So we are heading up to North Africa and a tour of Africa under Ancient Roman Rule. As I continue to go through this series, I am discovering that I am doing this out of order. However, you my readers have been forgiving of that in previous blogs. This episode is 45:18 and is called North Africa.
Zeinab Badawi heads up to North Africa in this episode. She is learning about the Berbers otherwise known as the Amazigh people. She visits Carthage and looks into the history of Carthage and its place in African History. Then she talks about the Berber and the Great Berber Kings and how they kept control during Roman Rule. The tour continues to other ancient sites that were built by the Romans.
Zeinab kicks off her visit to North Africa with a market in Marrakesh in Morocco. This market was an important trading place in history. It was where the trade routes throughout Africa met. The culture in Marrakesh is mixed, reflecting time and history. She nervously takes in a snake charmer. After this detour, she heads out of the city. Here she encountered the Atlas Mountains and talked about how this area of Africa has been inhabited for years. The terrain is tough going and I would love to see a blooper reel from this section.
Northern Africa was not always a desert. The climate would have been vastly different. She talks with an archeologist and the discoveries that were made. This archeologist talks about the discoveries that were made showing ancient history. The first peoples that settled in this region were the Ibero-Maurusians and they would be eclipsed by the Capsians people. These people settled on hilltops in the Tunisian region where they farmed and raised cattle. Eventually, the Berbers otherwise known as the Amazigh people. The Berbers prefer to be called the Amazigh.
Zeinab tours a Berber settlement. The Berbers could be a mix of the Maurusians and the Capsians, however, no one really knows. They slowly became established in North Africa. She encounters a man selling iguanas for food. She continues to look in the market area and spots the blue mouth veil that is used to keep cool in the desert. The salesman wraps it around her head. Her journey continues through the Atlas Mountains. Zeinab visits another settlement where she meets up with local residents. She is treated to tea.
After touring the village, Zeinab goes back to Marrakesh to learn more about Berber Culture. She meets up with a fortune teller. After meeting up with a fortune teller, she meets up with a local tour guide. Here she meets up with a local water seller. They are distinguished by their red clothes. Eventually, the Berbers would be cut off from the rest of Africa due to desertification.
Zeinab then discusses the Phoenicians, and they would establish the Punic Civilizations. The Phoenicians would have come from Lebanon and were looking for mineral goods. She visits a site of the Phoenicians people, it was a harbor site. Archeologists uncovered family homes that were spacious. The Phoenicians would spread through North Africa and would establish the city of Hippo. The Phoenicians would mix with the Berbers and give rise to the Punic Civilization.
Carthage would eventually rise and it would be a trading center. The Carthaginians would take land from the Berbers and their civilization would spread. They controlled the North African Coast. Dido was the legendary founder of Carthage. She was an extortionary woman who founded an empire. One historian talks about how she was the only woman who established an empire before Rome was established. Today, the ports of Carthage are now sleepy fishing villages. Zeinab then moves on to the Punic War. To learn more about the Roman impact on Carthage and the Punic civilization tune into the rest of this episode to find out more.
The History of Africa with Zeinab Badawi continues to be a delightful watch. The section on Queen Dido would be good for an English class section on mythology because of the discussion on Virgil. This was better than Gus' episode on the Berbers. The downside of this series is that it was not divided up into chapters. This episode has some good clips for an English class. Still, I would put this series on my list of documentaries to show to a classroom.
Good morning, and now the travels through Africa with Zeinab Badawi take us to Eritrea and Ethiopia to trace the rise of a kingdom. This episode is called The Rise of Aksum and has a run time of 44:48.
The Kingdom of Aksum was considered one of the four greatest civilizations of the ancient world. Zeniab Badawi describes how the kingdom grew rich and powerful as a result of control of the Red Sea trade. The Red Sea was the center of trade for the Middle East, Africa, and India. According to local tradition, it was founded by the son of the Queen of Sheba. It was the home to the Ark of the Covenant. It gave a grateful world coffee. Examining this civilization provides an insight into modern Ethiopia and Eritrea.
This area where Aksum is called home has some very dramatic landscapes. It also has a long coastline on the Red Sea. This coastline was the hub of trade. It was one of the most beautiful and untouched stretches of sea in the world. To discover more about the history of Aksum one has to go back in the past to learn more about the people who established this kingdom.
Askum’s origins lay in the Kingdom of Punt. The ancient Egyptians traded with this kingdom and it was a source of gold for the ancient Egyptians. Even today, the modern Eritreans continue that trading tradition. It was here that the world came together and interacted with each other and the local populations. The people of Saba came over and brought farming over.
The Adulis port was established and this was a trading port on the Red Sea at the time of its founding. Badawi explores the ruins of the Adulis. The city is now inland and completely deserted. It was the greatest city of its time. The houses would have been considered quite grand and the residents lived a high standard of living. Now there have been archeological expeditions on the site and these expeditions are revealing the history of the area. It is here that Badawi catches up with a director of the museum that contains artifacts from these expeditions.
Badawi continues to travel to Eritrea to learn more about Aksum. She goes to a site that very rarely sees visitors. She discovers rock art, hinting at earlier civilizations. She arrives at Qohaito, a site that has been inhabited for 7,000 years. It is believed that there was an independent settlement in this area and that it thrived for years, although little is known about the people. She shows a temple at the site and it was the most important find at the site. More archeology needs to get done at the site to learn more about Qohaito and its people. From what was discovered, it seems like Qohaito would have been a site on a trade route into Africa.
Eritrea has recently gained its independence and doing more excavations to learn about its history. There have been sites discovered belonging to Aksum. However, there have been sites discovered that predate the Aksum civilization. Badawi continues her travels and goes to Yeha. This site also had an established kingdom. There was a palace structure discovered and all that remains are stone pillars. Near the palace would have been a temple.
Eventually, the Aksum kingdom would grow in power and confidence. The first kings ruled over Asksum. The story of Sheba and Solomon is discussed in this section. Zeniab talks about the history that was written that documented the son of Sheba and Solomon who ruled over the Asksum. Zeniab catches up with the granddaughter of the former king of Ethiopia. The granddaughter talks about what the Queen of Sheba means to the Ethiopian royal family. What else does Zeniab discover about Aksum? How does the story of the Queen of Sheba shape Aksum’s history? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more.
I enjoy Zeniab Badawi’s narration in this series. She does a really good job presenting the information and seems to enjoy learning about the different discoveries that were made. She really does expand the depth of knowledge of African history. I would put this episode on a list of episodes to show to a history class.
Good morning, another day another documentary, laugh out loud. This time I am doing more of the History of Africa series with Zeinab Badawi. This time she is looking at the Kingdom of Kush and the runtime for this episode is 44:48.
Kush is a forgotten kingdom. Kush is often overshadowed by Ancient Egypt and other kingdoms. However, it was the kingdom that conquered its neighbor to the north and took over. Kush ruled Egypt for one hundred years. Their influence could be felt in the Middle East. Today Kush is in modern-day Sudan. Khartoum, the capital, is where the Blue and White Nile meet. The waters merge to create the Nile River and it is from here the waters flow north and into the Mediterranean Sea. It was rather cool to hear Zeinab describe the Nile as a witness to history.
Zeinab gets roped into a game of soccer before looking into the history of the Kush. Karima is where the story of the Kingdom of Kush begins. Karima was known as Kerma. It was here that the people farmed and fished for generations. They were also mobile people who needed to find fertile lands for their cattle. Other groups settled down along the Nile and farmed.
The climate underwent a change, and people started going toward the Nile River. Kerma became the center of what would become known as the Kingdom of Kersh. They would be ruled over by chiefs and the population would become more urbanized. Zeinab explores the ruins of the early Kushite kingdoms. She talks with a historian about the history of Kerman and Kush. The Kings of Kerma ruled over the area for 10,000 years and built monuments. It was where bricks were first developed. Kerma has two edifices made of bricks and they were believed to have been a temple and chapel. The people would have buried their dead in mound graves. The dead would have been buried in a dome-shaped tomb outlined with black stones. The body was buried on the south side and the dead were buried with pottery.
