BBC Ancient Worlds







Updated January 14, 2019

BBC Ancient Worlds Documentary

BBC Ancient Worlds documentary

The Birth of Venus (Aphrodite)

by Sandro Botticelli  c. 1485

 The  BBC documentary program Ancient Worlds was first broadcast around the world in 2010. This unique and significant film recognizes the role of the Phoenicians, who interacted with many of the great societies of antiquity. Now you can see the program in its entirety on any device connected to the Internet (via

This six-part series covers the time from the first cities rising in the Middle East to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. The Phoenicians are revealed in sequences filmed in Lebanon and other parts of the Mediterranean where they traveled and established their many colonies. 

The first version of Ancient Worlds was made with Richard Miles as the only presenter. However the program was then enhanced with experts from around the world adding richness and depth to the material. This worldwide version gained additional depth on the Phoenicians by interviewing Sanford Holst, who is a member of the well-respected Royal Historical Society and author of Phoenician Secrets: Exploring the Ancient Mediterranean.

To see the program, go to on the Internet. They normally require a subscription, but if you only want to watch this particular program you can sign up for the trial subscription (good for one month), watch the program, and then cancel the trial subscription at no cost. When you have access to their programs, go to the "Search" box in the upper right corner of the page and type "Ancient Worlds." When the new page opens, click on the "Ancient Worlds" picture. A video will begin, but you can skip that and go to the images below it. Click on "Part 2: The Age of Iron" -- the Phoenicians are covered there in many interesting video segments. 

The Phoenicians clearly existed prior to 1200 BC, since they were seen actively trading and contesting with the Egyptians, Mycenaeans and Hittites of that day. When the Sea Peoples destroyed or mortally weakened those other societies, only the Phoenicians had bargained well enough to remain standing. This enabled them to plant their colonies across the length and breadth of the Mediterranean, and even on the Atlantic side of Spain and Morocco. 

When the classical Greeks arose after the eighth century BC, Greek cities actively competed with the Phoenicians for trade and colonies, taking a large share. When Rome created its Republic in the sixth century BC, it began to trade with -- then compete with -- the Greeks and Phoenicians. Carthage, the largest of the Phoenician colonies, stood as a major rival to the desires of the Greeks and Romans. In the Punic Wars -- which is Latin for Phoenician Wars -- Rome ended the long tenure of the Phoenicians. When Rome also completed the Macedonian Wars in Greece, it emerged as the dominant society in the Mediterranean.

BBC Two, which had primary responsibility for assembling this remarkable documentary, took pride in touching on things that were slightly controversial and attempted to deal with events in history as they actually happened. As they explain it, "The series offers an epic sweep of history against a panorama of stunning locations and bold propositions about the origins of human society."

Ancient Worlds BBC

Ancient Worlds BBC

The information on the Phoenicians presented by this BBC program is explored in greater depth in the book Phoenician Secrets. In it, the mysterious Phoenicians and the ancient Mediterranean are experienced in richer detail than was possible before.

David Northrup, Ph.D. says:

"Popular accounts of the Phoenicians are rarely coherent and comprehensive. Sanford Holstís survey of the rise and fall of the Phoenicians is a splendid exception. The authorís clear prose should make the story attractive even to beginning students of the ancient world. The bookís many illustrations and maps add to its appeal."

This program whets your appetite to read all the amazing experiences of the Phoenicians presented in the book.

Phoenician Secrets .

is now at Amazon-USA

and at Amazon-UK  .

BBC Ancient Worlds

History Programme

Contents of This Site

Phoenicians Home Page


Origin of the Phoenicians

Ancient Ships and Sea Trade

Carthage, Hannibal

Punic Wars, Peace

Ancient Mediterranean

Egypt, Pyramids & Cedar

Sea Peoples

The Minoans

Solomon's Temple

Templars in Lebanon



Phoenicians Images

Cedars of Lebanon

Byblos, Sidon and Tyre




Adonis Legend

Aphrodite Legend

Isis and Osiris Legend

Europa Legend

Elissa Legend

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