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Words on a Page

   2020    History
Writing itself is 5,000 years old, and for most of that time words were written by hand using a variety of tools. The Romans were able to run an empire thanks to documents written on papyrus. Scroll books could be made quite cheaply and, as a result, ancient Rome had a thriving written culture. With the fall of the Roman Empire, papyrus became more difficult to obtain. Europeans were forced to turn to a much more expensive surface on which to write: Parchment. Medieval handwritten books could cost as much as a house, they also represent a limitation on literacy and scholarship.
No such limitations were felt in China, where paper had been invented in the second century. Paper was the foundation of Chinese culture and power, and for centuries how to make it was kept secret. When the secret was out, paper mills soon sprang up across central Asia. The result was an intellectual flourishing known as the Islamic Golden Age. Muslim scholars made discoveries in biology, geology, astronomy and mathematics. By contrast, Europe was an intellectual backwater.
That changed with Gutenberg’s development of movable type printing. The letters of the Latin alphabet have very simple block-like shapes, which made it relatively simple to turn them into type pieces. When printers tried to use movable type to print Arabic texts, they found themselves hampered by the cursive nature of Arabic writing. The success of movable type printing in Europe led to a thousand-fold increase in the availability of information, which produced an explosion of ideas that led directly to the European Scientific Revolution and the Industrial Revolution that followed.
Series: The Secret History of Writing

Planet Earth II Mountains

   2016    Nature    HD
The great mountain ranges are some of the planet's most spectacular landscapes, but they are unforgiving places to live in, and only a few animals have what it takes to live at extreme altitude. Mountain animals are amongst the most elusive in the world, and this film provides unique and intimate glimpses into their secretive lives. Witness the moment four snow leopards come together when a mother and cub become trapped between two rival males. Join grizzly bears as they dance against trees to rub off their winter fur and soar with golden eagles hunting amongst Europe's snow-capped peaks.
Series: Planet Earth II

Out of the Darkness

       History
The third assault on the tattered remains of Roman civilization came from even further North, where the melting glacial ice had created immense sheltered fjords, leaving its inhabitants little choice but the sea. These fearless navigators understood that dominion over the oceans was the key to their ambitions.
Where the Romans expanded incrementally, the Vikings adopted a bolder, more aggressive approach. So was it the Dark Age which failed Europe, or the stifling uniformity of the great Roman experiment? Were the lost tribes more victim than failure? Richard Rudgley will hope to shed new light on the real secrets of the so-called Dark Age.
Series: Barbarians: Secrets of the Dark Ages

The Empire Strikes Back

   2021    History
In 1717, the seas of the Caribbean are ruled by the Flying Gang: Black Sam Bellamy, Edward Thatch and Benjamin Hornigold. From their base in the Bahamas, these pirates steal a fortune from the wealthiest empires in Europe and disrupt the lucrative slave trade. English authorities tap Woodes Rogers to put a stop to the pirate attacks. He is on a mission to destroy the Flying Gang of the Caribbean.
Series: The Lost Pirate Kingdom

Dead or Alive

   2021    History
The Caribbean is home to a notorious band of British pirates called the Flying Gang. They plunder merchant ships, sailing from the Americas to Europe and Africa. England's King George I has had enough, so he comes up with a shock tactic to end piracy. It's an offer from the King, a pardon, clemency for those who turn their backs on piracy. Those who refuse will be hunted down and hanged. Two pirates, Blackbeard and Charles Vane stand the King's man, Woodes Rogers. Who will win the final battle?
Series: The Lost Pirate Kingdom
Reel Rock
Reel Rock

   2014    Culture
Leaving Neverland
Leaving Neverland

   2019    Culture
Strangest Things
Strangest Things

   2021    History
Dark Net
Dark Net

   2016    Technology
The Last Dance
The Last Dance

   2020    Culture
The Crime of the Century
The Crime of the Century

   2021    Medicine
A Traveler Guide to the Planets
A Traveler Guide to the Planets

   2010    Science
Ice Age Giants
Ice Age Giants

   2013    Science