Kush and Egypt were rivals. Both are linked in history and Egypt often overshadows Kush. Kerma predates Babylon. There were periods of hostility and periods of peace. Both kingdoms influenced each other. When times were bad, they raided each other. When times were good, they had good trade relations. Goods were moved overland and on the Nile River. However, trade could be hampered when the Nile became impassable. Zeinab tours a cataract. Boats would crash into cataracts when the Nile was low. There were six cataracts along the Nile that needed to be navigated.
The Kushites had a powerful arm and the Egyptians called them the Land of the Bow. They were expert archers. Egyptians feared the Kushites. They controlled the trade to the detriment of Egypt. Kush was a crossroads for trade. Even today, the trade routes are a bit of a challenge. Trade was a source of wealth and the Egyptians wanted to control the trade routes to regain their standing in the world. Pharaohs such as Hatshepsut and Thutmose III would fight to regain control of the trade. When they did, Egypt would be launched into a golden age.
The Kushites would establish a new capital at Napata. This capital was further south and was a meeting place for trade. Napata also had a growing population and was near a sacred mountain. Amun was believed to have resided at this mountain and this god was sacred to both Kushites and Egyptians. Egypt was undergoing some difficulties so this new capital could develop in peace. What would these changes bring to the Kingdom of Kush? Would Egypt regain its place in history? Tune into the rest of the episode to find out more about Kush.
Watching this second episode, I would appreciate it if the producers would have divided these episodes into chapters. If it was divided into chapters it would make it easier for teachers to pull clips for lectures. Another downside to this series is that the episode could have gone a little bit longer. That said, this was another good episode about the history of Africa, with a focus on ancient history. I would consider adding this episode to my list to show to a history class.
Good morning, it has been fun exploring other channels for documentaries to review. Also doing some preplanning for August’s suggestion blogs so I am pressing forward with exploring other channels for reviews. I am going to pull a documentary from the BBC Africa channel about the history of Africa and I am going to look at a new presenter: Zeniab Badawi. This episode is called the Southern Kingdom and the run time is 44:49.
Zeniab Badawi travels the width and breadth of Africa to learn more about the kingdoms of Africa. Africa is home to a variety of civilizations that have rivaled other civilizations. In this series, Zeniab interviews a variety of historians, archeologists, and citizens to learn more about these civilizations. Africa’s history is long, often complex, and not really well known. Zeniab brings light into this hidden part of history.
The episode kicks off with Zeniab at Victoria Falls, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. Zeniab is looking at the kingdoms of Southern Africa and the commonalities the ancient people have with modern people. She explores the history of Great Zimbabwe. In the Ninth Century, communities lived off of agriculture. People began to keep cattle as well as grow crops. Cattle were an extension of wealth and social control. The more cattle you had, the more control you had. Cattle was the reason warriors went to war. Cattle were rarely killed, because to kill your cattle you would kill your wealth.
A cattle-keeping kingdom would call the Zimbabwe area and beyond home. They would also farm too on terraces. Additional to cattle and farming, Africans mined precious resources. Early Africans were very much aware of the value of the minerals. They would mine those minerals as well.
The first kingdom Zeniab explores is Mapungubwe and it was a kingdom that lasted 1075-1220 and it was in the north of modern-day South Africa. They would establish stone settlements and live in clay-built houses. The elite grew rich from ivory and copper. The chief has religious and political authority. There was a sacred hill where ordinary people would not be allowed. There was an extensive trade network. Items from Mapungubwe were found in Saudi Arabia and Europe. There were many beautiful objects found including golden objects, beads, and clay pots. This early kingdom predates Great Zimbabwe and would eventually be absorbed by Great Zimbabwe.
