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The Ancient Worlds with Bettany Hughes: #2/7 – Engineering Ancient Egypt

27/04/2022

Docuwiki

The Ancient Worlds with Bettany Hughes

Historian Bettany Hughes gives her personal take on the diverse cultures of the ancient world in this 2010 documentary series on Channel 4. The series begins with an examination of Alexandria, the city founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC to become the world’s first global centre of culture. The programme explores Alexandria’s role as a powerhouse of science and learning, and focuses on the female mathematician, astronomer and philosopher Hypatia, the subject of the feature film Agora, starring Rachel Weisz. (Programme Blocked)

The series also offers a chance to catch Hughes’s previous ancient history titles, including the 2004 documentary The Minoans, and the 2005 film Helen of Troy, in which Hughes explores the true story of the woman whose face “launched a thousand ships”. Other programmes in the series are Engineering Ancient Egypt, the three-part documentary The Spartans (which inspired the Hollywood movie 300), Athens: The Truth about Democracy, and When the Moors Ruled in Europe, Hughes’s survey of Islamic rule in Spain and Portugal.

Bettany Hughes studied History at Oxford and is currently a research fellow at King’s College London. She has produced a series of critically acclaimed history documentaries for Channel 4 and PBS in America, and her 2005 book Helen of Troy was voted a book of the year by the Independent on Sunday. She makes regular appearances on radio and contributed the film The Daughters of Eve, about the female characters of The Bible.

Engineering Ancient Egypt

Through their superlative buildings, the legacy of the Egyptian empire continues to enthrall people to this day. Yet these incredible structures were made over 4,000 years ago. Historian Bettany Hughes explores what drove the people of this ancient civilisation to build on such a massive scale. The story is told through the reigns of two pharaohs – Khufu and Ramesses II. Separated by 1,200 years, they both ruled during periods of incredible architectural ambition. Under Khufu, the Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed; while under Ramesses II the temples of Abu Simbel came into being. But what drove this ambition? This documentary attempts to get into the hearts and minds of these early Egyptians in their unstoppable pursuit of immortality via great feats of engineering.

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