Ancient

Ancient

The ancient world is full of wonder and mystery. From the discovery of Britain's oldest complete human skeleton to the disappearance of the Roman Ninth Legion, we have documentaries, interviews and podcasts covering all of periods and key events in antiquity. Learn more about this fascinating period in history with world leading experts such as Mary Beard and follow us as we take you on tours around some world famous sites as well as the more unknown hidden gems of the ancient and classical era.

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Ancient
  • An Indigenous History of Australia

    To date, there are over 500 different aboriginal 'nations' in Australia, all with distinctive cultures, beliefs, languages and unique histories. Since the arrival of Captain James Cook and the subsequent colonisation of the continent, many of these indigenous populations were, and continue to be ...

  • Alexander the Great: The Greatest Heist in History

    It remains one of the most successful and significant thefts in history. In late 321 BC, a carefully-constructed plot was put into operation that would spark years of bloody conflict between rival warlords. The target of the operation was Alexander the Great’s elaborate funeral carriage (designed...

  • The Ninth: Mystery of the Lost Legion

    1 season

    It is one of the great mysteries of ancient Mediterranean history. In the 2nd century AD, Rome’s 9th Legion – Legio IX Hispana – vanished from the historical record. Immortalised through Rosemary Sutcliff’s famous novel The Eagle of the Ninth, the question of what happened to this ‘Lost Legion’ h...

  • Fortress Britain: Ardoch Roman Fort

    Join Tristan Hughes in this short documentary as he explores the fascinating history of Ardoch Roman Fort in Scotland. Featuring historians Rebecca Jones and Andrew Tibbs.

  • Killing God: The Assassination of Julius Caesar

    15 March - 'The Ides of March'. It is arguably the most well known date in ancient history. On that day in 44 BC the Roman statesman Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of senatorial conspirators in the heart of Rome. But why was this political giant of ancient Rome assassinated? How did th...

  • The First Britons

    If the words British history conjure up images of Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, Boudica, Mary Seacole, The Beatles and the Blitz, you’re squinting at a small spec of the history of humanity of these Isles. Even if you go back to the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD, or even further to the Iron Age ...

  • Edges of Empire

    1 season

    Tristan Hughes goes on a journey along Hadrian's Wall, visiting some of its greatest sites. Meeting experts to learn more about the Wall's history and the ground-breaking new archaeological discoveries, that continue to tell us more about what life must have been like on this far-flung frontier a...

  • Mary Beard on Lessons from Ancient Rome

    The deepening political divide in the U.S. and an apparent realignment of the world order through President Trump’s foreign policy have prompted many comparisons to the fall of the Roman Empire. But can we really look back at ancient civilisations and draw parallels with those that exist today? A...

  • Stonehenge

    Dan Snow visits one of the most recognisable historical sites on Earth. Stonehenge. Timed with the recent solving of the sarsen stones origin mystery, this documentary takes an in-depth look at what we know, and what we don't know, about this iconic Neolithic monument.

  • Michael Scott on Classical Connections

    When one thinks of the Ancient World you would be forgiven for instantly thinking of either the cultural glories of ancient Greece or the military might of the Roman Empire. Yet the Mediterranean and the Near East was just one part of a much larger, interconnected ancient world. In India and Chin...

  • Hatshepsut: She Who Would Be King

    Hatshepsut – whose name means “foremost of noblewomen” – was an exceptional figure in the history of Ancient Egypt. Only the second woman in history to assume the title of pharaoh, during her reign she oversaw the building of monumental temples, established trade connections with far away African...

  • The Romans in Britain

    Stunning remains of monumental architecture can be seen across the British Isles: from excavated Roman villas like Fishbourne in southern England, to Hadrian's Wall and its many milecastles stretching across Cumbria and Northumberland, to the well-preserved legionary fort layout at Ardoch in cent...

  • Tom Holland on the Birth of Islam

    Historian Tom Holland shares his fascination at how the events of ancient history can resonate in the modern world. The author of Islam: The Untold Story talks to Dan Snow about the birth of this rich and sophisticated civilisation, tracing its history through the centuries, and its interaction a...

  • Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh

    Tutankhamun, 'The Boy King' of Ancient Egypt, is one of history's most famous names. Though his short reign proved fairly-insignificant, his legacy lives on thanks to Howard Carter's discovery of his magnificent tomb in 1922. Now, as the centenary of Carter's discovery creeps ever nearer, many of...

  • The Rollright Stones: Mind, Myre and Magic

    The Rollright Stones are some of Britain’s most remarkable and mysterious ancient monuments. They consist of three separate sites - a looming funerary monument built to contain dismembered corpses, a venerated stone circle, and a single monolith with an innominate purpose. Alice Loxton traces six...

  • Delphi

    Renowned as the home of the Pythia, the sanctuary at Delphi was the religious heart of the Hellenic World. In this episode of Historic Questions Professor Michael Scott explains the site's history and why it was so significant in antiquity.

  • The Road to Rome

    The Roman Empire was one of the greatest in history. At its height it stretched from northern Britain to the Persian Gulf, its might epitomised by the effectiveness of its core military unit: the Roman legion. The aqueduct, sanitation, irrigation, medicine, education, wine, public baths – all thi...

  • The Silk Roads with Peter Frankopan

    In the East Meets West season, this is the starting point. Frankopan's rightly lauded book has done what it said on the cover: created a new history of the world. For way too long we Westerners have been espying history through the lens of our own success. But truth is, Britain only had its momen...

  • Bignor Roman Villa

    West Sussex has its fair share of stunning Roman sites: Fishbourne Roman Palace, Stane Street, the Novium, the list goes on. But one of the region's star Roman attractions has to be Bignor Roman Villa. Situated deep in the heart of the Sussex countryside Bignor is home to some of the most impress...

  • Mary Beard on Women and Power

    In Greek and Roman antiquity, women’s voices were proof of their wickedness. The pitch and prattle was considered harmful, even unsanitary. In literature, powerful women were emblems of usurpation and mortal danger. Women speaking in public could not only jeopardize the men close to them, but bri...

  • A Tour of Fishbourne Palace

    In 1960, a man was laying a waterpipe underneath the quaint village of Fishbourne near Chichester, West Sussex, when he uncovered what looked like Roman remains. After he duly reported the discover, the archaeologists were called in and they quickly unearthed more and more prestigious finds. They...

  • Thebes

    Athens, Sparta and Corinth are arguably three of the most famous, and most significant, Greek city-states of antiquity. But there is one 'polis' that is often forgotten. A city that rose to prominence during the 4th century BC. That city was Thebes. From fighting with the Persians during the Pers...

  • Imagining the Divine

    Dr Janina Ramirez takes an exclusive tour of 'Imagining the Divine', the new exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. With the exhibition's co-curator, Jas Eslner, Janina discovers how the art of the 5 major world religions spread across the globe in the first Millennium AD, and takes a fasc...

  • The Life of Julius Caesar with Simon Elliott

    Historian and archaeologist Simon Elliott has written extensively on the Roman world. He answers the key questions surrounding one of history's most compelling figures - Julius Caesar. Who was Julius Caesar and what was his family history? How did military and political changes aid the rise of Ju...