‘The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization’, produced by PBS pays a tribute to the glory of ancient Greece, telling the story of Greek democracy from its first stirrings in 500 B.C. through to the cataclysmic wars that virtually destroyed the empire.
Much of the story relates how the Greeks essentially invented politics and democracy, and interviews with prominent scholars of classical history provide insight into the major characters, including Thales, Pericles, and Socrates. It looks at how though the Greeks were defeated, their philosophy endured and changed the world forever.
The stories of epic battles on land and sea and a thoughtful treatment of the Greek ideals of heroism are presented well. But the documentary particularly succeeds in the latter stages, when the story turns to the downfall of Socrates and a thoughtful explanation of how Greek philosophy transformed civilization.
The photography at ancient sites is often spectacular, actors have been judiciously used to film the critical events and intelligent narration delivered by actor Liam Neeson is truly engaging.