iPlayer Radio What's New?

The Threshold of the Modern World (1375-1550 AD)

This week Neil MacGregor is exploring the great empires of the world around 1500 - from the Inca in South America to the Ming in China and the Timurids in the Middle East.

Last on

Durer's Rhinoceros

5/5 Neil MacGregor discusses Durer's Rhinoceros.

Sat 18 Sep 2010 00:30 BBC Radio 4

See all previous episodes from A History of the World in 100 Objects

  • Where these objects were found

    Where these objects were found

    71 Tughra of Suleiman the Magnificent
    72 Ming banknote
    73 Inca gold llama
    74 Jade dragon cup
    75 Dürer's 'Rhinoceros'

    Browse all British Museum objects
  • The Threshold of the Modern World (AD 1375-1550)

    In about 1450 a string of great empires dominated the world. The Ottoman Turks were threatening Europe with invasion. Asia was dominated by Ming China and the Timurid Empire, but the world’s largest state was the Inca Empire in South America. Europe, in contrast, was a patchwork of squabbling powers. Yet there were the first signs of a shift towards a connection of all the world’s continents by European exploration that would mark the beginning of a recognisably modern world. These new maritime empires brought Europe’s fragmented kingdoms great wealth. The rhinoceros that inspired Durer’s iconic print was a present from an Indian Sultan to a Portuguese governor.

Shakespeare's Restless World

Image for Shakespeare's Restless World

Neil MacGregor uncovers Shakespeare's world through twenty objects.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss