Engineering An Empire

Monday 9:00 PM on The History Channel
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 1 : Ep 14

    Da Vinci's World

    Aired 1/8/07

  • S 1 : Ep 13

    The Byzantines

    Aired 12/25/06

  • S 1 : Ep 12

    Napoleon: Steel Monster

    Aired 12/18/06

  • S 1 : Ep 11


    Aired 12/11/06

  • S 1 : Ep 10

    The Persians

    Aired 12/4/06

  • Cast & Crew
  • Peter Weller


  • Michael Carroll


  • Christopher Cassel

  • Bill Hunt

  • Kristine Sabat

  • show Description
  • In an era long passed, mighty empires were forged from nothing and rose to the heights of power. Join host Peter Weller, an actor and a professor at Syracuse University as he travels the world to show the engineering feats that gave rise to some of the greatest civilizations known to man. From Rome to the Pharaohs' Egypt, from Greece to Carthage, from the Aztecs to the Maya and more, this new program from the History Channel uses computer graphics to explore the architectural, political and cultural glory of the world's greatest empires.moreless

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (16)

    • Narrator: Ambition, conquest, lust, murder, and the power of unrivaled technology. These are the cornerstone in the foundation of the Roman Empire. Rome’s colossal building projects: stadiums, palaces, roads, aqueducts span three continents and unleash the power and promise of the world’s most advanced civilization. But while the Romans dominated the landscape with massive feats of construction they were ultimately powerless to prevent their own self destruction.

    • Narrator: The ancient Romans were often violent, vindictive, greedy and egocentric. But the imposing structures they left behind stand as evidence not only of the power of one civilization but of the unlimited potential of humankind.

    • Narrator: 5,000 years ago, in an age when Greece and Rome were but a distant dream, one civilization conceived impossible and built the unimaginable. Enriched by their conquests and empowered by their gods, the indomitable Pharaohs of Egypt built the ancient world’s first stone monolith, it’s tallest building, oldest dam, most impenetrable fortress, greatest city and ultimate monument to one rulers ego. Egypt’s engineers boldly redefined the limits of architectural possibility, but their road to eternal glory was riddled with blood, betrayal and outright disaster.

    • Narrator: But the imposing structures the Egyptians left behind are the results of much more than granite, limestone and laborers. They epitomize unparalled genius, unrivaled technology and the beginning of mankinds eternal struggle to engineer a bridge between the human and the divine.

    • Narrator: Ancient Greece, the birthplace of Western Civilization. For over 1,000 years this strong and charismatic people devised the most advanced technological feats the world had ever seen. Feats of engineering so amazing the ancients believed they had been built by the gods. These technological wonders were fueled by leaders whose thirst for greatness united a people and launched them to the heights of empire. But this brilliant burst of culture and creativity would fall victim to savage battles that pitted brother against brother. A duel to the death that would lead to the end of a golden age.

    • Narrator: They were the outcasts of the Greek world until one man would rise and take his people to the heights of empire. Alexander the Great employed the latest technology to conquer civilizations, transforming the land from Egypt to India into a new Greek world. But there are no kingdoms without a king, and with Alexander’s swift and stunning demise, his empire would crumble almost a quickly as it was built.

    • Narrator: It is a story wrapped in myth and legend. How did a tribe of wandering nomads engineer the Americas greatest empire in just 200 years? Their civilization rivaled Rome in its sophistication. Aqueducts, palaces, pyramids and temples stood as a tribute to their gods and a testament to the power of humankind. The Aztecs crowning achievement was a gleaming capital city that astonished European explorers called the Venice of the New World. Their thirst for power and blood set them on a course for destruction. When it finally came their annihilation would be swifter and more complete than the world had ever known.

    • Narrator: Carthage, a land of opportunity founded more than 2,000 years ago. Driven by wealth, power and ambition these pioneers built an empire that dominated the Mediterranean world for over 600 years. By developing some of the ancient worlds’ groundbreaking technology, both at home and the far reaches of the known world. The centerpiece: a massive harbor that held hundreds of warships, the vanguard of antiquity’s most formidable navy. But storm clouds were gathering on the horizon. Carthage finally had an enemy that could match it blow for blow, a superpower like the world have never seen, Rome. In this to the death struggle only one could emerge victorious, the other would be reduced to rubble.

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    Notes (14)

    • Commentators: Mary Boatwright Duke University Peter Weller Syracuse University Eric Nelson Pacific Lutheran University Michael Peachin New York University Scott Steedman Consultant Engineer Scott Schlimgen American Institute for Roman Culture Carlos Norena Yale University Darius Arya American Institute for Roman Culture Kim Hartswick The George Washington University Cristiano Ranieri Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma

    • Commentators: Zahi Hawass Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt Stephen P. Harvey University of Chicago Lawrence Berman Museum of Fire Arts, Boston Charles Van Siclen The American Research Center in Egypt Salima Ikram American University in Cairo Ann Marcy Roth New York University Michael Jones The American Research Center in Egypt Mahmoud Khodier Egyptologist John Darnell Yale University Colleen Manassa Yale University

    • Commentators: Barry Strauss Cornell University George Zarkadakis Focus Magazine Clairy Polyvou Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Theodossios P. Tassios Technical University of Athens Christopher Ratte New York University Richard Billows Columbia University Lothar Haselberger University of Pennsylvania

    • Commentators: Richard Billows Columbia University Barry Strauss Cornell University George Zarkadakis Focus Magazine Christopher Ratte New York University Clairy Polyvou Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

    • Commentators: Frances Berdan California State University, San Bernardino Susan Toby Evans Pennsylvania State University Mario Schjetman Landscape Architect Janine Gasco California State University, Dominguez Hills Manuel Aguilar-Moreno Author, Handbook to Life in the Aztec World

    • Commentators: Patrick Hunt, PhD Stanford University Jean MacIntosh Turfa, PhD University of Pennsylvania Museum Ross Leekie Author, Hannibal Stefan G. Chrissanthos, PhD University of California, Riverside

    • Commentators: Simon Martin University of Pennsylvania Stephen Houston Brown University Rodrigo Liendo University of Yucatan William Fash Harvard University Christopher Powell Maya Exploration Center Rafael Cobos National University of Mexico

    • Commentators: William Brumfield Tulane University Cynthia Hyla Whittaker Baruch College William Sunderland University of Cincinnati Seymour Becker Rutgers University Mikhail Krom European University of St. Petersburg

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    Trivia (49)

    • No medals were awarded in the ancient Olympics. A winner received an olive wreath on his head.

    • In the Greek City State of Sparta, boys began their military training at age 7.

    • The Ancient Greeks believed Homer, the 8th Century B.C. poet who wrote The Iliad and The Odyssey, was actually blind.

    • The word "encyclopedia" comes from two Greek words meaning “a circle of learning.”

    • The catapult was a key weapon for Alexander's forces. The word 'catapult' itself means "skin penetrator."

    • Marriage was a key component in Philip’s diplomatic strategy. Of his seven wives, only one was a Macedonian.

    • Alexander ordered that his soldiers be clean shaven so that enemies couldn’t grab their beards in close combat.

    • In 326 BC, Alexander founded the city of Bucephala in honor of his slain horse.

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  • Fan Reviews (2)
  • Engineering An Empire is like a video text book of the ancient empires. The show explains how great empires formed and changed the world. This show is worth watching even if you aren’t a history fanatic, and it is especially great to watch if you are.

    By dreamlandgirl, Dec 27, 2006

  • Learn the construction secrets of cultures of the past.

    By Lokar, Nov 10, 2006