19 July 2021, 12:00 am
Genius of the Ancient World (2015)
Programme Type
Films and Exhibitions, Webcasts

A three-part BBC series. Historian Bettany Hughes travels to India, Greece and China on the trail of three giants of ancient philosophy - Buddha, Socrates and Confucius. All three philosophers lived between the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, during a period of unprecedented and intense intellectual development.

Trailblazers whose radical ideas signalled a key change in human consciousness, each embodied the shift from a reliance on the supernatural, as the sole way to explain humankind’s place in the cosmos, to one where rational argument and logical reasoning offered new, exciting possibilities.

Drawing on archaeology and expert opinion, Bettany Hughes follows in the footsteps of these great figures, in her quest to unpack their philosophy in the context of their age. She reveals how, even though their ideas came about two and a half thousand years ago, their thinking still shapes, and continues to provide solutions to, our own lives.

Genius of the Ancient World: Episode 1 - Buddha | (59:10 min; 2015; English) | ( Click here to watch )

In this first episode Bettany Hughes investigates the revolutionary ideas of the Buddha. In his 20s the Buddha abandoned his family and homeland in the foothills of the Himalayas to embark on an ambitious philosophical quest to find a solution to human suffering.