What the Ancients Knew

Much of the science and technology we consider to be "modern" was created by civilisations long ago. What the Ancients Knew is a Science Channel documentary series hosted by Jack Turner, taking us on a journey to the technological past that shaped our world. The series visits key places from world history, focusing on the scientific, anthropological, economic, and mechanical issues of the ancient civilizations and how their works influence modern life. Civilizations covered in the series include the Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Chinese, India, and the Japanese.

Episode 1 - The Romans

Episode 1 - The Romans
More than 2,000 years ago, the Roman army swept across Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East. Backed by the legions, their military, and engineering skills, the Romans built one of the largest empires in history, dominating as many as 36 modern nations.

Episode 2 - The Greeks
The Western world is built on the wisdom and traditions of the ancient Greeks, who uncovered the fundamental principles that established the basics of modern technology.

Episode 3 - The Egyptians
More than 5,000 years ago, faith moved mountains - virtually. The program traces the scale and effects of ancient Egyptian faith by closely examining the rise and fall of pyramid construction.

Episode 4 - The Chinese
From AD 600 to 1500, China was the most technologically advanced society on Earth. Early discoveries put China in the vanguard of science and technology in the ancient world and light years ahead of Western cultures for a very long time.

Episode 5 - India
The Ancient Indians have not only given us yoga, meditation and complementary medicines, but they have furthered our knowledge of science, maths - and invented Chaturanga, which became the game of chess.

Episode 6 - The Japanese
Cultivating an ancient legacy, modern Japan continues to hold on to its past. What the Ancient Japanese knew helps explain the industrial marvel of one of the largest economic powers in the world.

Related Links
What the Ancients Did for Us
This is a BBC documentary series presented by Adam Hart-Davis that examines the impact of ancient civilizations on modern society.
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.