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on March 9, 2007
I've been reviewing areas of history that I don't usually cover to balance out my general knowledge. No video can compress into a couple of hours the libraries that have been written on these subjects, but I watched them with a pad nearby and started searching names and topics for further study. Then I added books on those areas to my wish list here on Amazon.

All in all, each disc is a great review if you're rusty or a place to start if you're moving into new areas of history.
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on November 2, 2007
For those of you who love Ancient History and would like to know more about it this is the collection you must have.
When i first watched those programs i was astonished. The detail explanations of events and people really can make a person wonder.

In general this collection will proof a worthy buy, i recommend this for teachers, students and anyone interested in world history, you really CAN learn much by watching this, and as for me it will be of great help for my academic purposes.

If you get it you will NOT regret it!!
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on March 15, 2011
The PBS Empires series of Documentaries is among my favorite of all time. Each of the 2-3 hours long titles brings individual episodes of human history to life in an as much as entertaining as educational fashion through original images of locations and objects, re-enactments as well as great original music. I have not seen a PBS Empires title that wasn't great and only regret that they made too few of them over the years. This DVD collections provides access to this great series at a bargain price. Almost 1,000 minutes of great content for less than $70. You almost cannot beat that.

Next to the titles in this collection; I can also recommend the following ones: Empires - Martin Luther,Empires - The Kingdom of David - The Saga of the Israelites,Empires - Napoleon,Empires: Queen Victoria's Empire,Empires - Holy Warriors: Richard the Lionheart & Saladin,Empires - Islam: Empire of Faith; and Empires - Peter & Paul and the Christian Revolution.
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on August 30, 2012
If you are an educated historical buff I think you will prefer a different collection. For instance, The Roman Empire's movie surrounds one 'king' and barely mentions other contributing leaders. Another description might state that this book is an enticement for an indepth study. The acting is minimal. A newbie could enjoy this series.
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on January 4, 2007
I was very impressed with this series. I learned very much, escpecailly about the Medici's. If you enjoy history/documentaries you'll love this collection. I was so impressed I've ordered other Empire series. Props to PBS on this one!
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on December 14, 2011
I bought the entire collection and have just started working with "The Roman Empire in the First Century" in my classroom. The information is good and my kids seem interested in the material, but the DVDs are hard to work with. There is no information or scene list provided with the DVDs. You have to work with the menu on the disc itself which gives you nothing but a series of cryptic titles. For example,I want to review the Christianity section just before Christmas, but I have to watch through the DVD to find the specific parts I need. The title of one section is "Blessed are the Meek" which helps, but that's all there is. Even the online lessons PBS offers have no time or scene-based correlation to the DVD. They offer specific portions of the episode to download, but don't tell you where they are if you already have the disc. These pieces would be much more useful in the classroom with just a little more help from PBS.
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on January 12, 2008
This PBS series was way ahead of it's time for documentaries and taking it to the next level. I'm a big history buff and have enjoyed countless documentaries on these subjects, but the lavish productions, thorough scripts and thoughtful viewpoints are brought together in this great set. If you or someone you know is a history buff, get this series!
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on September 2, 2008
I had hoped for better from this collection. The "documentaries" are little more than highly costumed re-enactments that shed little light on their purported subjects. These are typical drivel, in that they show the same re-enacted scene repeatedly with non-informative voice-over unrelated to the ridiculous scene. There is no analysis, no real information beyond the most basic, lots of fighting and blood, lots of slo-mo and overacting, lots of camera "techniques", lots of costumes, lots of tense scoring. There's also lots of ridiculous dramatic set-up. For example, the Medici story tries to build up tension regarding the radical design of the Florence cathedral dome. Will it be built? Will it work? Is the architect mad? Is Cosimo Medici going to survive politically? It's ludicrous--we all know that the dome was built and that Cosimo survived (hence the Medici dynasty). It would have been way more interesting and informative to look at the challenges of the dome's construction with some illustrative models or animations, to hear some real analysis of the political situation in Florence. The "talking head" segments offer slightly more insight, but there's really not much to this collection. If you like actual documentaries, this will not satisfy.
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on July 6, 2013
Even though the Roman DVD deals only with the first half of the Roman Empire (Republic Period), it is divided into chapters that are helpful. The Greeks has some fantastic reenactments explaining the Battles of Marathon & Salamis, the trial of Socrates, how the first democracy works and many tidbits of Greek culture and architecture. It explains the downfall of Athens. Egypt, as usual, has its chapters on important pharaohs. But the one my students really love is: The Medici, Godfathers of the Renaissance. It is divided up into 4 lengthy Chapters. First with Cosimo de' Medici and how he made the dynasty; second is about the Life of Lorenzo the Magnificent - having sections on Botticelli, the botched assassination plot by the Pazzi family, his wife and children, and how he spent the fortune, mentioning Savonarola & the Bonfire of the Vanities. The third chapter is devoted to Lorenzo's influence with many artists including Michelangelo & Leonardo da Vinci. It tells you how the 2 Medici sons became Popes and even about the Reform happening in Germany during Pope Leo X's rule. I haven't looked at the DVD on Japan - that is for spare time. It is well done, pretty accurate and it holds the students interest. Worthwhile to add to your collection.
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on February 17, 2016
Good series of PBS documentaries on different historical periods. Includes ancient Greeks, Ancient Egypt, 1st Century Rome, the development of Shogun Japan and Renaissance Italy. The styles of each are a bit different, my favorite being the one on Japan.
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