Great Zimbabwe was one of the greatest finds in African history. This kingdom was built on the foundations left by Mapungubwe. Its capital may have housed 18,000 people. The settlement was built without mortars. The ruins of Great Zimbabwe were the largest settlement in the southern part of Africa. One of the sources of wealth was trade and it was in the center of a trade network. In this section, Zeniab works to debunk the theories that lead to the creation of Great Zimbabwe. The kings of Great Zimbabwe enforced their power and lived high up above their subjects. There were eight kings.
However, life would change and Great Zimbabwe like other civilizations would go into decline for a variety of reasons. The people would eventually leave the Great Zimbabwe settlement and settle in other areas. Other kingdoms would eventually rise up. Zeniab explores the Mutapa Kingdom and it was a kingdom that ran from 1450 to 1629. They reigned over in a place that is modern-day Mozambique. They were rich in agriculture and were at the center of a trade network. Why was there so much emphasis on salt? Where else does Zeniab’s travels take her? What other kingdoms were there in Southern Africa? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more.
I might as well kick off this review with the thought that this episode was going to be too short. I was right, this could have potentially been broken up into two episodes because there could have been more of a discussion on Great Zimbabwe. I enjoyed Zeinab’s commentary because she was engaging with the content. She should do a documentary on Great Zimbabwe. So far this would be a good documentary to show in the classroom setting because it was a very informative documentary and the historians were very good with their contributions.
Good morning, we are officially done with January 2024 blogs! Times fly when you are having fun watching and reviewing documentaries. February, I am going to go through a series The History of Africa with Zeinab Badawi found on the BBC Africa YouTube Channel. I am going to give you guys a slight hint: it has been one fantastic series to go through. I will admit that I was going back and forth between writing January and February blogs. Normally I would be working on Time Team blogs because I can always find a Time Team to write on when I get stuck.
Anyway, now that is off my mind, I am going to finish up the two-part series of the Magna Carta. How far do the ideas of the Magna Carta spread? Where do the ideas of the Magna Carta show up? How does Manga Carta continue to impact the modern age? This episode has a run time of 50:07.
The documentary kicks off with the impact of technology and how people are communicating widely with each other. Not only common people are communicating with each other but governments are using technology to spy on people. This seems to be paralleling William the Conqueror and the Domesday Book that was mentioned in the first episode. Then the documentary reviews how the Magna Carta came about as well as the legend of Robin Hood. It then goes through the ideals of the Magna Carta. Magna Carta was revolutionary at the time. Although it was organized by the barons to benefit them, ordinary men started demanding their freedoms too. It was a documentary that echoed through the generations.
Then there is a good discussion on how the Manga Carta impacted ordinary English life. Its ideals were challenged by James I, who believed in divine right. This would cause an intrepid group of people to leave England and form new colonies in America. The Colonists would have had Magna Carta in their minds. The colonists had to figure out to put together a civilization because the King was miles away. However, the King still would try to impose taxes on the colonies. The colonists would rebel against this thought. The Americans would declare independence and would create a constitution. A Bill of Rights was created and this Bill of Rights was a direct reflection of the Magna Carta.
There is a discussion on America and the freedom that the people had in America. Adam Smith was also discussed in this section as how freedom of trade builds prosperity. It was rather interesting to hear how the Magna Carta impacted The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Adam Smith would predict that greater freedom would create wealth. Eventually, the Industrial Revolution started. There were new ways of working and new products made. There were also new ideas that started spreading around the world. Well, I suppose that the Magna Carta would have an impact on the Industrial Revolution too. People were mobile and did not have to get sucked into one place in their life. People moved to the city. Even a traveling salesman could become a wealthy man. Who would have thought that Magna Carta would have had a big impact on explosive economic growth? How do the ideas of the Magna Carta continue to impact people? What is the challenge of the Magna Carta? Is the Magna Carta in danger? To learn more about the impact of the Magna Carta on the modern world, watch the rest of this episode to find out.
