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The ancient world - from 60,000 BCE to 650 AD – is the period in which early civilizations emerged. This program provides an introductory snapshot of eight of these civilizations, looking at what they had in common and how they were unique. We trace the rise, fall, and legacy of the ancient societies of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Maya, India, China, Rome, Greece and Persia.
The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization [three part streaming video series]
Part 1: After introducing early Athens, this classic program examines the rule of Pisistratus and the growth of Athens, the slide into chaos that followed Pisistratus’ death, the alliance between the Athenians and Sparta to overthrow Hippias, and the subsequent Athenian revolution that saw the birth of democracy.
Part 2: This classic program presents the Battle of Marathon, Persia’s ill-fated campaign against Greece in the aftermath of the Ionian revolt; the Battle of Salamis, where the Greeks decisively defeated the Persian navy; Pericles, “the first citizen of Athens”; and the building of the incomparable Parthenon.
Part 3: Beginning with a spotlight on Socrates, this program addresses the Plague of Athens, which struck like an omen during the second year of the Second Peloponnesian War, and the resounding defeat of the Greek invasion of Syracuse. Socrates’ trial and execution complete the program.
This classic trio of programs from the Empires series charts the rise, triumph, and eventual decline of the world’s first democracy as viewed through the eyes of Pericles, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Dramatic storytelling, state-of-the-art computer animation, and distinguished scholarship re-create ancient Greece, highlighting the politics, warfare, philosophy, metaphysics, art, and architecture of the age. Distributed by PBS Distribution. 3-part series, 37-56 minutes each.
This episode of Clash of the Gods examines Homer's The Odyssey, one of the most famous epics ever written. Follow its archetypal hero, Odysseus, as he sets sail on a 20-year journey to return home from battle to reclaim his wife and kingdom. It's a timeless tale of adventure filled with mythological beasts, vengeful gods, and enchanting seductresses. But could it have actually happened? Underwater divers have uncovered remains that date back thousands of years and may be a direct link to the story of Odysseus. Distributed by A&E Television Networks. (45 minutes)
This program looks at the theatres of Herodus Atticus, Epidauros, Corinth (where Arion is said to have taught the dithyramb), and many others to explain the design of the ancient theater, the synthesis of art forms that was ancient Greek drama, the origins of tragedy, the audience in classical times, the comparative roles of writer/director and actors, and the use of the surrounding landscape in many plays.
Antigone is perhaps the most easily accessible of all the great classical tragedies, its theme clear and up-to-date: the conflict between moral and political law. Now the tale of Oedipus and his family comes to its end-he, his wife Jocasta, his sons, and now, at the last, his daughter, all dead. Antigone is not the only victim in the play; Creon too comes to a tragic downfall-although he repents in time, bureaucratic ritual results in the deaths of Creon's son and wife, burdening him with guilt as well as grief. With Juliet Stevenson, John Shrapnel, and John Gielgud.