This series identifies four cornerstones of civilization – war, religion, cities, and trade – and explores each in the context of a different location. Criss-crossing the globe, camera crews travel to Mexico, Guatemala, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Oman, Morocco, France, Germany, Japan, the U.K,. and the U.S. They record the latest archeological discoveries, test new theories, and uncover original information.
Dramatic reconstructions and computer graphics are used to visualize the lost world of the first civilizations. In each episode, the ancient story is also complemented by a modern-day analog, with an expert interviewee connecting the dots between the past and the present. The idea is to show how our ancestors were motivated by the same impulses that persist today: the inevitability of war, a need for religion, the lure of the city, and a love for trade.
Their story is our story.
Episode 1 | War
Examine the process of “destructive creation” — the idea that fear, rivalry, and conflict strengthen community bonds while stimulating an arms race of technological progress. The result is civilization. Ancient Mesoamerica exemplifies this development.
Episode 2 | Religion
The secret to the stability and cohesion of Ancient Egypt was religion. When people share a core set of beliefs, they are more likely to identify as one. Just as this held true for the first civilizations, it remains just as true today.
Episode 3 | Cities
View the birthplace of civilization: the Middle East - the site of the world’s first villages, towns, and cities, from the hills of Turkey to the plains of Iraq. They were crucibles of invention and innovation — turbo-charging the pace of progress.
Episode 4 | Trade
Examine an ancient civilization unlike any other - the Indus Valley. Rather than imposing order through war or religion, it relied on the free flow of trade. The exchange of goods promoted wealth, co-operation, and trust amongst all people.