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The Ming

   2016    History
The tale of one of China's most famous dynasties begins with the amazing story of Hongwu, a peasant rebel who founded one of greatest eras in Chinese history. The film takes us to his great capital Nanjing, with its 21 miles of walls, each brick stamped with the name of the village that made it. Following the trail, we go to the Bao family village and see the villagers act a Ming murder story.
Like many authoritarian states, the Ming were obsessive about architecture. We see the giant fortifications of the Great Wall, the ritual enclaves of the Forbidden City in Beijing and travel with bargeman Mr Hu down the Grand Canal, China's great artery of commerce right up to the present day. We then hear about Admiral Zheng He's voyages to Africa and the Gulf decades before Columbus, watch the construction of an ocean-going wooden boat 250ft long, and hitch a ride on a replica Ming junk in the South China Sea.
As state prosperity grew, so did a rising middle class. Wood looks at Ming culture in Suzhou, the 'Venice of China'. Staying in a merchant's house, he discovers the silk, ceramic and lacquer-making industries, and visits one of the most beautiful gardens in the city. Then on to Macao and the arrival of Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci, who hoped to convert China to Christianity. In the cathedral in Beijing, we learn more about these fateful exchanges with the west. Finally in Shaoxing, we visit the house of the 'Ming Proust' and at grassroots the Zhao family in Fujian where the film ends in an elegiac mood with the fall of the Ming in 1644.
Series: The Story of China

The New Sultan

   2020    History
Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II wages an epic campaign to take the Byzantine capital of Constantinople. Twenty-three armies have tried to take the legendary city and all have failed. Out of the carnage, one ruler will emerge victorious and shapes the course of history for centuries. For one empire to rise, another must fall.
The Ottomans, former Anatolian warlords and nomads who've built a burgeoning empire are the biggest threat to the Romans' 1100-year reign. The death of Ottoman Sultan Murad II in 1451 unleashes a chain of events that will soon bring the Ottomans and Romans to the brink of war. After claiming the Ottoman throne, Mehmed II sends an unmistakable signal to Byzantine emperor Constantine XI.
Series: Rise of Empires: Ottoman

The Normans: Conquest

   2010    History
Professor Robert Bartlett explores the impact of the Norman conquest of Britain and Ireland. Bartlett shows how William the Conqueror imposed a new aristocracy, savagely cut down opposition and built scores of castles and cathedrals to intimidate and control. He also commissioned the Domesday Book, the greatest national survey of England that had ever been attempted. England adapted to its new masters and both the language and culture were transformed as the Normans and the English intermarried. Bartlett shows how the political and cultural landscape of Scotland, Wales and Ireland were also forged by the Normans and argues that the Normans created the blueprint for colonialism in the modern world.
Series: The Normans

The Normans: Men from the North

   2010    History
Professor Robert Bartlett explores how the Normans developed from a band of marauding Vikings into the formidable warriors who conquered England in 1066. He tells how the Normans established their new province of Normandy -'land of the northmen' - in northern France. Under the leadership of Duke William, they conquered England. The Battle of Hastings marked the end of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy and monarchy. The culture and politics of England would now be transformed by the Normans.
Series: The Normans

The Normans: Normans of the South

   2010    History
Professor Robert Bartlett explores the impact of the Normans on southern Europe and the Middle East. The Normans spread south in the 11th century, winning control of southern Italy and the island of Sicily. There they created their most prosperous kingdom, where Christianity and Islam co-existed in relative harmony and mutual tolerance. It became a great centre of medieval culture and learning. But events in the Middle East provoked the more aggressive side of the Norman character. In 1095, the Normans enthusiastically answered the Pope's call for holy war against Islam and joined the first crusade. They lay siege to Jerusalem and eventually helped win back the holy city from the muslims. This bloody conquest left a deep rift between Christianity and Islam which is still being felt to this day.
Through the Wormhole Season 5
Through the Wormhole Season 5

   2014    Nature
The Story of China
The Story of China

   2016    History
Engineering the Future
Engineering the Future

   2020    Technology
The Nazis, A Warning From History
The Nazis, A Warning From History

   1997    History
Dynamic Genomes Series
Dynamic Genomes Series

   2019    Medicine
History of the Eagles
History of the Eagles

   2013    History
Wonders Of The Universe
Wonders Of The Universe

   2011    Science