New Series ‘The Greeks’ Explores What Made The Ancient Greeks Great
The Greeks, the highly anticipated new three-part miniseries tracing the innovations and legacy of an extraordinary people, airs on GPB, starting June 21, 2016, at 9:00 p.m. ET. In this landmark event from National Geographic Studios, historians and archaeologists, actors and athletes, scientists and artists launch a groundbreaking exploration of the ancient Greeks’ journey — not just to better understand their past, but to discover how their legacy illuminates our present, and will shape our future. From the origins of Western civilization to the first democracy to models of art, architecture and philosophy that are still mimicked today, the story of The Greeks is the story of us.
“This was a time and a place when there was a collision of ideas and inspiration and influence that resulted in a truly extraordinary culture,” says author and historian Bettany Hughes, a research fellow at King’s College London and one of more than a dozen scholars featured in the series. “They were working out the best way to be human, the best way to live in the world, and that’s an idea that is as strong now as it was when it was conceived 25 centuries ago.”
They were born of white rock and blue sea. They invented democracy, distilled logic and reason, wrote plays to plumb the deepest recesses of the soul and captured the perfection of the human form in athletics and art.
“Any civilization that expresses curiosity among its citizenry — that is a civilization that will lead the world,” says astrophysicist Neal deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium.
Quite simply, the Greeks created our world. Today, of course, Greece conjures very different images — civic unrest, financial meltdowns, long ATM lines. But as its ancient history attests, strife and discord are often incubators for greatness. Starting out as hunter-gatherers in harsh, unforgiving landscapes and rising to face off against the greatest empire the world had ever known, the Greeks would overcome incredible odds to pave the way for the modern West.
Shot in 4K across multiple continents, each episode of The Greeks presents a crucial chapter in their epic journey:
Cavemen to Kings - Uncover the stunning origin story of the Greeks — from primordial hunter-gatherers struggling to survive on the rocky Greek mainland to savvy seafarers pioneering new trade networks across the Mediterranean Sea. Premieres Tuesday, June 21, 2016, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET.
The Good Strife − In the wake of the Bronze Age collapse, Greek civilization entered a crippling dark age. But with centralized monarchies out of the way, a new type of society was given the chance to rise from the ashes — built not by kings from the top down, but by individuals from the bottom up. Premieres Tuesday, June 28, 2016, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET.
Chasing Greatness− Democracy. Drama. Philosophy. Follow in the footsteps of the Greeks who fought against the odds to deliver the Golden Age — from their extraordinary defeat of the Persian Empire to their construction of the Parthenon. See how they let it all slip through their fingers. Premieres Tuesday, July 5, 2016, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET.
These classroom resources from PBS LearningMedia will help students learn more about Greek culture and civilization:
Crash Course: The Persians and Greeks
In this Crash Course episode, students learn about two of the ancient world's great powers.
The Greeks Colonize the Mediterranean
Students can use these educational materials to learn about Greek colonization of the Mediterranean region.
From the streets of debt-stricken Athens to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, the epic story of ancient Greece’s rise and fall helps us understand the challenges we currently face and, perhaps, points the way toward a better future.