Historian Michael Wood stands in the Iraqi desert amid crumbling ruins and dry desolation. He describes a once-thriving metropolis, where merchants brought their goods into the city over a network of lush canals. All that remains is a sea of golden sand, the once-large population drifted away, the complex society vanished. As the world approaches the 21st century, this new series reminds us that other nations and cultures prospered for hundreds or even thousands of years. Now all that remains is the legacy of their civilizations, present and influential in our own.
Shot on location on four contients, Legacy takes a different viewpoint from other series that concentrate primarily on the the Western view of history. Visiting China, India, Egypt, the Middle East, Greece and Meso-America, this series traces the rise of both Asian and western civilization.
This series results from an international effort, a co-production of Maryland Public Television and Central Independent Television, U.K. in association with NHK, Japan and the British Museum.
1 - Iraq: The Cradle of Civilisation
After thousands of years as a hunter/gatherer, man built the first cities 5,000 years ago on the banks of the Euphrates in southern Iraq. Civilization began. City life transformed the human race with the glorious cultures of Mesopotamia such as Ur, 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
Central China's An Yan, site of the first Chinese civilization. The traditional culture is still in place. There is reverence for ancestors, a reach for a harmonious existence, and belief in Confucianism. Although the modern world has intruded, the Chinese are still strongly influenced by the past.
4 - Egypt: The Habit of Civilisation
Ancient Egypt was the first great nation on earth and endured for thousands of years. The god-like Pharaoh was the rock on which this civilization was built. Ancient traditions come together in the Moslem culture that is the Middle East today.
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.
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