Main content

Fire and State

Neil MacGregor focuses on perpetual fire in the Temple of Vesta in Rome, the Parsi fire temple in Gujarat, India, and the Flame of the Nation under the Arc de Triomphe, Paris.

Neil MacGregor continues his series on the expression of shared beliefs in communities around the world and across time.

Many societies have seen the mesmerizing phenomenon of fire as a symbol of the divine. Neil MacGregor focuses on sacred fire which comes to represent the state itself: the perpetual fire in the Temple of Vesta in Rome, the great Parsi fire temple in Udvada, India, and 'la Flamme de la Nation', the Flame of the Nation, constantly burning beneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Producer: Paul Kobrak

The series is produced in partnership with the British Museum.
Photograph: (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

Available now

15 minutes

Clip

Broadcasts

Animations

Neil MacGregor tells the stories of some of the key objects in the series.

Podcast