- Richard Miles visits Palmyra Duration: 05:02 City of Man, City of God
- Richard Miles examines a roman tomb Duration: 01:12 The Republic of Virtue
- Following in Alexander's steps to the oasis at Siwa Duration: 04:00 Return of the King
- The role of the stadium Duration: 02:24 The Greek Thing
- The violent reign of Shalmaneser III Duration: 04:09 The Age of Iron
- Excavating a bevel-rimmed bowl in Tell Brak Duration: 05:42 Come Together
About Ancient Worlds
Ancient Worlds is about people and places, politics and economics, art and war, trade and technology. Above all, it is the story of the painful birth and difficult growth of a radical idea which was first tried and tested some 6000 ago, and which we still struggle with today; civilisation.What can we learn from the ancient worlds?
Civilisation has not come easily. It’s something we’ve had to fight hard to achieve and even harder to maintain, and the greatest threats to it have come from our own talents for destruction.
When we talk about the ancient world we tend to think of rare and exotic artefacts or the monumental remains of epic architecture; but these are just the empty shells that got left behind when the tide of history turned. The living creatures, the civilisations, that once inhabited these shells were rarely if ever static or stately. They were dynamic, chaotic, and always threatening to spin out of control, because civilisation is based on an improbable idea; that strangers can live and work together in dense urban settings, forging new allegiances that replace the natural ties of family, clan or tribe. It’s an idea we’re still coming to terms with today, but one of the best ways to understand the challenges that are involved is to look at how our ancestors tackled them the first time around.
From ancient Iraq to Imperial Rome, Ancient Worlds examines how our ancestors struggled with the levers of religion and politics, art and culture, war and diplomacy, technology and trade in order to keep the complex machinery of their civilisations turning over. Their insights and blind-spots, their breakthroughs and dead-ends, their triumphs and disasters are the milestones on the long and winding road that leads directly from their ancient to our modern world.
Preview clip: Richard visits Palmyra
Richard Miles visits Palmyra at the edge of the former Roman Empire.Watch a clip from Episode 6
Biography: Richard Miles
Richard Miles is an ancient history historian and archaeologist who teaches at the University of Sydney. He previously taught at the University of Cambridge.
As well as directing archaeological excavations in Carthage and Rome, he has published a number of books on the ancient Mediterranean world.
Learn more about the ancient artefacts
Take a closer look at some of the places, museums and artefacts from Ancient Worlds with our guide to the museums featured.Visit the museum guide
History on BBC Two
BBC Two travels from the first cities of Mesopotamia, through the Roman Empire, to the Georgians, Victorians and Edwardians and their cities.History on BBC Two
BBC Radio 4: Ancient Worlds collection
Listen to a selection of Radio 4 programmes looking at ancient civilisations.BBC Radio 4: Ancient World collection
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