Most helpful positive review
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
Historian Michael Wood leads viewers on a dramatically filmed excursion through different civilizations. Live footage of locations and peoples enlighten the beginnings of 6 civilizations (by the narrator's definition "life in cities"). The writer pushes a main theme of tolerance, a need for the worlds cultures to coexist, and suggests through the study of past civilizations, perhaps peaceful existence can happen. Not a lecture format, but engaging at a university level.
A dynamic depiction, based on a well documented presentation, at a level not for children but the intellectual. Woods uses a well educated vocabulary to explain the earliest 6 civilizations of the world, and how they continue to play a vital role in the people, politics, society, economy, and religions of every continent. "LEGACY" offers an intellectual approach to understanding diverse groups of peoples through an in-depth look at historical facts. Educational rather than entertaining. Scholarly, not documentary. yet the film footage is as delightful as a travelogue. It points to civilizations with similar developments though independently achieved.
Bible verse suggests it the cradle of the human race with accounts of Nineveh, Babylon & perhaps even Edin or the Garden of Eden. Home of Abraham, father of 3 religions. Uruk: 1st city began as a religious center. This civilization first invented the school, world map, astronomy, wheel, literature (ark story), writing, plow, and time set in divisions of 60.
Sanskrit: oldest living language is from here, with it's now 850 million population amid a caste system and a violent heritage. A civilization with a tradition of rejecting materialism, often invaded, and the episode finishes with the British colonial plundering of this civilization.
The last of great civilizations to develop, 1000 years after IRAQ, was "sustained by virtue, ritual, & reverence for ancestors." A sign called "wen" (writing) on 'dragon bones' was the beginning of that word. Confucius & traditions surrounding him return today, lie TAo (path) & India's Buddha. China crated the 1st great cuisine, plus inventing gunpowder, stern rudders, magnetic compass, paper maps, and printing.
A civilization that drew its existence from the greatest river (Nile) of the world (600 mile x 6 mile wide). An optimistic group crating the world's first state. Funeral monuments: Pyramids-a Greek given name, rulers elevated to God-like status, a practice yet seen all over the earth. Ideas of eternal life and resurrection began here but without damnation. Egypt gave us paper (papyrus), sailboats, and irrigation.
5 CENTRAL AMERICA
Maya & Aztec peoples invented writing independently. Pyramids were built which rival Egypt. A civilization based on time & nature being sovereign even to bloody sacrificial human death. Zero "0" was conceptualized here.
The 1st peoples to spread their civilization across the whole planet. Although great value came from their civilization it also was at great violent costs. Greeks drew from other civilizations and created democracy-put politics into the hands of citizens--"politismo" or civilization as they saw it. Eventually a possessive, property-based individualism, late marriage, small family, and free-market culture dominated, yet today.
DVD set includes subtitles, very helpful not only for the hearing impaired but for the names and many words spoken. Also, a bonus of "When Giants Walked the Earth" gives profiles of Axial Age thinkers (Zoroaster, Isaiah, Buddha, Mahavira, Confucius, Laozi, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Homer, & Thucydides). An included booklet is helpful with a synopsis of each episode, maps, questions to ponder, and other informational bits.
Along these same educational lines, if you like "Legacy", you will probably enjoy seeing "Edge of Existence" and "The Shape of the World", both sets put out by the same Athena DVD supplier.