The Origins of Civilisation

The Origins of Civilisation

Maya Warfare and Sacrifice

With a history stretching back thousands of years, it’s about time that the Ancients started looking at the extraordinary Maya civilisation in Central America. Even with a range of sources that survive, many aspects of these ancient peoples remains debated and shrouded in mystery ...  Show more

Sex in Ancient Rome

We’ve covered bloody battles, we’ve covered stunning cities, we’ve covered civilisations far away from the ancient Mediterranean. But in some 120 episodes of The Ancients we hadn’t covered one of the most popular topics in the world: sex. That is, until now. In today’s episode, s ...  Show more

Mons Graupius: Britain's Most Elusive Battle?

In 83/84 AD a battle was fought somewhere in Scotland between the Roman forces of Gnaeus Julius Agricola and the 'Caledonians' – the great climax to Agricola’s campaigns in Northern Britain. Details of the clash are few and far between, with our sole literary source for the event ...  Show more

Roman Camps in Britain

When one mentions Roman military installations you would be forgiven for instantly thinking of their forts, the remains of which we can see today dotted around the country. From the Kent coast to central Scotland. But what about their camps, these often-temporary structures that ...  Show more

Nan Madol: Venice of the Pacific

Nan Madol. It is one of the most awesome, enigmatic and unique ancient sites in the World, and yet most people have never heard the name. Labelled the ‘Venice of the Pacific’ by US aviators during the Second World War, this ancient Micronesian metropolis is not your usual city. S ...  Show more

The Lost Tomb of Cleopatra

Among the rulers of Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra VII has long held a place in legend, her story having been told in folklore, by Shakespeare and in Hollywood movies. In reality, however, her story remains unfinished. The location of her final resting place remains lost to us. Dr Chri ...  Show more

The Rise of Marseilles: France's Oldest City

Today it is the second largest city in France. But Marseilles is also the country’s oldest city. Founded at the turn of the 7th century BC by Greek settlers, the ancient history of Marseilles (known to the Greeks as Massalia and the Romans as Massilia) is rich. Strategically posi ...  Show more

The Rise of Hannibal

He was one of the greatest enemies the Romans ever faced. An excellent general and a larger-than-life figure, he led an army across the alps and dealt a series of crushing defeats upon the Romans on Italian soil. His achievements have become a thing of legend and his name has bec ...  Show more

Colchester: From Bronze Age to Boudica

It is the one possible case of urbanisation in Britain prior to the arrival of the Romans, and that is just the start of the story of Colchester. In this chat with Tristan, Dr Frank Hargrave from Colchester Museum reveals the city’s long and prestigious ancient history. From the ...  Show more

Tacfarinas: The Desert Hydra

He was one of the greatest rebels of Rome from the 1st century AD, but his name is not one you might initially think of. Derided by Roman historians as being little more than a bandit, the truth is very much the opposite. For several years, between 17 and 24 AD, Tacfarinas led a ...  Show more

Palaces in Paradise: Centres of the Persian World

Persepolis is arguably the most famous ancient site associated with the Achaemenid Persian Empire, but it certainly wasn’t the only administrative centre of this ancient superpower. In this second part of our interview with Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, Lloyd talks us through some of th ...  Show more

Pompeii’s Indian Statuette

Among Pompeii’s great wealth of surviving artefacts is one with a rich globe trotting history that only goes to emphasise the interconnected nature of the ancient world: the Pompeii Lakshmi, a small statuette originally crafted in India. But what do we know about this object? Doe ...  Show more

10 Key Roman Emperors

Love them or loathe them, the Roman emperors were some of the most influential figures in history. In this episode Barry Strauss, Professor of History and Classics at Cornell University, talks through ten of the most important - starting with Augustus and ending at Constantine. B ...  Show more

Sisters at War: The Rise and Fall of Elagabalus

Often found high on the list of Rome’s worst emperors, the short reign of the teenager Elegabalus in the early 3rd century AD is filled with controversy. But it was also a time when several remarkable women came to the fore in the Roman Empire, playing central roles in both the r ...  Show more

The Lost Baths of Cleopatra

Cleopatra. Hers is one of the most famous names that endures from antiquity. The victor of a civil war. The mistress of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. The last ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt. The protagonist of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. A fearsome leader and brilliantly a ...  Show more

The Gladiatrix

Mention the word gladiator and you would be forgiven for instantly thinking of the 2000 namesake epic movie. Of spectators watching on as men battled each other with a variety of weapons, sometimes to the death, for the entertainment of the crowd. But did women also fight as glad ...  Show more

Alexander the Great’s Corpse & the Greatest Heist in History

Alexander the Great is one of the most famous generals and empire builders in history, but the story of his death is almost as remarkable as his life. For this episode, our host and Alexander the Great superfan, Tristan Hughes, joins Dan Snow to tell the almost unbelievable tale ...  Show more

The Sacred Band of Thebes

The Theban Sacred Band was one of the greatest military corps of Ancient Greece, thriving from the city-state of Thebes for almost 50 years in the mid 4th century BC. In addition to their fighting prowess, however, there is another fascinating aspect to their history; this 300-ma ...  Show more

The Begram Hoard: Treasures of the Silk Road

In the mid-20th century French archaeologists came across a remarkable collection of ancient items from Eastern China, the Indian subcontinent and the Roman Mediterranean, all in one place. In this second episode about Begram, Tristan is once again joined by the University of Fre ...  Show more

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