What The Ancients Did For Us


What The Ancients Did For UsStep back in time to discover how the world was shaped by the ancient Chinese, the Mesopotamians, the Arabs and even the Ancient Britons.

Adam Hart-Davis presents an epic history of ancient inventions and is joined by his team of roving reporters on the move around the globe as they delve into the beginnings of civilization.

Who invented beer, bread and the wheel? How did the Egyptians align the pyramids so accurately? Did you know the ancient Greeks measured the circumference of the earth, invented robots and the first computer?

This epic new series begins in the Middle East with a set of amazing inventions from The Islamic World and the series finishes with the Britons. Along the way we will meet the Chinese, the Aztecs, Maya & Incas, the Romans, the Indians, the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, the Greeks.

Nine programmes examining the military, technological, social, architectural and medical advances of each era and its peoples, What the Ancients Did for Us traces some of the defining moments in history and the key inventions that shaped our world today.

These episodes are already posted: The Indians and The Islamic World.

Ratings: 6.14/10from 22 users.

More great documentaries

24 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Haleigh

    I found this video extremely interesting. It's funny how we often discredit people for certain inventions, like the water-drill in the video, modern researchers misnamed it because we failed to realize that technology this advanced could have existed in such a world thousands of years ago. But the proof of this type of technology is in the large monuments that still stand to this day. I think we should definitely give our ancestors more credit and assume that their cognitive ability was higher than we may believe because without them, I highly doubt I would be able to to type this message.

  2. h0p1s9

    Why does everyone find it so difficult give Africa its credit, they mapped out the heavens, gave us time. The Arabs never even existed as race until Abraham and Hagar is wife. Hence they are related to the Jews, decendents of the Hyksos who came into firstly Mesopotamia, where they built Babylon. An area dirst controled by Africans as part of Ethiopia. These people new nothing about civilisation until they entered the region and then into the NIle Valley. Oldest tin 45year old Kenya, farming Kemet 15,000 years old, you name African did it. Western experts and historian need to gt over themselves, they have become really beining to sound idiots in an information age. Its is beoming harder to listen to them banging about Egypt did this and that. They learnt everything from the African, get over it.

    1. 1849Nevermore

      Egypt IS in Africa. Hence, Egyptians are Africans. When, as you put it, banging and banging about Egypt did this and that, they (who ever they are) are banging (?) about Africans. You should be proud of that.

    2. Ed Lamange

      You Mean Abram and Hagar... Did not become Abraham until after Ishmael was born. Name changed from Abram to Abraham after Sarah conceived Issac. Arabs and Jews...

    3. lechaise

      I love the fact you two are arguing about the Bible as if it were actually fact. Kind of confusing the two areas a little, no?

  3. alans

    That guy needs to shut up sometimes(in a nice way). Kind of annoying.

  4. Halim

    don't ask what the ancients did for u..... but what YOU did for the ancients...

  5. Liisa Mialee

    Last part about britains is missing last 4 parts but overall it's a great series.

  6. Earthwinger

    @ artfkarim, My statement was in no way intended to cast some sort of value judgement regarding one civilisation over another, which is something that you clearly seem to want to do. So I'll repeat myself for your benefit.

    The term “dark ages” is no longer used by historians, as it's a very misleading term, and almost as old as the time that it refers too, which is why, with the benefit of a better understanding of history, we no longer use it. The term was probably first used by Petrarch, the Italian scholar, in the 1330's, and refers to the decline of Latin literature. It was later picked up by the protestant reformers, and continued to be used during the Enlightenment, as a derogatory term with much broader implications, because they saw their own “enlightenment” as absent from the earlier period.

  7. Leonid Basin


  8. Guest

    What??? What the heck is this:
    What The Ancients Did For "Us". Us? WHO is US?

    1. Epicurus

      us is humanity.

    2. Jack1952

      Ego-centric to call it "What did the ancients ever do for me?"

    3. adilrye


    4. who_me_yeah_you

      Us is you,and/or me and/or other persons dumbass. Its about the many civilisations and cultures who innovated and created things, or came up with ideas that have benefited modern humans.

  9. Farking Spamhell

    Should the Arabs sit in with the "ancients"?

    1. Fecioru Florin

      They kind of should

    2. Guest

      Yes, why not? Ancient arabs, ancient persians, ancient indians, so why not ancient arabs?

    3. Richard Lee

      I think it really depends on what you mean by "Arabs". If you mean the nomadic sematic tribes (of which the Hebrews also were) then, yes, their culture is over 5000 years old - so in parallel with Egypt. If you mean Islam, then no - its just not old enough to be considered Ancient.

      I do agrre that the early Islamic nation(s) - in particulare the City of Light (now Baghdad) brought together many ancient knoweledges and by bringing them together, created new and more complete understanding - Algebra etc.

    4. adilrye

      I don't think he meant it to deride the Arabs, Psychopatha, I think he meant does Islam qualify for being "ancient"?

      Technically (and I really hate to be the geek) it doesn't. In fact, the coming of Islam is one of the distinctive aspects that separates the Medieval world from the Ancient world.

    5. Farking Spamhell

      Thanks for clarifying.

      As you say when do the "ancients" end.

      Again goes back to the whole discussion about "dark ages" and who played what role.