The narration at the beginning does seem slightly condescending regarding the Old Dead Language the Magna Carta is written in. The writer could have phrased that better. The first part of the documentary was really well-paced and provided a good summary of the Magna Carta. Then there was a shift to the American Colonies. It was also very nice to see that this episode was divided into chapters which can help make things easier to divide it for easy viewing. Anyway, the second episode would be better for research proposes with clips being used for lectures. The flow at the start may be a challenge to follow, so, therefore, this would be an episode to use in a lecture.
Top of the morning to you blog readers. This time we are going to go back in time and learn about the Magna Carta in this short two-part documentary which is narrated by Hugh Bonneville. It is called The Secrets of the Magna Carta. The run time for this documentary is 50:21.
The Magna Carta was a legendary document that changed the course of history. It is known as the Great Charter and was an agreement between two warring parties. It was a document that highlighted what freedoms the ordinary man had. It legitimized property rights. This document dates back to the time of Robin Hood and is a highly valued document. It is sometimes called the most important document in world history. This series covers the history of the Magna Carta.
The episode starts with a trip to the auction house in New York City. A piece of paper is one auction. The document sells for nineteen million dollars. The story of the Magna Carta has its roots in the Robin Hood legend. Robin Hood would symbolize the freedom fighters who waged war against the government officials bent on imposing their will on the ordinary people.
However, to further understand how Manga Carta came about one has to go back in time to the Time of William the Conqueror. He had defeated and subjugated the native Anglo-Saxons. He would impose a French-style rule where the King had absolute power. He ruthlessly taxed the people. It was interesting to hear the Domesday Book is described as a mechanism for spying on the people only to tax them. I also found it interesting to hear William the Conqueror being described as a dictator, which past documentaries never really touched. I really did not know what to expect and at the end of this section, I was pleasantly surprised.
The people lived under ruthless Kings who thought of England as their hunting grounds and not a country to be ruled. England was described at the time “as a cow, meant to be milked.” By the time King John came to the throne, the people were fed up with their rulers. This was symbolized in the legends of Robin Hood who would rob the government officials and give back to the people. There was a particularly nasty government official, of whom the Sheriff of Nottingham was based, called Philip Mark. He was an unpleasant individual.
Eventually, King John is defeated and loses his domain in France. He is forced to live in England. It would be the first time an English King would have to live in England. That was surprising to hear and I wonder how much of it was true. King John was known as a murderer and starved a woman to death. King John wanted to get his French domains back and would raise money off the backs of the people. Everything the people did or did not do was taxed. Justice was sold to the highest bidder.
The barons and the people hated him with a passion. King John continued to amass money and he was going to get his French possessions back. However, his expedition back into France was for naught. He had a devasting defeat and was sent back to England with his tail between his legs. The Barons rebelled against a defeated King. King John eventually is forced to agree to the barons’ terms. The Magna Carta is born.
Then there is an examination of an original copy of the document. It was fascinating to hear the process by which the document was formed. King John would not have signed the document himself, he would have affixed his seal. It was interesting to discover that he could not write. For the most part English Kings at the time would not have written out their names, they would have just affixed their great seal on the document. How did this document impact the King? How did this document impact the people? To learn more about the Magna Carta continue to watch this episode.
I was nervous about doing this documentary about the Magna Carta. I really did not know what to expect while watching this documentary. It was a fascinating watch, especially with all the old film clips that were used. I missed the historians saying that King John was so bad even the Pope excommunicated him. Overall it was a very interesting documentary on the Magna Carta and I would use it for research purposes.
Good morning, time is flying by and it is now time for another documentary suggestion. Now I am going further into time and looking at the Earthquake that struck Lisbon in 1755. The run time for this documentary is 49:15. The documentary is called 1755: The Lisbon Earthquake.
In 1755 an earthquake struck Lisbon and it would become known as the Great Lisbon Earthquake. It was the first natural disaster to strike the heart of a large European city. The earthquake began on November 1, 1755, at 9:40 AM. It was an estimated 8.5 on the Richter scale and caused widespread destruction throughout Lisbon. It also triggered a tsunami. About 60,000-100,000 people died as a result of the earthquake and tsunami which would impact Portugal as a whole. How does this earthquake continue to resonate with people today?
