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Simply the Best Documentaries

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Beyond the Big Bang
Hiding in the Light
The Lives of the Stars
The Wehrmacht The Blitzkrieg
Dirty Wars
Roving Mars
Zeitgeist The Movie
Through the Wormhole Season 6: Are We Here for a Reason
Indefensible
Asteroid Attack
Reagan Gorbachev and Third World: Rise Of The Right
Back in Time
Behind Closed Doors
Samurai Sword
Is Seeing Believing
Florence and the Uffizi Gallery
Whale Killer
Dark Net Crush
Liberation and Revenge
Mission Pluto
The Germanic Tribes: Barbarians Against Rome
Atlantis End of a World Birth of a Legend
Dark Net Provoke
Michael Moore in TrumpLand
Cooked: Water
Living with Predators. Conservation
Nascar The IMAX Experience
WWII In 3D
Ancient Aliens Debunked: Nazca Lines
Bomb It
Kalahari
Orders and Initiatives
Frenzied Killing
Total Eclipse
Pill Poppers
Van Gogh

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Caligula
Caligula  2013

Two thousand years ago one of history's most notorious individuals was born. Professor Mary Beard embarks on an investigative journey to explore the life and times of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus - better known to us as Caligula. Caligula has now become known as Rome's most capricious tyrant, and the stories told about him are some of the most extraordinary told about any Roman emperor. He was said to have made his horse a consul, proclaimed himself a living God, and indulged in scandalous orgies - even with his own three sisters - and that's before you mention building vast bridges across land and sea, prostituting senators' wives and killing half the Roman elite seemingly on a whim. All that in just four short years in power before a violent and speedy assassination in a back alley of his own palace at just 28-years-old." But how much of his story is true? Travelling across the Roman world - from Germany and Capri in the bay of Naples to the astonishing luxury of his life in imperial Rome - Mary attempts to peel away the myths. Some stories are difficult to get to the bottom of as they were written by hacks long after his death, but there is plenty of surviving evidence where the 'real' Caligula can be glimpsed. Such as in the extraordinary luxury of his private yachts outside Rome; in the designs he chose for his coins when he became Emperor; in an eye-witness account of Caligula's withering humour written in 41AD; the trial documents covering the mysterious death of his father when he was just seven-years-old; and even in a record of his imperial slaves - from the palace spy to his personal trainer. Piecing together the evidence, Mary puts Caligula back into the context of his times to reveal an astonishing story of murder, intrigue and dynastic family power. Above all, she explains why Caligula has ended up with such a seemingly unredeemable reputation. In the process, she reveals a more intriguing portrait of not just the monster, but the man.

Category:History  Duration:59:00   

The Lost Pyramids of Caral
The Lost Pyramids of Caral 2002

The magnificent ancient city of pyramids at Caral in Peru is a thousand years older than the earliest known civilisation in the Americas and, at 2,627 BC, is as old as the pyramids of Egypt. Many now believe it is the fabled missing link of archaeology - a 'mother city'. If so, then these extraordinary findings could finally answer one of the great questions of archaeology: why did humans become civilised?" For over a century, archaeologists have been searching for what they call a mother city. Civilisation began in only six areas of the world: Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, Peru and Central America. In each of these regions people moved from small family units to build cities of thousands of people. They crossed the historic divide, one of the great moments in human history. Why? To find the answer archaeologists needed to find a mother city - the first stage of city-building. Caral, is so much older than anything else in South America that it is a clear candidate to be the mother city. It also is in pristine condition. Nothing has been built on it at all. Instead laid out before the world is an elaborate complex of pyramids, temples, an amphitheatre and ordinary houses. Scientists developed a number of theories. Some said it was because of the development of trade, others that it was irrigation. Some even today believe it was all because of aliens. Gradually an uneasy consensus emerged. The key force common to all civilisations was warfare. Crucially, there is not the faintest trace of warfare at Caral; no battlements, no weapons, no mutilated bodies. Instead, Ruth's findings suggest it was a gentle society, built on commerce and pleasure. In one of the pyramids they uncovered beautiful flutes made from condor and pelican bones. They have also found evidence of a culture that took drugs and perhaps aphrodisiacs. Most stunning of all, they have found the remains of a baby, lovingly wrapped and buried with a precious necklace made of stone beads.

Category:History  Duration:49:00   

The Oceans
The Oceans 2011

Human Planet is a majestic portrait of humankind and the power of nature in extraordinary symbiosis, struggle and strife. For the first time, the camera has turned on ourselves. In doing so, we see how amazing human beings can be and how we adapt to any habitat, anywhere. Human Planet is epic in ambition, extreme in content, intimate in effect. It explores how we have devised ways of surviving in every corner of Earth – from the remotest deserts to the busiest urban metropolis. Each episode focuses on an iconic environment and reveals how we have adapted to the challenges of the landscape and the endless diversity of animals and plants we live with. Discover how our remarkable intelligence, tool use, and close-knit social lives have enabled us to cope with just about anything nature can throw at us". As an air-breathing animal, the human is not built to survive in water. But people have found ways to live an almost aquatic life so they can exploit the sea's riches. From a 'shark-whisperer' in the Pacific to Brazilian fishermen collaborating with dolphins to catch mullet, this journey into the blue reveals astonishing tales of ingenuity and bravery. Daredevil Galician barnacle-collectors defy death on the rocks for a catch worth 200 pounds per kilo. In Indonesia an epic whale-hunt, using traditional hand-made boats and harpoons, brings in a sperm whale. The Bajau 'sea gypsies' of the Sulu Sea spend so much time on water they get 'land sick' when they set foot on the land! We dive 40 metres down to the dangerous world of the Pa-aling fishermen, where dozens of young men, breathing air through a tangled web of pipes attached to a diesel engine, capture thousands of fish in a vast net. We see how surfing has its origins in the ancient beliefs of the ocean-loving Polynesians, and we join a Borneo free-diving spear-fisherman on a breath-taking journey 20 metres down in search of supper.

Category:Culture  Duration:59:00   Series: Human Planet

The Two Thousand Year Old Computer
The Two Thousand Year Old Computer 2012

In 1901, a group of divers excavating an ancient Roman shipwreck near the island of Antikythera, off the southern coast of Greece, found a mysterious object - a lump of calcified stone that contained within it several gearwheels welded together after years under the sea. The 2,000-year-old object, no bigger than a modern laptop, is now regarded as the world's oldest computer, devised to predict solar eclipses and, according to recent findings, calculate the timing of the ancient Olympics. Following the efforts of an international team of scientists, the mysteries of the Antikythera Mechanism are uncovered, revealing surprising and awe-inspiring details of the object that continues to mystify

Category:History  Duration:59:00   

 
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