Dave flies into remote central Turkey, to Kayseri in Cappadocia, where he picks up a Doblo and travels into the countryside to view the famous fairy chimneys. As he explores these unusual rock formations, Dave recalls the history of the Hittites, who were the first to inhabit the caves of Cappadocia. Next, Dave summarizes the conquests of Cappadocia by Persians, Alexander the Great, and the Romans. The final sequence is filmed in the vast underground cities of Cappadocia where Christians and others escaped from religious persecution and invading armies.
From the origins of Rome on the Tiber River, Dave examines Rome's history. Highlighting Rome's influence on our world today, he examines the evolution of Rome from a Republic to an Empire, highlighting the contributions of Roman leaders such as Julius Caesar, Octavian, Domitian, Titus, and Vespasian, to name a few.
Dave Stotts visits the dirt track where the Circus Maximus once held thousands of spectators betting on the outcome of highly competitive chariot races. He recalls how a fire that started there burned Rome to the ground during the reign of the Emperor Nero and how the Emperor used Christians as a scapegoat for the disaster and his extravagances. Dave's tour of the Pantheon highlights the structural engineering of arches, domes, the oculus, buttresses, and exterior walls that have survived intact since they were built in the first century A.D.
Dave recalls the history of Hannibal and the invasion of Rome by the Carthaginians. The history lesson begins with the Phoenicians and their contributions to modern society. Dave describes Hannibal's remarkable achievements as a military leader and the reasons why he never did conquer Rome. Next, he tours the Colosseum highlighting its unique architecture and the skill of Roman engineers. He describes the violent blood sports that were a Roman obsession and a sign of the decay that was spreading in Roman society as a whole
Dave visits Delphi to investigate legends of the Oracle and the sites made famous by her worshippers. Returning to Athens, Dave reviews the history of the Olympic Games and their popularity in ancient Greece. Finally, Dave recalls how the conquests of Alexander the Great established a "lingua franca" and spread Hellenistic culture throughout the Mediterranean world
Dave visits Corinth, a port city with great strategic advantage in terms of geography & location. While describing the decadence of ancient Corinthian society, Dave visits the Acrocorinth, the site of the ancient Diolkos Road, and the Corinth Canal. These locations attest to the strategic location of the Isthmus of Corinth and the reasons why there was such a cultural mix in ancient Corinth.
Dave visits archaeological ruins at Smyrna and Sardis recalling the history of Roman, Greek, and Persian rule. He details the history of the Royal Road, which ran 1600 miles from Smyrna to Susa. This road allowed for the transmission of goods and communication. Advancements such as verbatim transcripts are examined as well. At Sardis, Dave visits the ruins of temples, Roman baths, and the Roman gymnasium.
Dave visits archaeological ruins at Hieropolis and Laodicea recalling the culture and pastimes of the people who lived in the Lycus Valley in ancient times. Dave explores the influence Roman rule had on this region and connects it to our culture in the present day. Insight into Roman structural engineering in arches, columns, and amphitheaters is provided.
Dave continues his investigation of Roman lifestyles in visits to the amphitheater, gymnasium, and library at Ephesus. In the midst of the most well preserved ruins in Persia, he refers to Roman influences that are still evident in Western society, not the least of which is our admiration for critical thinking and sound judgment. Standing before the facade of the Celsus Library, Dave explains that the library once contained thousands of parchment scrolls. Standing on marshy ground where a few pillars of Artemis' Temple remain, Dave describes how the temple fit into Ephesian society
Istanbul is a city that sits at the intersection of east and west. Dave recalls the history of the city from Byzantium, to Constantinople, to Istanbul. Always a target for invaders, Dave explains the events at the Siege of Constantinople. Returning to present day Istanbul, Dave tours the Grand Bazaar and the massive Hagia Sophia. Throughout the program, students gain an understanding of how the culture of the city changed as it changed hands.