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My Octopus Teacher
Black Hole Apocalypse 1of2
The Wisdom of Trauma
The Last Shaman
Strange Signals from Outer Space
The Incredible Human Journey: Europe
The Genius of Charles Darwin: The Fifth Ape
Carlos Ghosn: The Last Flight
Did God Have a Wife
Kurt Cobain Montage of Heck
The Year Earth Changed
The Cognitive Tradeoff Hypothesis
"Middle Age" Sort by
Words on a Page
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.
The Secret History of Writing
Out of the Darkness
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.
Barbarians: Secrets of the Dark Ages
Mystery of the Black Mirror
The Obsidian Mirror is a mysterious artefact crafted from volcanic rock, and it's said to be a device used to communicate with supernatural beings; experts use cutting-edge tech to discover who made this strange relic and why.
A golden disc can answer the biggest mystery of all: Are we alone in the universe? The Voynich manuscript is one enormous puzzle. What secrets are hidden in this bizarre 600 year old book that nobody can read?
Beyond the Elements
Black Hole Apocalypse
Bible's Buried Secrets
How the Universe Works Season 4
Shock and Awe: The Story of Electricity
George Harrison Living in the Material World
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