world history

Andrew Marr's History of the World

We had a bonus single-programme TV night on Sunday afternoon coz we were worried about the PVR filling up. So we watched the next episode of Andrew Marr's History of the World. In this one he was talking about the Age of Industry - and how the Industrial Revolution was the biggest shift in society since the Agricultural Revolution. The parallels struck me more when watching this than they have before - in both cases the change allowed society as a whole to support more people and can be thought of as "progress". And you definitely can't turn the clock back afterwards.

Andrew Marr's History of the World; Wartime Farm

The fourth episode of Andrew Marr's History of the World was mostly about the European Renaissance - but not about what happened during it. Instead it was about what happened in the rest of the world that made it possible for Europe to go from being a cultural backwater to a vibrant civilisation with pretensions towards becoming one of the dominant cultures of the world. We did open with the Vikings, tho, who were a little shoehorned into the theme (but you can't really miss them out).

Andrew Marr's History of the World; In Search of Medieval Britain

Started off the evening with the third episode of Andrew Marr's History of the World - this one was about the Word and the Sword, basically the rise and spread of Buddhism, Christianity & Islam with a few side stories. He started off with the story of Ashoka who killed and conquered his way to ruling an empire that covers most of modern India. But then after witnessing the appalling slaughter he himself had caused he converted to Buddhism and spent the rest of his (long) reign promoting peace and tolerance throughout his land and actively spread Buddhism as a religion.

Vikings; Andrew Marr's History of the World

We watched the third & last episode of Vikings last night. This one was split into two - firstly Oliver covered the Vikings' exploration to the West and then in the second half he looked at how the Vikings stopped being Vikings. So the programme started off by looking at Viking ocean-going ships, and a bit of sailing & rowing in a replica, and talked about how you had to be a bit flexible in your destination given their navigational technology. And sometimes when you were heading for Shetland you might end up in Orkney, but that's OK.

Vikings; Andrew Marr's History of the World

Started off TV night with the second episode of Vikings - it's only a 3 episode series, which seems a shame. This middle one talked about the Vikings as traders which is something more Anglo-centric views of the Vikings tend to forget. He started by telling us about the eastern Vikings (from what's now Sweden) and how they spread through Russia setting up small settlements on the way. They traded as far afield as Constantinople and with parts of the Islamic world.

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