Lisbon was a great port on the Atlantic Ocean however very few of the buildings are over 200 years old. The earthquake was centered in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 miles away from Lisbon, Portugal. Although Lisbon bore the brunt of the earthquake, its impacts were felt as far as Finland. Water levels would change in the Azores as well. Today a team of marine scientists is searching for evidence of the 1755 Earthquake. They go to a place where three continental plates come together where they are looking, it is a highly active place in the Atlantic. This area makes Europe vulnerable. There have been documented tsunamis in the Mediterranean Sea.
November 1 began like an ordinary day. The King attended mass and had a picnic for the elite of Portugal. People attend mass. Merchants did their trading. The people were celebrating All Saints Day, so things were taking longer. A brand-new opera house opens and it is the latest in technology. Lisbon was considered one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe and if you haven’t seen Lisbon, you have not seen anything.
Back in the present day, scientists are carefully scanning the ocean floor. They send sounding devices down to the ocean floor. These devices monitor movement and sound on the ocean floor or in the water. Thirteen devices will be sent down in an area known for its earthquakes. The sea floor is also drilled for core samples and these samples show the history of the ocean. These samples provide a record of undersea earthquakes and those earthquakes cause landslides. The landslides will create layers showing different periods of earthquakes.
The citizens of 1755 Lisbon would have been setting up the All Saints Day Market. However, the animals are panicking in the marketplace. Then all of a sudden, the houses started to shake. The people do nothing, losing valuable time. All of a sudden, every church bell rings on its own. Walls and ceilings start to collapse. Everyone heads outside and out of danger. 17,000 houses are destroyed. Most earthquake victims are found in churches. Earthquake tremors are felt as far as Africa. You really felt the build-up to the earthquake in the film.
Then there is a discussion on what causes earthquakes. One scientist talks about how a huge release of energy was behind the 1755 Earthquake. It was surprising to hear that only four earthquakes actually damage buildings over the hundreds of earthquakes around the world. Then there is a demonstration of the shaking table, it is a table that can replicate the conditions for an earthquake. So what would have happened to the people in 1755? Why was the 1755 Earthquake so destructive? How would Lisbon rebuild? Tune into the rest of the episode to find out.
You never really think of tsunamis on the Atlantic Ocean, you would think that it was more of a Pacific Ocean phenomenon. It was also rather interesting that scientists take cores from the sea floor, and that they provide a record of Earth’s history like ice cores do. The dramatizations were very well done. I would show it to a science class because the investigation is being done to try to understand the 1755 Earthquake. This was a very well-done documentary, going back and forth between the recreations and the modern science. It could have been a little big longer, but I am not going to quibble over that.
Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, depending on when you are checking out this blog. GetFactual is taking its sweet time in uploading more of the Silk Road documentary series. I am checking out a different YouTube Channel called Tracks to review a David Adams documentary. Tracks YouTube channel seems to be a historic travel channel. It is from his series Journeys to the Ends of the Earth and this episode is called The People of the Flame. The run time for this episode is 50:23.
David Adams explores Iran. It is considered Earth’s final frontier. Iran does not receive many visitors from Western travelers and has been at the center of world affairs. Adams takes a peek behind the veil and discovers a complex culture. He discovers incredibly hospitalized people in Iran. He starts in Tehran and goes through the Valley of the Assassins, learning about Marco Polo’s trip. Then he journeys into the land of the Fire Worshipers of Yazd.
Tehran is David Adams’ first stop and discovers extreme jaywalking. Everyone seems to ignore both the police and traffic signals. Will he manage to get across the street without serious injury? The best way to cross the streets in Tehran is to show extreme bravery and confidence when it comes to extreme jaywalking. David continues to take in the sights of Tehran and stops in front of the former American embassy. He talks about the Islamic Revolution.
