260–110 B.C. China—Struggles for Unification
Episode 7 of

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1526 & 1556 Panipat—Babur & Akbar in India
Episode 17 of
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.
World Heritage: Acropolis & Great Wall
Part of the Series: World Heritage Series
The Acropolis, Athens (Greece) - The Parthenon Temple that looks down over the city of Athens from the Acropolis is considered to be the greatest masterpiece of ancient Greek culture, and it became one of the starting points of Western culture. The hills on which temples and palaces were built…
Claudius
Part of the Series:
A sign of the Augustan system's genius was its ability to survive eccentric or even mad emperors. History is fascinated by those emperors' excesses, which indeed can be highly instructive. Claudius, for all his oddness, was a shrewd and able ruler.
Barbarian Gate: Adrianople—378, Pliska—811
Episode 5 of
Although waged 400 years apart, the battles of Adrianople and Pliska share a number of curious similarities. Explore how both defeats were triggered by the Romans' mistreatment of immigrant "barbarian" groups from the north--who might otherwise have been converted into allies--and overconfidence on the part of the Roman emperors.
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…
What Makes a Battle Decisive?
Episode 1 of
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.
1274 B.C. Kadesh— Greatest Chariot Battle
Episode 2 of
The battle of Kadesh ushered in an unprecedented era of peace in the ancient Near East. Follow the strategy and tactics of the Egyptian and Hittite armies, featuring each side's distinctive war chariots. Trace the unusual sequence of battlefield events that led to a remarkable treaty, an important forerunner of…
636 Yarmouk & al-Qadisiyyah—Islam Triumphs
Episode 8 of
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.
751 Talas & 1192 Tarain—Islam into Asia
Episode 9 of
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…
1260 Ain Jalut—Can the Mongols Be Stopped?
Episode 12 of
Now, envision a militaristic society that threatened nearly all the civilizations of Asia and Europe. Study the rise of the Mongols, their terrifying conquests, and their astounding military expertise. Witness their clash in 1260 with the Egyptian Mamluks, a rare Mongol defeat that effectively halted their Western expansion.
Frigidus, Badr, Diu—Obscure Turning Points
Episode 14 of
This episode discusses battles that have had extremely important effects, though information about the specific events involved is scanty. Consider the battles of the Frigidus River and Badr, both vital turning points for world religions, and that of Diu, which marked the moment when Europe began its rise to world…
1571 Lepanto—Last Gasp of the Galleys
Episode 18 of
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…