Videos by Subjects


Understanding European & Western Culture


Civilisation Box Set (1993)

 


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VHS
Rated: NR
Starring: Kenneth Clark, et al.

Edition Details:
• NTSC format (US and Canada only)
• Color, Box set, NTSC
• Number of tapes: 7
• ASIN: 078002253X

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The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization (2000)


Availability: This title usually ships within 2-3 days.

VHS
Rated: Unrated
Starring: et al.
Director: Cassian Harrison
Edition Details:
NTSC format (US and Canada only)
 NTSC
 Number of tapes: 2
 ASIN: B00004R8UQ

Editorial Reviews
Amazon.com
The lavish and lengthy production of PBS's The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization is a fitting tribute to the glory of ancient Greece, telling the story of Greek democracy from its first stirrings in 500 B.C. through to the cataclysmic wars that virtually destroyed the empire. It concludes with a fascinating look at how the Greeks were defeated, yet their philosophy endured and changed the world forever. Beautifully photographed, and with intelligent narration delivered by actor Liam Neeson, this two-volume set goes into considerable detail while also being engaging to the eye as well as the mind. The photography at ancient sites is often spectacular and judicious use of actors filmed in re-creations of critical events provide immediacy. Much of the story relates how the Greeks essentially invented politics and democracy, and interviews with prominent scholars of classical history provide insight into the major characters, including Thales, Pericles, and Socrates. The stories of epic battles on land and sea and a thoughtful treatment of the Greek ideals of heroism are presented well. But the documentary particularly succeeds in the latter stages, when the story turns to the downfall of Socrates and a thoughtful explanation of how Greek philosophy transformed civilization. --Robert J. McNamara

Video Description
Magnificent! Stupendous! Simply awe-inspiring! The empire built by the Greeks in the fourth and fifth centuries, B.C. is perhaps one of the most breathtaking ever built. Not just a work of art and genius, the empire laid the foundation for modern science, politics, warfare and philosophy. Come along and recount the rise and fall of the legacy of an empire that marked the dawning of the great Western civilization - the grandeur of the great philosophers, the magnificence of the architecture, the appeal of the great heroes. It's classical Greece like you've never seen! "The Revolution" takes you to ancient Athens where Athenians struggle against tyrants ... "Golden Age" replays the heroic victory over the Persian empire and tells of the startling Greek transformation ... and "Empire of the Mind" reveals the downfall of a glorious empire through the eyes of Socrates.
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Crusades (1995)


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VHS
Rated: NR
Starring: Terry Jones, et al.
Edition Details:
• NTSC format (US and Canada only)
• Color, NTSC
• Number of tapes: 4
• ASIN: 6303454550

Reviews
Amazon.com
Of all the wars waged in the name of God, none has ever matched the arrogance and conceit of the Christian Crusades. For nearly two centuries (1095-1291), this medieval "holy war" variously raged, sometimes so spiritually misshapen by rapaciousness, murder, and political greed that to think it all had to do with Christian faith is absurd. And really, there is no one better to dramatize such a theater of holy war than Wales-born Terry Jones, host of The Discovery Channel's Ancient Inventions and an accomplished medievalist. Best known for his absurdist contributions to all things Monty Python--he was a founding member of Monty Python's Flying Circus and cowriter of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, among others--Jones wields an uncanny ability to explain the methodologies and madness of the Crusades while not failing us his sense of humor.

Jones wrote the scripts for each 50-minute presentation in the four volumes of The Crusades, which originally aired on The History Channel. His narration is not without an occasional sardonic air, almost of the roll-your-eyes type, which not only lends a skeptical perspective to a frequently misunderstood era in Western Europe, but also quite frequently editorializes the events that occurred between Pope Urban II's call for liberation of Jerusalem from the "infidels" of Islam and the embarrassing moment when officers of the fourth Crusade are conned out of its divine calling by the Venetians. While Jones's reconnaissance is sometimes oversimplified by casually not mentioning several Crusade sorties after the fourth (there were several, but by the 13th century they had become redolent of ennui and misguided commercial adventure), the technical ingenuity of the production and Jones's use of anecdote backed by academicians and preserved eyewitness accounts cinches a viewer's interest. Medieval "siege machines" are re-created to test their mettle against legends of famous battles, Jones dons real 11th- and 12th-century armor to demonstrate the outlandish appearance of Crusaders in the lands of Mohammed, mosaics come to life with body-painted characters of medieval fable, and computer graphics are deployed to re-create the interior of the great cathedral at Cluny.

All these elements are contrasted with intermezzos of contemporary European and Middle Eastern society and a moving original soundtrack to make The Crusades a thoroughly engaging documentary of the bloodletting of medieval Christian conquests and the ultimate result of Islamic fanaticism born from its crimson tide. In Jones's own words at the end of Volume IV: "It took 200 years for the Crusaders to create [this] Muslim fanaticism. It was the exact imitation of Christian intolerance." To understand the effects of the Crusades is to understand much of today's religious geography, and Mr. Jones and company can fairly lay claim to having helped set the record straight. --Jamie Friddle
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Great Cities of the Ancient World: Athens & Ancient Greece (1994)


Availability: Usually ships within 24 hours.

VHS
Rated: NR
Edition Details:
• NTSC format (US and Canada only)
• Color, Closed-captioned, NTSC
• ASIN: 6303298591

Reviews
Amazon.com
Athens and five other cities of ancient Greece are brought back to life for an hour in this installment of the Great Cities of the Ancient World series. Beginning with a lovely shot of the sunrise behind the Acropolis, the program looks at early achievements in architecture, philosophy, sport, theater, and democracy that composed the dawn of modern civilization. As narrator Edmund Purdon points out, it's ironic that when we think of ancient Greece we picture austere white marble, when in fact the Greeks led such colorful lives. Thanks to computer graphics that "rebuild" ruined temples and amphitheaters in vivid shades of red, blue, yellow, and gold, the viewer can get a glimpse of these glorious structures as the Greeks knew them. Purdon intersperses myths and historical facts with the trivial details of daily life, so the viewer learns not only about the 12 labors of Hercules but also about what the average citizen might have purchased in the Agora (marketplace). From the mysterious Oracle at Delphi, to the birthplace of the Olympic Games, to the prostitution and slave markets of Corinth, this video provides a well-rounded introduction to the colorful complexity of Hellenic culture. --Larisa Lomacky Moore
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