1274 B.C. Kadesh— Greatest Chariot Battle
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Ramesses II: Heartbeat of History
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What do we mean by "living history"? Take an imaginative leap into the ancient world and discover the moment-by-moment heartbeat of history. Your first stop is the Battle of Kadesh, the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II's all-but-disastrous campaign against the Hittites. See how the king spins a tactical retreat into a…
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Among the more unusual archaeological finds, investigate the accidental discovery of China's terra-cotta army, with its spectacular clay warriors, horses, and chariots. Ponder the "accidental preservation" of a 7th-century ship at Sutton Hoo in England, and conclude with cases of remarkable preservation of human remains in bogs, ice, and desert…
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The wars of the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. were crucial in forging the later history of China. Study the military technology of the ancient Chinese and the conflicts through which the first Qin and Han emperors welded together a group of antagonistic kingdoms, creating a united China.
What Makes a Battle Decisive?
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Contemplate the ways in which warfare can change the course of historical events. Examine the factors that make a military battle "decisive," such as its role in transfers of power and its social and political effects, and consider the study of battles as an analytical tool for understanding history.
Frigidus, Badr, Diu—Obscure Turning Points
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636 Yarmouk & al-Qadisiyyah—Islam Triumphs
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In these dramatic conflicts, the Islamic Rashidun armies toppled two long-established empires. Learn about their defeat of the Byzantine army at Yarmouk and the Sassanid forces at al-Qadisiyyah, which determined the cultural, linguistic, and religious nature of the Middle East for the next 1,500 years.
Discover the military conflicts that have had the greatest impact in shifting the direction of historical events and shaping our world in The Decisive Battles of World History. Covering nearly 4,000 years, this course explores more than three dozen history-making military engagements, from the landmark battles of the Western world…
751 Talas & 1192 Tarain—Islam into Asia
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This episode explores military engagements between widely differing cultures. Learn about the 751 battle between the Chinese Tang forces and the Abbasid Caliphate, which altered the religious orientation of central Asia. Then follow the 1192 clash between the Indian Rajputs and a Turkish Islamic army, and its permanent effects on…
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Two highly significant 16th-century battles were fought at the Indian town of Panipat. Learn about the rise of the Mughal emperors and the military clashes that first opened the door to their advance into India and then solidified their control, establishing a dynasty that would last for centuries.
1571 Lepanto—Last Gasp of the Galleys
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The conquests of the Ottoman Turks led to the largest naval battle of the Renaissance. Trace the formation of the Holy League, an alliance of Christian powers against the raiding Ottomans; follow the events leading to Lepanto; and study the dramatic naval engagement that ended Turkish incursions into the maritime…
1836 San Jacinto—Mexico’s Big Loss
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First, encounter the larger-than-life commanders of this extraordinary action, Sam Houston and Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Track the tensions between the Mexican government and the province of Texas, resulting in the 18-minute battle that gained Texas independence and led to the United States acquiring nearly one-third of its continental…
1862 Antietam—The Civil War’s Bloodiest Day
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At the time of this landmark battle in the American Civil War, the Confederacy seemed poised to achieve its goal of independence. Envision the protracted, bloody struggle between North and South, and consider the ways in which a marginal Union victory nevertheless altered the course of the war.