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Ancient Worlds [Blu-ray]

Richard Miles    Exempt   Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
Price: £12.46 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Ancient Worlds [Blu-ray] + Civilisation [Blu-ray] [1966] + Earth - The Box Set [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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Product details

  • Actors: Richard Miles
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 6 Dec 2010
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0042HOPYY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,019 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Ancient Worlds is a six-part odyssey from the first cities of Mesopotamia to the Christianisation of the Roman Empire with archaeologist and historian Richard Miles at the helm. The series tells the story of what Richard argues is mankind's greatest achievement – civilisation.

The series offers an epic sweep of history against a panorama of stunning locations and bold propositions about the origins of human society.

In the 21st century we might fondly imagine that it is humankind's natural state to live together in communities that extend beyond blood ties. As Ancient Worlds sets out to show, however, no such assumptions were made by the first clan chiefs who decided to form communities in southern Iraq in 4500 BC. There is nothing natural about the city, and its founders understood that its very survival relied on compromise, ruthlessness, sacrifice and toil.

In the West we have consigned the term 'civilisation' to the museum display case. Embarrassed by its chauvinistic and elitist connotations, we have increasingly taken refuge in more politically correct and soft-focused terms such as 'culture' to explain our origins. This series seeks to rescue civilisation from its enforced retirement and celebrate such a hard-fought invention.

Product Description

An illuminating and spectacular six-part odyssey tracing the development of Western civilisation - from the first cities of Mesopotamia to the fall of the Roman Empire. Academic and archaeologist Richard Miles travels through the Middle East, Egypt, Pakistan and the Mediterranean to discover how the mainstays of our society - community, democracy, commerce and technology - were forged and fought over in a series of classical cultures. Ancient Worlds tells the amazing stories of disappeared, ruined and modern cities - from Ancient Iraq to Augustan Rome, and from Phoenicia and the city states of Greece to today's Damascus - and reveals the compromise, ruthlessness, sacrifice and toil that made each city work. In an epic sweep of history against a panorama of stunning locations, Richard Miles, with the help of local experts and archaeologists, brings these legendary civilisations back to life to show how the successes and failures of the ancients shaped the world that we have inherited.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
161 of 164 people found the following review helpful
This six part series started slowly with quite a dry first episode, which might put you off watching the following five hours. It really is worth persevering because the pace picks up dramatically with the second programme and, overall, this is a fascinating, insightful and entertaining series.
The host is historian and archaeologist Richard Miles, an expert on the ancient world of the Mediterranean which is where much of the story takes place. The series explores what holds the modern world together - civilisation - by examining its roots some 6000 years ago, and tracing the development of cities and human integration through the ancient worlds to the decline and fall of the Roman Empire - when `modern' historians can take over!
Miles is a good storyteller who talks directly to the viewer as he visits sites all over the Middle East and Mediterranean. He works from a polished script, giving a lot of emphasis to key one-liners. This isn't a rambling old duffer elaborating upon his specialised subject in meandering fashion; it's a discourse with a purpose, with Miles hitting home his point that people in 3000 BC were much the same then as we are now - and they organised themselves in the same ways. Religion, politics, war, diplomacy, technology, trade, art and culture all play a part in the development of civilisation, and we are shown how each come to the fore at different points in the timeline.

