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Episodes: 8 + bonus  |  5h 52min

The First War for Western Civilization


A Time When History Became Legend

The First War for Western Civilization (8 Episodes; 352 Minutes)
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Hosted by Dr. Michael Scott (PBS, BBC, NOVA, Nat'l Geographic, History Channel and more)

"Go back 2,500 years to the wars between ancient Greece (West) and Persia (East). The Greco-Persian Wars 2,500 years ago were a clash between two peoples, two cultures, two systems of government and two continents. The first clash between East and West. A clash that has, sadly, continued all the way to today."
--Hosted by Cambridge University's Dr. Michael Scott

The perfect television documentary to complement the global movie "300". Also, see our one episode version called "300 Spartans - The Real Story" here on or on Vimeo at

The first democracy in the world spawned the Greco-Persian Wars 2500 years ago that shaped most of the world today, particularly our politics, but it also gave us some of the most iconic moments and curious mysteries in history...a time when history really did become legend: Leonidas and his 300 Spartans, The Battles of Thermopylae, Marathon, Salamis and Plataea, The Roots of Democracy and, now, the story of Athenian Generals Miltiades (Father) and Kimon (Son).

However, other than the 3 days of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, the rest of the 49 year war between Persia and Greece has been almost completely overlooked, and has never appeared in full as a documentary or drama. Presented by Dr Michael Scott of Cambridge University, with contributions from nine other experts and four researchers and using the latest research, satellite positioning, and imagery, the series gives complete coverage of the story. Included is a detailed analysis of two of the oldest mysteries in history itself, what really happened at the Battle of Marathon and what really happened to King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. Re-examining the 2500 year old text of Herodotus, the “Father of History”, has revealed some missing links.

Answering some unanswered questions:

What was the real cause of the war?
How did the Greeks win, was it just legend and propaganda?
What really happened at the Battle of Marathon?
What was the real mission of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans?
Were they always on a suicide mission?

The life of Kimon has remained in the shadow of other heroism during the period, but he came closest to uniting Greece, and humbled the mighty Persian Empire in the process.

Our modern connection to this period, the importance to us here and now. The three major players, Athens, Sparta and Persia. Greece & Persia, where each came from and what made them different to each other. A closer look at Athens and the beginnings of Democracy.

Episode 2. TREACHERY:
The Spartans and their unique position in Greece. How Greece & Persia came in to conflict. The disloyalty of Histiaeus. The Ionian Revolt, Kimon and Miltiades in Athens, meeting Isodice, Athenian betrayal, the first Persian Invasion. Events leading up to the Battle of Marathon including the mystery of Marathon.

Episode 3: MARATHON:
The Battle of Marathon, the Marathon Run, war heroes, the fall from grace of Kimon's family, prison, bankruptcy, incest, recovery and marriage. Why did the Athenians call for help, then attack the much larger Persian army at Marathon without waiting for that help? Athens builds the fleet.

Episode 4, RISE AND FALL:

The Great Persian Invasion of Greece by King Xerxes, the construction of the bridges over the sea at Hellespont and the canal at Athos,and the lead up to the Battle of Thermopylae, days 1 and 2. The betrayal of Leonidas.

The disaster of Thermopylae and sacrifice of the lives of Leonidas, his 300 Spartans and other Greeks, trying to delay the enormous Persian forces of King Xerxes. What really happened there? Were the 300 Spartans always on a suicide mission? The evacuation of Athens, Spartan timidity and indecision. Victory at the naval battle of SSalamis Themistocles brings on the naval battle. The lead up to the Battle of Plataea.

Stabilization and the lead up to the Battle of Plataea. The Battle of Plataea and the pledge made there. The new League of Greek Allies (Delian League), Kimon made commander in chief, Battle of Eurymedon (Kimon, the Conqueror of Persia), death of his wife Isodice, Ostracism (exile) of Kimon, his return to power, the death of Kimon and the Peace of Callias/Kimon.

Was it all worthwhile? Less than 50 years after the death of Kimon, why did the mighty hoplites of Kimon and Leonidas become the hirelings of Asia? The legacy of Greece. The legacy of Sparta.

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