After this stop at the former American Embassy, he explores the Zoroastrian faith. The fire was the center of this religion. Adams is learning about Zoroastrians and that eternal fire. His next stop after Tehran is Elburz. He wants to catch a bus deeper into the mountains. In the meantime, he is talking with his translator and English teacher in Tehran. He used to be a bodyguard for the past president of Iran. They got to a bus station and meet a blind bus station manager. The man knows his way around the bus station terminal. Adams and the Translator are going to have a long wait for the bus. Cue the funny montage of Adams waiting for the bus with the translator.
Finally, a truck driver shows up and gives Adams and his translator a ride. He takes in the sites along the road on the back of a truck. They are heading into the mountains. The mountains were a sanctuary for people who wanted to hide and wanted to remain independent. It is here that David will engage in mountain climbing. Gear checked, and they start heading towards the mountain. Even with modern equipment, the mountains are a challenge to climb.
They make their way up a peak and settle in for the night in a cave. They make a fire and sing into the night. Singing, legend has it, keeps the ghosts away. The next day, David Adams travels on his own to continue to learn more about the Zoroastrian faith. He goes to a place called Solomon’s Throne. It was here that legend Solomon struck a stone and carved a lake in the mountains. It is here that he sees the ruins of a Zoroastrian temple.
As he continues to travel around Iran, he stumbles onto a village carved from rock. Adams is surprised at what he sees before him. He stops and takes some photographs of what he sees. The village is pretty quiet and legend has it that the river that watered the Garden of Eden flowed from this village. Where else does David Adams’ travels take time in Iran? What else does he learn about Zoroastrians? Does he find the place of the eternal fire? Tune into the rest of this episode to learn more about Iran.
David Adams’ travels continue to interest the viewer. He tells an excellent story and shares his experiences along the way. I enjoy hearing his narration and his attempt at singing. He really engages with what he sees. He must have been cold on that motorcycle as he continued his travels. He also comes off as sincere in his learning. This would be something I would show to a geography class and not a history class. It is more of a travel show instead of a history show.
Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, depending on when you are reading this. Today I am moving forward in time and looking at a documentary on the Mongols. I am checking out a Free Documentary Channel. This is from the series The Rise of Great Powers and is the third episode in the series. This episode is called Empire of the Mongols and has a run time of 48:12.
Mongols had built a large empire that claimed half the world in under a century. This empire spanned from the Korean Peninsula to Europe. It began with 100,000 men. The Mongol invasion of Europe began with the fall of Kyiv and struck panic into the people. How could such a small group of men bring Europe to its knees? What technology was available at the time to enable such an expansion? Who was the leader of the Mongols? This documentary looks at the rise of the Mongol Empire.
Is it 1240 and a horde of cavalry is launching an attack on Kyiv? Despite the citizens’ best efforts, Kyiv fell to these hordes. They had never seen such a cavalry nor such weapons. This horde continues to move forward, making its way into Central Europe. Central Europe is on notice and in panic. They had never seen this horde before. This calvary splits up into two groups, one group heading north and the other heading south.
It was in the Middle Ages, and Europe was poor. Nobody invaded them before, however after Kyiv fell, things started to change with the refugees. Panic began to spread as horror stories spread about these invaders. Krakow, Poland still commemorates the Mongol attack. A trumpeter blows a warning over the city, but he never gets to the end of the tune symbolizing that the original trumpeter was killed. It took less than a month for Krakow to fall. After Krakow, the Mongols headed toward Germany. Henry II Duke of Silesia lead his troops against the Mongols; however, these troops would be annihilated. The Hungarians would try different tactics; however, they too would be defeated. It shocked the people and showed that knights could not defend the kingdom. The Mongols would burn and loot their way through Hungary. Would anyone be able to stop the Mongol invasion?
What made the Mongols such fierce warriors? How could they be stopped? What were the secrets of the Mongols? The Mongols would destroy the city, rape the women and kill all the men. There were also exaggerated stories that fueled the nightmares. Some people believed that they were sent by God as a punishment. The Mongols themselves continued to fuel those rumors wanting to break the spirit of the people. Vienna and Paris were going to be in the crosshairs.
