Sunday, May 06, 2007

Engineering an Empire: Greece

Over 2,500 years ago, ancient Greek civilisation flourished on the shores of the Ionian and Aegean Seas. Although the combined population of ancient Greece never exceeded more than two million people, the civilisation had an immeasurable impact upon the philosophy, science, politics, architecture and art of the world we inhabit today.
In this marvellously Mediterranean instalment of ‘Engineering an Empire’, we explain that the architecture of ancient Greece provides the basis for virtually all the architectural developments of Europe. The Greeks invented the entablature, an innovation which first allowed roofs to be built in an inverted ‘V’ shape. They also perfected the design of arcades with support columns.
We also examine the great thinkers of ancient Greece. The famous triumvirate of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle laid the philosophical foundations of western civilisation between them. The roots of western democracy also lie in ancient Greece; we look at the life of Pericles, outlining the Athenian democracy which the ‘first citizen of Athens’ presided over.
The statesman was responsible for masterminding the most costly and ambitious construction campaign which had ever been undertaken in the western world, as he created a model city of temples, houses, market places, civic buildings and a highly innovative sanitation system.
We also look at the art of warfare, journeying through Greece’s majestic ruins to explain how a strong and charismatic people strategically harnessed the materials and people around them to achieve astoundingly advanced technological feats. Using cinematic recreations and cutting-edge CGI, our journey takes us to Pergamon, a city that stands as testament to the farsightedness of Greek city planning and engineering. We visit to theatres with acoustics that were so advanced in their time, they confound modern sound engineers.


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