: The Wonder of the Mediterranean

Historian Michael Scott journeys through Sicily to find out how 3,000 years of conquest and settlement have shaped the identity of the island we see today.   Sicily: The Wonder of the Mediterranean Part 1 :     Historian Michael Scott begins his journey through Sicily on the slopes of Mount Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano. For the ancient Greeks,

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Great Escape at Dunkirk

Great Escape at Dunkirk

As France fell to the German armies in May 1940, 300,000 Allied troops were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. Their annihilation seemed certain – a disaster that could have led to Britain’s surrender. But then, in a last-minute rescue dramatized in Christopher Nolan’s recent film, Royal Navy ships and a flotilla of tiny civilian boats evacuated hundreds of thousands

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Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar Revealed

Julius Caesar is the most famous Roman of them all: brutal conqueror, dictator and victim of a gruesome assassination on the Ides of March 44 BC. 2,000 years on, he still shapes the world. He has given us some political slogans we still use today (Crossing the Rubicon), his name lives on in the month of July, and there is

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Holocaust: Concentration Camps – Auschwitz

This chilling, vitally important documentary was produced to mark the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The film contains unedited, previously unavailable film footage of this concentration camp shot by the Soviet military forces between January 27 and February 28, 1945 and includes an interview with Alexander Voronsov, the cameraman who shot the footage.   This documentary

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Holocaust: Concentration Camps – Majdanek

The speed of the Soviet advance gave the Germans no time to destroy or conceal evidence of atrocities committed at the concentration and extermination camp Majdanek. Majdanek was unique in the fact that it was the only camp still operational at the time of its liberation on July 23, 1944.     With footage shot by the Russian forces, which

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