Legacy: The Origins of Civilization
We humans have been on the Earth for more than a million years, but civilization – life in cities – has come about only in the last 5,000. Through history civilizations have rose and fell, carved out of nature, dependent on nature, in the end – nature took them back.
But in the past few hundred years, one form of civilization – that of the West – has changed the balance of nature forever. And now it is civilization itself that has become the central problem of our planet. To understand why, we must look afresh at how we see history.
Host Michael Wood traces the rise of both Asian and Western civilization in one global perspective in these thought-provoking videos. From the crumbling ruins in the Iraqi desert to those of Greece and Rome, viewers contemplate thriving cities and complex societies that have vanished, a reminder that other nations prospered for thousands of years. Now all that remains is their legacy.
1. Iraq: The Cradle of Civilization. After thousands of years as a hunter/gatherer, man built the first cities 5,000 years ago on the banks of the Euphrates River. Civilization as we know it began with the glorious cultures of Ur, Nineveh, and Babylon.
2. India – The Empire of the Spirit. Ancient India is with us today in the living tradition of the Hindu religion, the basis of Indian culture. The traditions that are honored by millions of Hindus in the present were born in the Indus valley 5,000 years ago.
3. China – The Mandate of Heaven. Many breakthroughs on which the modern world is based were discovered in China long ago… iron-casting, gunpowder, even printing. When introduced to Europe, these things changed Western civilization. This episode presents the synthesis of East and West.
4. Egypt – The Habit of Civilization. A great documentary about Ancient Egypt that confirms that it was the birthplace of modern civilization, more than 5000 years ago. This documentary supports many of Dr. Walter Williams claims in regard to Egypts influence in the founding of Christianity and Islam.
5. Central America – The Burden of Time. Isolated from the rest of the world, the Mayans and Aztecs created sophisticated civilizations that in many ways paralleled ancient Mediterranean empires. God-like kings and a priestly ruling class dominated splendid cities of temples and pyramids.
6. The Barbarian West. Civilization arose in Asia, but it was the West which would create the first world culture. This final episode traces the origins of western culture through Greece and Rome prevailing by borrowing from the legacies of the original five old world civilizations.
Watch the full documentary now (playlist – 5 hours)