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What the Ancients Did for Us

What the Ancients Did for Us is a BBC documentary series presented by Adam Hart-Davis that examines the impact of ancient civilizations on modern society. Who invented beer, bread and the wheel? How did the Egyptians align the pyramids so accurately? Did you know the ancient Greeks measured the circumference of the earth, invented robots and the first computer? The series travels back in time to discover how the world was shaped by the Islamic world, the Chinese, the Aztecs, Maya & Incas, the Romans, the Indians, the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Britons. Consisting of nine episodes examining the military, technological, social, architectural and medical advances of each era and its peoples, What the Ancients Did for Us traces some of the defining moments in history and the key inventions that shaped our world today.

Episode 1 - The Islamic World
This episode explores the Muslim contribution to the western world - in art, architecture, astronomy, medicine, science, and learning.

Episode 2 - The Chinese
This episode features the ideas and inventions that emerged from Ancient China, such as paper, gunpowder, kite, noodles and silk.

Episode 3 - The Aztecs, Maya & Incas
This episode explores the ideas and inventions that emerged from the Aztec, Mayan and Incan peoples of Pre-columbian America.

Episode 4 - The Romans
This episode examines the ideas and inventions that emerged from Ancient Rome - mass production of glass, bath houses, aqueducts, flushing toilets, and concrete.

Episode 5 - The Indians
This episode features the ideas and inventions that emerged from Ancient India - water clocks, Indian numerals, yoga, plastic surgery, and chess.

Episode 6 - The Mesopotamians
This episode examines ideas and inventions of the Mesopotamians - mud bricks, first cities, farming, irrigation devices, and the Zodiac.

Episode 7 - The Egyptians
This episode explores developments of the Ancient Egyptians - mummification, dam building, boat building, hieroglyphs, and craftsmanship.

Episode 8 - The Greeks
This episode looks at the ideas and inventions that emerged from Ancient Greece - geometry, advanced astronomical theories, Antikythera mechanism, mirrors to burn enemy ships, and democracy.

Episode 9 - The Britons
This episode show the evolution of the people of Britain from Stone Age hunters to Iron Age warriors.


Related Links
Ancient Inventions
This is a BBC documentary series presented by Terry Jones, looking at great inventions of the ancient world and their influences in our modern world.
Ancient Discoveries (Season 3)
This is a History Channel documentary series featuring technologies and inventions from the ancient Greece, Egypt, China and the East.
What the Ancients Knew
This is a Science Channel documentary series hosted by Jack Turner, taking us on a journey to the technological past that shaped our world.