Emigres, recluses, enemies of the state. How Marx, Nietzsche and Freud changed the world.
The 19th century was a time of revolution – in politics and in ideas.
Watch Genius of the Modern World and more acclaimed documentaries on BBC Select today. Restrictions apply*.
Watch Genius of the Modern World on BBC Select
Three great thinkers led the way – Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzche and Sigmund Freud – reimagining global economics, questioning our morality and unravelling the workings of the mind. Their quest drove them to extremes – into poverty, into madness. Their ideas would bring the world as we know it kicking and screaming into being.
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Bacchus Uncovered: Ancient God of Ecstasy
What does Bacchus, the ancient god of wine and excess, have in common with Jesus Christ?
Genius of the Ancient World
The original free thinkers. The stories of the Buddha, Confucius and Socrates.
Mars Uncovered: Ancient God of War
What can the ancient, immortal, Roman god Mars teach us about warfare in the modern age?
Venus Uncovered: Ancient Goddess of Love
Forget everything you thought you knew about the frequently nude, love goddess Venus.
The Persians: A History of Iran
How was the world's first empire born and what led to its ultimate destruction?
A History of Christianity
Where did Christianity originate and how did the religion develop and take hold globally?
Archaeology: A Secret History
Better living through archeology. How can our past make sense of our present?
Greek Myths: True Stories
Godlike genius. Exploring the inspiration of our Greek myths.
Fake News: A True History
Fake news isn’t new: an entertaining look at 200 years of lies and the media
Royal Cousins at War
It makes The Crown look like Sesame Street. The bitter regal rivalries that led to war.
American History's Biggest Fibs
American history is fake, fact? Historian Lucy Worlsey delves deeper into US mythology.
The Birth of Empire: The East India Company
The world’s first megacorp. How Britain’s East India Company grew into an imperial power.
The Romantic Revolution
Wild visionaries and imaginative truth seekers whose radical ideas still resonate today.
Racism: A History
Where did the notion of racism come from and how did such an abhorrent idea develop?
Queen Victoria and her Nine Children
Devastated by her husband’s death Queen Victoria starts to meddle in her children’s lives.
The Flu That Killed 50 Million
Is Spanish flu the warning from history that should have crushed coronavirus?
Vienna: Empire, Dynasty and Dream
The rise of one of the great cities and how it offers a window into power, faith and war.
Dan Snow explores the murky histories of London, Paris and New York from the bottom up.
Britain's Forgotten Slave Owners
People as property: historian David Olusoga on the untold stories of British slavery.
The violence, valor and sacrifices made by the women fighting for their right to vote.
How much can the artistic history of a great city tell us about its character?
Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds
Paris, Vienna and New York. The seismic influence of three cities on the artistic world.
Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness
Can the thoughts and ideas of history’s greatest thinkers help in our day to day lives?
Rome: Empire Without Limit with Mary Beard
World renowned historian, Mary Beard, is back to shatter myths about the Roman Empire.
War Art with Eddie Redmayne
Academy Award winning actor Eddie Redmayne discovers the artists who saved lives during WW1
The Six Queens of Henry VIII
Rediscover the Queens who shaped a King & his legacy in The Six Queens of Henry VIII, BBC's new look at the King's infamous wives.
The World's First Computer
Think your computer’s had it? Meet one found in a shipwreck that’s 2,000 years old.