Ancient Worlds is a six-part odyssey from the first cities of Mesopotamia to the Christianisation of the Roman Empire with archaeologist and historian Richard Miles at the helm. The series tells the story of what Richard argues is mankind's greatest achievement – civilisation.
The series offers an epic sweep of history against a panorama of stunning locations and bold propositions about the origins of human society.
In the 21st century we might fondly imagine that it is humankind's natural state to live together in communities that extend beyond blood ties. As Ancient Worlds sets out to show, however, no such assumptions were made by the first clan chiefs who decided to form communities in southern Iraq in 4500 BC. There is nothing natural about the city, and its founders understood that its very survival relied on compromise, ruthlessness, sacrifice and toil.
In the West we have consigned the term 'civilisation' to the museum display case. Embarrassed by its chauvinistic and elitist connotations, we have increasingly taken refuge in more politically correct and soft-focused terms such as 'culture' to explain our origins. This series seeks to rescue civilisation from its enforced retirement and celebrate such a hard-fought invention.