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Legacy: The Origins of Civilization

Series Description

Exploring the foundations of the modern world.

What can the past teach us about the present? In this profound and provocative documentary, historian Michael Wood travels the globe to trace the origins of six great civilizations. These ancient cultures offer surprising perspectives on today’s most urgent questions: What purpose does society serve? How can it survive—and thrive—within the limits of nature?

Journey to Iraq, where humans built the first cities and faced the first environmental crises; to India, where a culture of spirituality flourished; to China, where ritual and respect for ancestors reflected ideas of cosmic harmony; to Egypt, where monuments to the dead promised stability and eternal life; to Central America, where the fatalistic Aztecs and Maya carved out bloody empires; and to Western Europe, where the individual became the center of society. In every locale, Legacy takes a fresh, strikingly relevant look at the roots of civilization.


About the Host

Oxford-educated historian Michael Wood has written 11 books and made dozens of acclaimed documentaries, including Conquistadors and The Story of India. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the U.K.’s leading organization for scholarly study of the past.