The story starts in Uruk, considered to be the 'mother of all cities', in southern Iraq, then explores Syria, Egypt, Anatolia and Greece to find the very first Bronze Age cities. Little written evidence remains from this time - and other archaeological remains are fragmentary - so this history blurs into myth and supposition at times.
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112 of 114 people found the following review helpful
I read the first reviewer's comment about part 1 being dry, but I can't agree with that. Yes, the first 2 minutes are not exactly scene stealers - it's him, on a ferry somewhere on a river in Istanbul, talking quietly and seriously to you, the viewer, or gazing out at the river. In other words, "nothing to see here" and I wasn't at all sure I would continue watching the full hour. Then it all changes.....about 2 minutes in he is standing at the perfect spot to get one of the most incredible and lovely views of an ancient Syrian ruin called Apamea. He talks to the camera and ends with "'s like that when you look down into the well of history, it gets dark so quickly. But then just sometimes, you catch a glimpse of something at the bottom, alive and moving. Then suddenly you realize that it's your own reflection, looking back at you. That's the story that I want to tell to you now. It's not the story of ancient worlds long past, it's the story of us, then." He walks away, down this immense and magnificent ancient road, and YOU want to follow him, you want to hear more, you want to see where he's going to take you next.
Not long after that he goes to Tel Brak, tells you a little about the people there and starts excavating a bowl from high wall. You feel that you there digging alongside him, somehow holding the ladder or handing him the trowel and brush.
He takes us to ruins, modern cities, and museums that most of us would not otherwise have an opportunity to experience, and many of which I had never seen before, like the beautiful remains of Apamea.
When Richard Miles is not onscreen, but narrating from the sidelines, you feel like you're listening to a really great lecturer.
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75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 13 Nov 2010
I saw the first episode of this series on the BBC, and it is one of the best Ancient History programmes to have come out of the TV for years. I took an Ancient History degree, am a History teacher, and have travelled to many of the places referenced in the programme, and I could find not one single fault in the entire piece.

What is perhaps so excellent about the programme is the seamless way that the presenter links the growth and development of civilisation in different areas, showing exactly how the city states of Mesopotamia grew and interacted with their neighbours ... which led to a (brief) examination of Egypt; and showing how trade broadened people's horizons, leading to an investigation of different civilisations around Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean. Any programme which manages to incorporate the Sumerians, Assyrians, Hittites, Egyptians, Mycenaeans, and Ugarites, so perfectly, has to be good in my book.

I am writing this review before the DVD has been released, as the TV series has not yet ended. I have put the DVD straight into my wish-list, hoping that someone will see it and get it for me in time for Christmas!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Vignettes 15 Dec 2010
I will not repeat or supplement comments made already regarding just how good this series is. Suffice it to say - I loved it.

Perhaps I could just provide three vignettes, to offer something of the flavour of how Richard Miles captured & retained your attention from beginning to end.

1. As he surfaces from diving to see the submerged rubble from the Great Lighthouse (Pharos) at Alexandria, Miles is clearly deeply affected & very excited. When you see a professional exhibiting genuine emotion like that, it is really quite moving.

2. In the closing sequence of the episode on Alexander, Miles compares the merits of a 'big man' against a 'big idea' & how the idea wins every time. What a perfect way to introduce Rome into the series.

3. On a lighter note, the idea of the Roman world equating to membership of an exclusive club with rights & demanding responsibilities, as opposed to the Carthaginian trading fraternity, which was more like holding a loyalty card, was priceless & a welcome relief from the sinister reality of the Punic Wars & their bloody outcome.

There is so much more to the series than these anecdotes could possibly convey & I would strongly recommend it to anybody with an interest in ancient & classical history.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient World explained
Very good reporting. Nice photography. To keep.
Published 11 days ago by Gigot Marie-claire
4.0 out of 5 stars top of the range for the subject
a good isight into the subject very worthwile i would buy it again
Published 12 days ago by Richard Metcalfe
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 26 days ago by Robb Saunders
4.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating Ancient History
Very impressive. Richard Miles is a refreshingly down-to-earth host. I am getting him to take my 13 and 15 year old sons through the subject - it sure beats computer games.
Published 5 months ago by Piers Nye
5.0 out of 5 stars Best all round set on the Ancient World (circum-Mediterranean)
I use the Ancient Worlds set for my intro ancient history survey (university). Is it perfect? No. I get tired of the narrator (Richard Miles) popping up everywhere, ditto the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kathy
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended
This helped me with my history exam at college, so it was incorporated into my revision made it much more enjoyable
Published 7 months ago by Jay
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
I enjoyed watching this DVD. It is most informative and somewhat educational. It supplied info that fitted together the many snippets of ancient history that I have picked up over... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated But Can't Fault The Content
The presentation may come across a little dated and maybe slow in comparison to some of todays efforts but as a learning tool I don't think you can fault this DVD.
Published 10 months ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes you think
lovely HD so aslong as you know how to watch a Blu Ray film on good equipment you wont go wrong
Published 10 months ago by Osmics
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable overview but bit slow
Interesting insights into Ancient Worlds, but narrative was quite slow. Stuck to sensible timelines and was reasonably wholesome. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mr. Stephen Duff
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