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The Story of China Ancestors

   2016    History
Michael Wood embarks on a great historical adventure, exploring the stories, people and landscapes that have helped create China's distinctive character and genius over four thousand years. Is the history of the world's newest superpower, from its ancient past to the present day. Starting in Wuxi, Michael joins the Qin family reunion, when 300 relatives gather to worship their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day. 'Like the nation, the family has been through so much,' one says. 'Now everyone wants to know - what are our roots?" Looking for the origins of the Chinese state, he visits the excavations at Erlitou and sees an exquisite turquoise dragon sceptre from 2000 BC. China's first writing is found on 'oracle bones' dug up from the Shang royal tombs at Anyang in the 1920s. At the Beijing Planetarium, Michael travels back in time as astronomers plot the planetary conjunction that the ancients believed foretold the overthrow of the Shang Dynasty. Next, the Age of Philosophers and Confucius, whose book Analects has had greater influence worldwide than even the Bible, according to some. In Xi'an, we hear how the First Emperor united China and created the authoritarian Qin state that gave us the word China. Finally, Michael returns to the temple fair in Henan for a dramatic night ceremony to give thanks to the ancestors. China, Michael concludes, is rising again, not just because of its economic strength, but because of the incredible solidarity of the Han Chinese view of their own civilisation, their sense of family and, of course, the presence of the ancestors.
Series: The Story of China

Born in the Purple

   2016    History
This stylish mix of documentary and historical epic chronicles the reign of Commodus, the emperor whose rule marked the beginning of Rome's fall. In the first episode, the death of Marcus Aurelius brings a century of Roman triumphs and victories to an end, transferring power to his spoiled, unprepared son Commodus. When his father bequeaths him the world's mightiest empire, he is forced to spill the blood of both friends and enemies alike to keep his crown.
Series: Roman Empire: Reign of Blood

The Making of an Emperor

   2016    History
In the second episode of the series, the Germanic tribes strike as Marcus Aurelius succumbs to disease, leaving a skeptical Emperor Commodus to prosecute a war that doesn't interest him.
Series: Roman Empire: Reign of Blood

Enemy of the Senate

   2016    History
In the third episode of the series, Commodus rises to power as Rome's new emperor, but not everyone supports his ascent. Among those conspiring against him: his older sister Lucilla.
Series: Roman Empire: Reign of Blood

Rome is Burning

   2016    History
In the fourth episode of the series, Commodus defeats his sister's coup but withdraws from governing, allowing others to amass power while he engages in an affair and banishes his wife.
Series: Roman Empire: Reign of Blood
Becoming Human
Becoming Human

   2010    History
Living Universe
Living Universe

   2018    Technology
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens

   2014    Culture
Secrets of the Dead
Secrets of the Dead

   2017    History
The Life of Birds
The Life of Birds

   1998    Nature
Out of the Cradle
Out of the Cradle

   2019    History