Ancients Behaving Badly
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Ancients Behaving Badly

2009, History  -   35 Comments
Ratings: 7.09/10 from 22 users.

Ancients Behaving BadlyAncients Behaving Badly is an eight part series for History Television that applies a modern analytical take to some of classical history's most infamous rulers.

Evidence for the lives of these people comes from very limited and biased sources. Like all histories, they're written by the victors, whether the dynasty that usurped the line of Nero and Caligula and therefore had a vested interest in making them look bad, or the history of the Mongols, a hagiography to Genghis Khan written by his successors designed to make him look great.

Because of their bias, how much of these stories can we trust? Were these men as depraved or as noble as the stories suggest?

This series will answer these questions. Using physical testing, archaeology and a modern knowledge of the sciences from toxicology to ballistics we will re-appraise their lives to separate fact from fiction.

Historical experts will take us to the sites of some of the most pivotal or infamous events of their lives and we will piece together what really happened. Highly stylized two and a half D graphics will be used to bring the crucial and violent moments of their lives to life.

And psychiatric profiling will help us to piece together what was going on inside their heads and then see how they measure up to other brutal rulers on our unique Ancients Behaving Badly Psycho-graph.

By looking at these tyrants with a modern eye, the series aims to show them as real people, who behaved and thought and acted in ways that we can recognize. We will test the stories told about them in the crucible of the modern world.

Episodes included: Caligula, Attila The Hun, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Nero, Hannibal, Genghis Khan and Cleopatra.

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35 Comments / User Reviews

  1. marty mc marty

    Far short of the advertised 360 mins otherwise a good effort

  2. Cat House

    lol.. Atilla loves to kick back after a long day of raping & pillaging

  3. oOcupcakeOo

    The episode on Cleopatra was one of the most sexist things I have seen on television in a long while. It should be added to a women's studies course. The diagnosis of Cleopatra's personality at the end as "histrionic" was so textbook I was laughing.

  4. Pete Angritt

    The episode on Cleopatra has some faulty science when it comes to her being rolled up in a carpet. First, the carpet used in the test is not the same as the carpets commonly used in ancient times. A modern machine manufactured carpet is thicker and made of different materials than one made using the techniques used in ancient times. The other uncontrolled element is the difference in surface temperatures between water and land. Water does not conserve heat as much as land and therefore has a lower surface temperature. Once might also argue that the experiment did not control for other factors such as global warming and the probability that Cleopatra may have waited for a day with a better than average temperature to carry out her plan.

  5. steph

    Its been taken down?:/

  6. Chris Clyne

    Ive seen this on TV before. Great series!

  7. Gary MacDonald

    Makes history fun, why be so subjective. Sit and enjoy or find something else to watch. Personally, it's nice to see holes poked into these "Godlike" personas that have persisted over the Centuries, in the end, they were Human like the rest of us.

    History has cast them as Villians, Tyrants, Great Leaders and such as they deserve their titles. They did incredible things in incredible times. Think of the determination and courage in relation to their respective eras. They, at the time, were the forward thinkers. The tacticians, the Rulers and Victors.

  8. Snoik

    But no vlad the impaler.

  9. Vishanti

    Absolutely horrible. This series takes everything that is despicable about reality TV and applies it to history. There is lots of sound bites from so-called experts but no context, no depth. This is "history" at its most sensationalistic and trashy. This gives a bad name to documentaries and history.

    1. Fernando Zevallos

      totally agree, no context of depth all the historical facts where to paint the rulers the way they perceived them and in my opinion they where a little over zealous trying to prove they where monsters, which they where, but often blurred the historical FACTS to meet their goal

    2. Bobby Mitzel

      Well, I enjoyed it and had I not I probably would've never learned anything about these people because I would've watched something else. What's wrong with making history interesting? It draws people in and encourages them to learn. And thruthfully, I don't know what you mean by no context and depth. I think you just posted that to vindicate your own narcissistic perceptions that you know everything.

    3. Anna

      I don't believe it was the "fun" and "entertaining" part that spoiled it, but the fact it isn't history. The best example is Nero, someone we know got a bad rep from history because the Roman people named the Second Emperor (of the Year of Four Emperors) "Nero". To say nothing of the fact the fire of Rome has conflicting opinions between Julian sources and the majority-post-Hadrian sources. In a show that's supposedly about trying to be objective. And that's just the episode I personally have a strong familiarity with, it doesn't inspire confidence in the rest of the series.

  10. Wetwilly

    I wonder how Bush racks up to this graph.

