History Channel is going to air a new historical series entitled
DECISIVE BATTLES including some classic wars between ancient
Persian armies and Roman and Greek ones.
The History Channel goes on location to the actual battlefields
and integrates cutting-edge videogame technology to bring
history and imagination together in the new series DECISIVE
BATTLES. The half-hour series DECISIVE BATTLES premieres Friday,
July 23 at 9-9:30pm ET/PT.
series is hosted by Matthew Settle (Band of Brothers) on
location at the ancient battlefields and features expert
commentary from the world's foremost historians.
DECISIVE BATTLES is unlike any series The History Channel has
ever aired. Employing the same advanced computer gaming
technology as in the highly-anticipated new video game Rome:
Total War(TM), the series gives viewers an unprecedented
perspective of ancient battles by re-creating troops in their
vast numbers and landscapes on a scale otherwise impossible.
Instead of recounting these ancient battles though drawings,
paintings and reenactments using actors, they spring to life in
this new computer animation that allows viewers a gods-eye view
of the battlefield with its massive numbers of troops, their
formations, and the weapons and strategies each side employed.
Viewers will get the vantage point the generals wish they'd had.
Episodes of DECISIVE BATTLES will include these famous battles:
Cannae: In 216 BC, the great Hannibal of Carthage marched from
Spain, crossed the Alps and invaded Italy. The program shows how
Hannibal's outnumbered infantry and cavalry managed to encircle
the entire Roman army of nearly seventy thousand men and win the
Battle of Cannae, the biggest defeat ever suffered by Rome.
Premieres July 23.
Gaugamela: Viewers will see how the cavalry of Alexander the
Macedonian warlord smashed into the quarter-million-strong army of Darius
Persia on the vast battlefield of Gaugamela in 331 BC. The
stakes were high as victory at Gaugamela would give Alexander
control of Persia and an opening to conquer Afghanistan and
India. Premieres July 30.
Thermopylae: In 480 BC, the Persian king Xerxes invaded Greece
with nearly a quarter of a million men. Viewers will experience
what a sight that must have been for the 300 Spartans sent to
hold them off at Thermopylae. Led by their king, Leonidas, they
fought a rearguard action against the Persian army. The 300
Spartans were all killed but they won time, and their example
inspired the rest of Greece to eventual victory. Premieres
Marathon: In 490 BC, the Persian Empire was expanding westward
and had its eye on Greece. But, in an incredible feat of
strength and speed, the Greeks defeated one half of the Persian
army on the Plain of Marathon and then marched to Athens to
prevent the other half from landing by ship. The program shows
the 600 ships of the Persian invasion fleet and the charge of
eleven thousand Greeks and how the battle was actually won.
Today, this battle is best known for the story of the runner
Pheidippides, who, according to legend, ran roughly twenty miles
to Athens with the news of victory and so inspired the Olympic
event. Premieres August 13.
Spartacus and the Slave Revolt: In 73 BC, the gladiator
Spartacus led a revolt of slaves against their Roman masters.
They fought their way from southern Italy to the foothills of
the Alps. The Romans were terrified. If Spartacus succeeded, the
structure of society would be turned on its head. The program
demonstrates the strategy that Spartacus used for his slave army
to break through the Roman army which surrounded them. Premieres
Chalons: In 451 AD, the Roman general Aetius, often called
"The Last of the Romans," gathered a ragtag army
together to stop the fearsome Attila the Hun from invading
Italy. Viewers will see how the Roman troops attacked the Hun
wagon encampment in this great night battle. Premieres August
Carrhae: This battle of 53 BC was Rome's worst defeat since
Cannae and brought eastward expansion to a halt. Crassus, the
man who defeated Spartacus, invaded Parthia in search of
military glory. Viewers will see exactly how the Parthians
allowed Crassus to march deep into the desert and then used
their mounted archers to encircle the Roman legions. Watch, like
they did, as the skies darkened with arrows. Premieres September
Adrianople: This battle of 378 AD marked the beginning of the
end for the Roman Empire. Population pressure drove the Goth
tribes across the Danube River in search of land. The program
shows vividly how a hundred thousand Goths formed huge columns
like battering rams, and attacked the Roman lines at Adrianople.
Premieres September 10.
Pharsalus: In 48 BC, the Roman generals Caesar and Pompey fought
a civil war for control of the Roman Empire. The program shows
exactly how Caesar outsmarted Pompey as sixty thousand Roman
legionaries fought to the death in Pharsalus. Premieres
Cynoscephalae: This battle of 197 BC not only removed Rome's
last rival for power in the Mediterranean, it changed the nature
of ancient warfare. All the great Greek victories, including
those of Alexander the Great, were won using the phalanx
formation of tight packed ranks of spearmen. In the program,
viewers see how the Romans fought their way through the sixteen
thousand spears of the Macedonian infantry, and won the day with
their more flexibly organized legions. Premieres September 24.
Watling Street: In 61 AD, Rome occupied Britain. When Boudicca,
the queen of the Iceni tribe, was whipped and her daughters
raped by the Romans, the British tribes rose in revolt. The
viewer will be right in the middle of the action, watching how
the warrior queen Boudicca led 100,000 Britons against the might
of Rome. Premieres October 1st.
Teutoburg Forest: Rome lost more than 10% of its entire army in
this battle in 9AD - and all its territory east of the Rhine
River. Journey deep into the forest and witness how three Roman
legions were attacked on all sides by German tribesmen led by
Arminius. A rough translation of his Latin name led to his going
down in history as the original "Herman the German."
Faced with a hopeless end, the Roman general Varus threw himself
on his sword. The emperor Augustus was found wailing, "Varus,
give me back my legions."
Kadesh: In 1299 BC, the Egyptian and Hittite empires fought for
control of Syria. See how Rameses II drove off the Hittite king
in one of the biggest chariot battles of all time.