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Culture Shock! Travels of Ibn Fadlan
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Culture Shock! Travels of Ibn Fadlan
Episode 21 of Living History

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24 episodes in this series

Episode 1 Ramesses II: Heartbeat of History
What do we mean by "living history"? Take an imaginative leap into the ancient world and discover the moment-by-moment heartbeat of history. Your first stop is the Battle of Kadesh,…
Episode 2 Marathon: The Persians Have Landed!
Professor Garland takes you into the Battle of Marathon to show how the outnumbered Athenians scramble for help before heading to the coast for an impressive fight against the invading…
Episode 3 Oresteia: Judgment at the Dionysia
Take a break from battle and head to the Theater of Dionysis on a warm March day to view one of the most astounding theatrical performances in history. Not only…
Episode 4 Attack on Attica: Pericles’s Gamble
Delve into the time of Pericles and the Peloponnesian War, where political action has required rural citizens to head into the city. There, the cramped urban conditions and pestilence breeds…
Episode 5 Socrates on Trial: For the Defense
You might think you know Socrates, but in this lecture you'll encounter a whole new context for understanding one of the Greeks' most famous citizens. In the wake of the…
Episode 6 Conspiracy! Murder of Philip II
Murder has always intrigued us, especially when the fate of a state hangs in the balance. Explore the mystery of Philip II of Macedonia, who is murdered amid a wedding…
Episode 7 Alexander the Great: Punjab Revolt
Alexander is one of history's most interesting characters--a brilliant, flawed, complex leader. A restless megalomaniac tutored by Aristotle, he drives his army across the ancient world to conquer one land…
Episode 8 Pyrrhus: Deadly Dreams of Empire
The Greeks had a tremendous run on the world stage, but their dominion arguably comes to an end the moment Pyrrhus sets sail for Italy. Although he is "victorious" in…
Episode 9 India’s Ashoka the Great Repents
Meet Ashoka the Great, whose story was all but forgotten until his carved edicts were unearthed in the 19th century. As leader of India, he leads a bloody charge into…
Episode 10 Hannibal: Rome Holds Its Breath
Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general, is one of the most remarkable military leaders of all time. During the Punic Wars he led his army to an astounding tactical victory against…
Episode 11 The Final Days of Julius Caesar
Continue your study of some of history's most enigmatic characters with a look at Julius Caesar, whose infamous murder on the Ides of March ranks as one of the most…
Episode 12 Antony and Cleopatra’s Death Pact
In the wake of Caesar's assassination, power hangs in the balance as Mark Antony squares off against Octavian for sole control of Rome's empire. When the tide of the Battle…
Episode 13 Jesus under Surveillance and Arrest
Travel to the Roman province of Judea, where a humble carpenter has entered Jerusalem during the Passover. The city is seething with political and religious discontent, and Jesus is seen…
Episode 14 Jerusalem Tinderbox: Temple in Flames
Continue your exploration of Jerusalem, this time around 66 C.E., when the city's political turmoil reaches it peak. An insurgency rises up over taxes, and the ensuing Roman siege sparks…
Episode 15 Roman Colosseum: Blood in the Arena
Visit the newly finished Roman amphitheater circa 80 C.E., where the emperor Titus will celebrate the consolidation of his family's dynasty by hosting 100 days of gladiatorial games. Bloodthirsty and…
Episode 16 Visigoth King Alaric Descends on Rome
On occasion, individual personalities shape large contours of history. Such is the case with King Alaric, the charismatic leader of the Visigoths, who conquers many Roman outposts before laying siege…
Episode 17 Nika Riots at the Racetrack: Theodora
Head east to Constantinople, seat of the Byzantine Empire and the eastern counterpart to Rome. During a day of chariot races at the hippodrome, riots break out and threaten the…
Episode 18 The Concubine Empress: Wu Zetian
Wu Zetian's story is one of the most remarkable in all of history. She entered adulthood as a classically educated concubine during China's Tang Dynasty, and then worked her way…
Episode 19 Muhammad’s Awakening and Escape
Witness the founding of Islam by entering the world of Mecca in 622, where a prosperous businessman named Muhammad has a revelation that changes the course of history. Learn about…
Episode 20 Charles Martel Defeats the Muslims
Take the battlefield in one of the most decisive battles ever fought between Muslims and Europeans. In the century after Muhammad, Islam's spread seemed unstoppable until the disastrous Battle of…
Episode 21 Culture Shock! Travels of Ibn Fadlan
Follow the Abbasid Caliphate's administrator, Ibn Fadlan, as he travels from cosmopolitan Baghdad to the rustic wilds of central Asia. He brings money and instructions to King Almis of the…
Episode 22 Vladimir Smashes the Idols of the Rus
Observe the marriage of Vladimir, the Grand Duke of Kiev, to Princess Anna, the sister to Byzantine Emperor Basil II, a deal brokered so Vladimir will send mercenary troops to…
Episode 23 Charlemagne Saves Leo III, Rogue Pope
Pope Leo III is something of a rascal, possibly a philanderer, and involved in shady business deals. See how his relationship with Charlemagne, king of the Franks, keeps him out…
Episode 24 Urban II Unleashes the First Crusade
Again and again, we see how history turns on a dime. Your journey ends in Avignon in 1095, when Pope Urban II gives a speech that shapes the next thousand…

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