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Ancient Inventions of War, Sex and City Life

1998 ,    »  -   12 Comments
Ratings: 6.50/10 from 4 users.

Ancient Inventions is another great three-part documentary hosted by the hilarious Monty Python's guy Terry Jones.

City Life. It took Christopher Columbus over eight weeks to cross the Atlantic. Nowadays, we can do it in less than eight hours in a jumbo jet. What would Columbus or Archimedes have made of it? Well, it doesn't mean they were less intelligent than you or me. They were probably more intelligent. And maybe all this progress that modern man seems to be making is partly an illusion. Perhaps there are even things we can learn from the science and technology of ancient times. Take the city, for example. Cities seem so much the product of modern technology and yet, in fact, they are one of the most ancient of all inventions.

Sex and Love. No one invented sex or love, but they've always been one of the greatest spurs to human inventiveness. Making ourselves sexually attractive is not just a modern obsession. Our ancient ancestors were just as obsessed with inventing new ways of looking good and turning each other on as we are today. For example, Pharaoh's slaves once went on strike because they ran out of makeup. And, fashionable Roman women used to smear themselves with gladiator sweat. And, when it comes to finding ways to improve our sex lives, our ancestors came up with a good many inventions modern Man has only just rediscovered. The female condom, the pregnancy tester, yes, and even the oral contraceptive. Believe it or not, they're all ancient inventions.

War and Conflicts. Julius Caesar never used a mobile phone, Socrates never consulted a digital watch, and Alexander the Great never flushed the lavatory. But that doesn't mean they were stupid. Archaeologists tell us the human brain is the same size now as it was 60,000 years ago, and our ancestors were every bit as intelligent as we are today, so we shouldn't assume that the scientists and inventors of the past have nothing to teach us. In fact, when it comes to weapon's technology - well, none of it is as new as we think it is. Guided missiles, flame-throwers, chemical weapons, tanks, even the theory of the atom bomb - they're all ancient inventions.

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12 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Caroline Harris

    This would have been more interesting significantly shorter.

  2. Michael

    Terry Jones is great, prostitutes started the first bank back in Babylon. Therefore bankers are of the oldest profession. Makes sense.

  3. rebelliuss

    very cool..

  4. Amir Bengali

    great Documentary!!

  5. kain

    yet more FANTASTIC documentary's from MR Jones, if only there where more....

  6. Kent

    Although I have only read the the entry about this title I would like point out an even more interesting fact. It states that the human brain is the same size today as 60000 years ago. In fact, as published in Discover in their last magazine, the human brain has decreased in size since 30000 years ago from 1500cc to 1350cc. Maybe the idea of ancient intelligence isn't wrong. Maybe our brain is more efficient or maybe we are being dumbed down by recent civilizations. I for one believe education has purposely been censored for the benefit of a select few in recent times. Anyway, I just thought someone might find it interesting that we may been smarter in the past, unlike the current belief in intelligent progress; after all we do have a habit of destroying the most important libraries after the fall of Empires: Egypt(destruction of the library of the sphinx) Rome(library of Alexandria) Americas(The destruction of the entire native civilization). I hope humanity will stop these cycles and get over our selfishness and egos otherwise we may be better off as unthinking animals

  7. Time Traveller

    really enjoyed this.. Some things you would never think of being invented back then..

  8. iesika

    @ Kent

    Brain size isn't the only measure of intelligence. Intelligence within the human species seems to be most closely correlated with prenatal/early childhood nutrition, and with the degree of folding of the cortex, rather than brain size.

    Brain size has a lot to do with body size, and humans shrunk slightly around the time of the agricultural revolution.

  9. Mad

    these videos were worth watching very interesting stuff here.

  10. bobby

    i think it' funny that in the first vid his hair cut changes throughout, from long to short

  11. madscirat

    I love Terry, he breathes much needed life into history and always feeds you those fascinating details. I'm a bit worried for him though after watching him cross contaminate his hamburger in part one. Obviously, Terry's never worked in a kitchen.

  12. Leon Newman

    This is such a lighthearted & fun yet important documentary for it points out the ever recurring human arrogance apparant in the notion that each generation thinks it's the pinnacle of human civilisation.

    It seems we repeat ourselves in an iterative manner: rediscovering ancient idea's and processes in a more advance way only to destroy ourselves in the proces.

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