Ancient Powers

Chinese, Egyptian, Indian, Greek, and Roman societies fought wars, battled the climate and established the fascinating cultures which laid the foundations of the modern world. This groundbreaking history documentary uses the very latest scientific and archaeological discoveries and world-leading experts to reveal the tools and technologies that decided the fate of the ancient world.

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Ancient Powers on BBC Select

Episode 1: Origins
In a brutal world where nature is both friend and foe, the ancient powers take shape.

In a brutal world where nature is both friend and foe, the powers that would dominate the ancient world are just beginning. As this innovative history documentary reveals, they will have to use all their skill and ingenuity to shape their territory and establish their cultures. So, who will tame the land and claim their future? In Egypt, irrigation was the key to the foundation of a mighty empire.

Episode 2: Building Your Empire
Defense and development were vital for ancient powers to lay the foundations of empire.

In an unpredictable world, ancient empires had to lay down the foundations of their societies to show strength and protect their people. But who will build their way to glory? This groundbreaking history documentary uses new evidence and CGI to reveal how ancient powers such as Egypt and China mastered defending themselves from invaders and developed new technologies to thrive.

Episode 3: Making Money
All ancient civilizations had to trade with their neighbors, and enemies, to survive.

Early ancient civilizations needed to trade with their neighbors, and those further afield, to grow and survive. But what did it take to succeed in this new world of commerce? This fascinating history documentary looks at the early trading techniques of the ancient world. Egypt had a wealth of gold that led to become tycoons in the world of ancient trade, while Greece exploited the sea to survive.

Episode 4: Kill or be Killed
Ancient powers had to defend themselves and conquer their enemies by any means possible.

In a world where enemies watch for weakness, ancient civilizations had to use all their cunning to defend their people and conquer new lands. This astonishing history documentary focuses on those empires that rose to the challenge of the battlefield. The Greeks faced a challenge from the mighty Persian army. They had to rely on the brave Spartan forces to avoid complete obliteration.

Episode 5: Law and Order
In an unruly world, ancient powers must lead their people and quash any rebellion.

It was vital for all ancient powers to lead their people, create ways to govern and keep rebellion at bay. But what was the right way to rule? This ambitious history documentary focuses on the methods that the ancient world employed to maintain order. The Egyptians used imagery and propaganda to help keep their citizenry happy. In ancient India, religion would play an integral role.

Episode 6: End Game
What are the reasons behind the failure and destruction of once mighty empires?

A number of ancient powers endured for centuries. But destruction was always close at hand. This wide-reaching history documentary looks at the causes of their downfall and investigates what creates a lasting legacy. Alexander the Great named cities after himself to install his authority on the vanquished. But his sudden death would change the fate of the entire ancient world.

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