    1. adilrye

      It actually kinda compares him favorably. I mean, for god's sake, you compare Genghis Khan to Bush? How is that even possible?

  11. Eesha

    great documentaries

  12. Mad at the world

    @ craftyjoe
    exactly when they made the pillage of Attila the Hun to Saddam Hussein i was thinking more George W Bush

  13. Dan

    Youtube experiences bandwidth issues all the time.

    And yes a lot of this is speculative but interesting all the same.

  14. craftyjoe

    these guys are no different than the thugs weve got now

  15. Alex

    My thoughts exactly.
    The psychologist in particular strikes me as being lulworthy

  16. Imightberiding

    It appears that your connection/service is not to blame this time around. I have ultra fast, super high speed, mega power, supremely slick internet service & I too am having issues with the buffering & loading of this video series. My goodness, I could hardly believe my eyes this evening when after a couple seconds of struggling to buffer, a message popped up to tell me that an error had occurred & would I please try again later. Can you imagine?

  17. Imightberiding

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Great fun! I trust you won't mind if I borrow your wit the next time I find myself in a conversation that seems to be making no sense.

    Well put. I tend to agree, especially on the entertainment vs real science. Sometimes that is a perfect prescription for a rainy night in.

  18. Ramus

    Is it a cryptic crossword clue?
    My answer is totem pole.

  19. Waldo

    @ brigante

    Huh? Maybe it is me, but I totally do not get what you are trying to say.

  20. brigante

    not Today is criminal this false flag

  21. Charles B.

    This looks very interesting.

  22. Ramus

    You should check out Spartans The Last Stand Documentary, I dont think its on TDF. But it shows what really happened in Greece and that the real hero was a guy called Thermistacles.

  23. christopher.miller

    Would of loved of History did a part on King Leonidas from the 300, the battle most know about from the movie "300 by Frank Miller" had very little truth to it. I wonder if my generation will all live on thinking only the 300 did all that.

    Sorry to get off topic but great post, thank you so much V.

  24. gero2006

    Analyses historic figures for evidence of psychopathology and plots them on an "ancients behaving badly psycho-graph". Ha-ha! This is a very silly idea but great fun. All sorts of entertainment e.g. an investigation into what sort of poisons might have been used by ancient assassins; whether Cleopatra was ugly; how many living people are descended from Ghengis Khaan etc. Anime-inspired animation sequences (reminded me of Kill Bill). Too much blood to recommend it for children.

  25. Waldo

    The freeze frame above makes that guy look really goofy, LOL. He actually seems very smart once you watch the program.

  26. Ramus

    A ham, cheese, pickle and cucumber sandwich documentary. Just the thing to fill me up before bedtime. Mmmmmmmm.

  27. Waldo

    A very interesting veiw of these men of power. Better than most History channel docs that tend to be dumbed down for the pop culture public. That said, I feel it is somewhat unfair to judge these men according to present standards. Ethics and morality were very different in thier times.Of course they must have raised a few eye brows even back then or they would have never gained the reputation their peers bestowed on them. Definetly worth the watch.

    Too bad prime time seems to jam up the server and prevent people like me, with a simple one meg dsl connection, from being able to finish the documentary. The way You Tube breaks everything into segments one has to wait over and over for each segment to buffer, thats why I like the Google player. It has the whole doc in one clip so you can simply start it then pause and let it buffer, once it gets to about the half way point you can kick back and watch without having to change resolution over and over and wait for each clip to buffer. Oh well, I suppose some things can't be helped. I can always wait until everyone else goes to bed, one benefit of cronic insomnia.

    1. Jae Shaw Myers

      This was exactly my thinking and I wondered if anyone else considered that taking these people out of their own times and applying modern morals/ethics to them was truly fair. Sure some people were down right mad (and considered so by their own contemporaries- Caligula comes to mind) but for the most part some of the historical figures that they "analize" for this show did what many others before them did in a time that was pretty darn brutal. I don't think it's a fair comparison to judge them based on modern morality. I would be more interested in judging their behaviors based on the behaviors of their own time to get a better picture of exactly how badly they truly behaved.

  28. Totoeskhoo

    offtopic: i also want to thank you Vlatko. You make the world a better place.

    on topic: I's a great history documentary, as are most of History Channel's film. I recommend it.

  29. grey area

    yes , this is awesome vlatko! just the kind of history stuff i was waiting for, give yourself a pat on the back my friend and keep em comin!!! im watchin right now , its great, thanks!