However, the Mongols never invaded. The Great Khan died and so the Mongols had to return to Mongolia. The warriors had to go back and vote for the newest leader. The European rulers were relieved that the Mongol invasion had stopped. However, they had to take stock of how the Mongols were able to invade without being challenged. The Hapsburg Army managed to capture a Mongol officer. To the army’s great surprise, the captured man was an English man. He apparently had gone to Mongolia after fleeing England.
The Mongols brought on soldiers from the lands they conquered and they used siege weapons from China. They were quick to adopt Chinese military technology. Baghdad would fall in ten days employing a variety of tactics and technology. They would adopt Arabian technology too in their fighting. Was adapting new technology the Mongols’ secret? What other tactics did the Mongols adapt in their fighting? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more about the rise of the Mongols!
This was a very well-produced and well-done documentary. The graphics were pretty interesting and it was interesting to see the weapons that were used by the Mongols. It reminded me of the Secrets of the Dead: Amazon Warrior Woman episode and the discussion on the bow that the Mongols used. It was rather interesting to learn that there was an Englishman discovered in the Mongol Army. The information was rather good, interesting, and surprising to this would be something I would show to a history class.
Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening depending on when you are reading this. Today, I am heading to China and watching a documentary on the Hanging Coffins of Sichuan Province. The run time for this documentary is 52:31 and is called The Mysterious Hanging Coffins of China.
Sichuan Province in China has thousands of ancient wooden coffins hanging off cliff faces in the mountains. Some experts believe that the coffins were placed thousands of years ago to protect them from animals. Others believe that it was to put the dead within reach of the gods. Who placed the dead on the mountains? Why did they place them? When did this tradition start? What happened to the people? This documentary looks to follow the scientists who want to understand and preserve the coffins.
On the other side of a ravine is where this mystery starts. They were placed on the cliff face by the Bo people. How did the Bo people get these coffins on the cliff wall? Wong How Man is one man looking at the mystery of the hanging coffins. The Bo people left no written records. They were massacred. Did anyone survive the massacre? Are there survivors of the Bo that live today?
An expedition is planned to look at a spectacular coffin site. Due to the location and lack of funding, very few researchers have undertaken such an expedition. However, things have changed and now there is a group of researchers who are looking to be the first people to research coffins. However, the route to the coffins is challenging, especially for climbers with modern-day equipment. One loose rock could mean the climber’s death. How did the Bo people manage to climb the coffins carrying a 500-pound coffin?
The expedition abandons this site and goes deeper into the mountains to find an alternative site. While the scientists look for alternative sites, there is a group of experts recreating a Bo coffin. They would have been made from one piece of wood which would have made them very heavy to carry. How could they have heaved that weight up a cliff? Legends say that Bo waited until the rivers were high enough and they could float them up the cliff. Other legends say that they could fly. However, the most likely tools they used included a chisel and rope.
It can be assumed that the Bo carefully handled and took care of their dead. It is in this section that there is a recreation of a potential funerary procession. The participants are clothed in Bo clothing that was found in easily reached coffins. They would have cared for the dead as if they had just moved on to the next world. It seemed that there were grave goods discovered that would have helped the dead live their daily lives in the next world.
One researcher hints that the different regions had different methods of getting the coffins up the cliffs. One method included pegs that could be used as stairs. These pegs were stabbed into the mountain side and the coffin was brought up. The other method includes a rope and pulley system that would have allowed Bo to hoist the coffin up the mountain. There was one village that tested out one theory and it took twelve men three days to do the recreation. This may explain how some of the coffins were placed on the cliffs, but for the others, there may be a different method used.
In the meantime, the expedition has reached a place where there are easily reachable coffins. There had been rumors of hanging coffins in this one valley and now the expedition is going to explore this valley. This expedition group will be the first to go into the caves where the coffins are located. If these coffins are untouched, they will reveal new insights into the Bo people. What will this expedition find in this valley? Will this valley reveal the secrets of the Bo people? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out!
This is a really well-done documentary and the information was really interesting. I can see the potential to have a part two about these hanging coffins. This would be something I would show to a science and history classroom.
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