Thursday, March 29, 2007

Engineering an Empire

Posted on Thu, Mar 29, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Engineering an Empire
Studio: A&E Home Video
Release Date: 2007-03-27
WorkNameSort: Engineering an Empire
OK, I'll grant you that nine and a half hours of exploring the engineering marvels of Persia, Greece, Rome, Great Britain and other global dominators might not sound appealing to anyone but the nerdiest of shut-ins. But these 12 documentaries, hosted by Peter Weller, are surprisingly captivating, if for nothing else than to marvel at the sheer hubris that drove so many ancient innovations. From King Darius to Queen Victoria, empire-builders have always been of the mindset that theirs is the civilization that deserves to rule the world, imposing its will on others through brute force and technological brilliance. And while the consequences of the violence and ham-handed superiority of those imperial ventures are still resonating today, the lasting effects of the physics geniuses who helped engineer the victories are equally notable. Railways, aqueducts, sewer systems and fantastical battle implements were just a few of the tools used to convince conquered nations of the way forward, and this excellent series, geeky though it is, provides an interesting look back as well as its a bit of prophetic warning.


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