Engineering an Empire
Greece: Age of Alexander

TV documentary Engineering an Empire Greece
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DVD Documentary Review

The Macedonians may have been regarded by their Greek neighbors to the south as barbarians, but they were far from being a barbaric people. When you visit Greek Macedonia and their museums in Thessaloniki and Vergina, you will notice that Macedonians were very interested in the arts, religion, architecture, technological innovations and the philosophical thinking of the time. You can see this partially in my photos of Greek Macedonia in Northern Greece.

The episode on Macedonia in this Emmy Award-winning historical series called Engineering an Empire shows you how innovative, technologically advanced and cultural the Macedonians really were. Not only did this help to propel Macedonia to greatness but more importantly it helped spread Hellenism and Greek culture around the known world.

This series episode begins by looking at the early history of Macedonia shortly after 404BC and continuing with the rule of Philip II beginning in 359BC. How he reformed the army and military tactics for the Macedonian army. How he united the Greek city states. He did this through either diplomacy where possible or the use of force where necessary without destroying the conquered city states. This was probably unexpected by the Greek states given their views of the Macedonians.

Philip’s plan after conquering and unifying the Greek city states into one cohesive empire - the Macedonian Empire - was to conquer Persia as retribution for Persian attacks previously on Greece. Unfortunately, he was assassinated before he could undertake his military campaign on Persia.

After the death of Philip, the episode then focuses on Alexander the Great and his campaigns. How he also used new innovations and his military genius to conquer and incorporate cities like Tyre and empires like Persia into the Macedonian Empire.

After the death of Alexander, the episode focuses in-depth on Ptolemy I’s reign in Egypt focusing on how he ruled Egypt and the architecture and science during the Ptolemy’s.

An interesting feature of this episode is that it looks at the make-up of Greek or Hellenistic cities examining the various buildings and architecture. It’s a really interesting segment if you plan to visit these sites and compare what you saw or felt there.

In summary, Engineering an Empire is an excellent series and definitely worth watching (at least this episode). The graphics and video footage is amazing. The entire DVD series looks at a number of past empires and civilizations from the well-known such as Macedonia and Rome to that of Carthage and Persia. The series gives you not only an excellent historical perspective but amazing graphical re-creations of once flourishing cities (like Pergamon in the above discussed Macedonian episode) and important technological innovations of the time. Basically the how and why these civilizations achieved greatness.

To have the entire critically-acclaimed series of
Engineering an Empire on DVD at your fingertips is a great reference point if you are interested in history or you are planning on visiting any of these places or cities that have been discussed in this DVD series.



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