- 8 Seasons
Empires from PBS is an award-winning historical documentary TV series that premiered in 2000. The show is hosted by Liam Neeson, an Irish actor with a distinctive voice that is perfect for narrating documentaries. The show features renowned experts like Nigel Spivey and Victor Davis Hanson who provide in-depth analysis of the rise and fall of different empires throughout history.
The concept of Empires is to educate viewers on the historical contexts of empires such as the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Persians. The main objective of this program is to offer viewers an extensive yet understandable overview of the great empires in human history. It effectively chronicles what took place during the empire's peak, what ultimately led to their decline, and their lasting effects on the world we live in today.
The first episode titled "Egypt's Golden Empire" explores the story of the ancient Egyptian empire, which existed for three thousand years. Liam Neeson epitomizes the storytelling as he narrates the major events that took place during the reign of famous Pharaohs like Tutankhamun and Rameses the Great. The episode spans the period from the pyramids' construction in 2650 BCE to Cleopatra's suicide in 30 BCE. Nigel Spivey, a classicist, and archaeologist at the University of Cambridge, provides insight on the customs and beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, making the program not only fascinating but also informative.
Another episode, "The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization," examined the impact of the Greeks on Western Civilization. This episode is relevant as it unveils the birthplace of democracy and Olympian gods. Similarly, Victor Davis Hanson, a military historian and classicist narrates the life of Greece's very own military superhero, Alexander the Great. He also details the democracy and feats of political leaders such as Pericles, Socrates, and Aristotle, all of whom were influential in shaping the country's destiny.
The Rome episode "Empire without Limit," investigates the Roman Empire, which lasted for over 1,500 years. This episode looks into the rise of the Roman army, Roman culture, and Roman gladiators, which still captivates our current age. The show also looks into the major events that occurred during the reigns of legendary figures such as Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar, and Trajan. The episode covers the construction of colossal structures like Colosseum, the building of Aqueducts, and the impact of Christianity on the Roman Empire.
Empires not only elucidates the successes and failures of the great empires in human history, but it also delves into the historical, societal, and cultural influences that allowed them to thrive. The show examines how empire-building happened, the impact of military conquests on society, and how treaties and agreements ultimately led to empire expansion.
Empires has sumptuous visuals that are reminiscent of feature films, seemingly telling an epic story from start to finish. The show's aesthetics and camera work are immersive, accurately eliciting a feeling of leaving the present-day and journeying back through time. Every episode appears to be well-crafted with musical scores that reflect the symbolized era's mood and aura. Viewers will also be treated to an enviable array of re-enactments, animations, images, and interviews with historical experts.
The show's presenters, Liam Neeson, Nigel Spivey, and Victor Davis Hanson, all lend their expertise to the program to provide intellectual weight to the series. Neeson's narration offers an enjoyable and captivating voice, weaving the program's timeline together, and linking together historical events into a compelling narrative. Spivey incorporates knowledge of drama, literature, and culture to create an overall narrative that brings ancient empires to life. Hanson's academic background adds a solid presence to the show, giving insights into the military and political context of the empires.
In conclusion, Empires from PBS is an educational and informative program that covers the extensive historical reality of empires. The show's attention to detail and high production quality, together with the insights of experts such as Liam Neeson, Nigel Spivey, and Victor Davis Hanson, transforms the story of different empires across time into a cohesive and unforgettable visual and audio encounter. The show aims to leave their audience well-informed and more knowledgeable about human history.
Empires is a series that is currently running and has 8 seasons (24 episodes). The series first aired on July 18, 2001.